The truth is you may not always be able to eliminate stress. Since life is filled with potential threats, stress is inevitable. If you can’t always eliminate it, then at best you can eliminate what you can and learn to live with what you cannot eliminate. You are capable of minimizing the magnitude of the stressful reaction upon the body. You must evaluate your life as it is. If you are feeling stressed or if you are stressed out, take a moment and examine what may be causing your stress. List the stressors you can control, along with a coping strategy for each. By listing these, you may find that you can move some of these into the can-control category. Also try to generate a new way of looking at the situation; it may open up a new avenue for growth.
While drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and food may offer temporary relief, they can easily increase the problem. A change in your daily routine or environment can effectively reduce you stress and improve you coping strategies. The following are examples of effective coping strategies:
- Relax: It’s important to unwind. Each person has his or her own way to relax. Some ways include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy. If you can’t do these things, take a few minutes to sit, listen to soothing music.
- Make time for yourself: It’s important to care for yourself. Think of this as an order from your doctor, so you don’t feel guilty. No matter how busy you are, you can try to set aside at least 15 minutes each day in your schedule to do something for yourself, like going for a walk, or calling a friend.
- Sleep: Sleeping is a great way to help both your body and mind. Your stress could get worse if you don’t get enough sleep. With enough sleep, you can tackle your problems better and lower you risk for illness. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
- Eat right: Try to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Don’t be fooled by the jolt you get from caffeine or sugar. Your energy will aware off.
- Set limits: When it comes to things like work and family; figure out what you can really do. There are only so many hours in the day. Set limits with yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.
- Plan your time: Think ahead about how you’re going to spend your time. Write a to-do list. Figure out what’s most important to do.
- Don’t deal with stress in unhealthy ways: This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating.
- Exercise: Research shows that physical exercise is the best tension reliever. It is an important remedy for stress. Nothing eases stress more than exercise. Exercise not only improves your health and reduces stress; it also relaxes tense muscles and helps you to sleep.
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