15 Ways to Manage Stress
Do you feel like you never have enough time in your day? Are you always feeling stressed? Do you wish you could learn how to relax? According to the American Psychological Association, two thirds of Americans say they are likely to seek medical help for stress. Common signs and symptoms of stress include headaches, body pain, concentration problems, difficulty making decisions, feeling overwhelmed, overreaction, stomachache, anxiety, isolation, fatigue, and weight gain or loss.
Stress can also cause physical illnesses in addition to mental and emotional problems. Stress can contribute to hair loss, personality changes, ulcers, muscle spasms, nervous tics, high blood pressure, asthma, stomach problems and skin problems. If you suspect that any of your symptoms may be stress related, please visit your family physician.
We all lead very busy lives. Family responsibilities, work demands, time commuting or running errands. But we all have 24 hours in each day. How can we make the most of those 24 hours? What can we do to manage our stress in a healthy way?
1. Examine and evaluate your activities. Prioritize them by importance, and consider dropping any that are not bringing you joy or those that are contributing to your stress.
2. Take time to play. Unleash your inner child and have fun. Join a sports team, organize a game night, plan time with friends, blow bubbles, read the comics.
3. Laugh – watch a funny movie or television show. Laughter is good medicine.
4. Take time to rest. Take a 15 minute break during the day and rest. Meditate, pray, or nap. Make sure you get enough sleep each night.
5. Make lists. Plan ahead and prioritize your commitments. Cross them off the list when completed.
6. Take one step at a time. Make your tasks small and manageable.
7. Develop healthy eating habits.
8. Exercise daily.
9. Practice deep breathing techniques and muscle relaxation.
10. Daydream. Visualize yourself in your favorite place.
11. Relax. Set aside 15-30 minutes every day for relaxation. Take a bath, pray, take a nap, draw a picture, write in a journal, read a book, talk to a friend, pet your cat or dog.
12. Listen to music.
13. Draw, paint, or sculpt. Be creative.
14. Journal – write down your thoughts, feelings, dreams, hopes.
15. Talk to friends.
Learning how to properly manage your stress will help you be more relaxed, confident, stronger, and more content. You will have improved concentration, and a greater sense of peace and direction. You will have more energy, and will be able to accomplish more with less.