You are stressed. You are unemployed. The bills are piling up. You have the responsibility of your children. More stress. You are employed, but not happy doing what you are doing. The bill collectors are calling. Your children with the cherubic faces have turned into hormonal monsters called teenagers.
Stress seems to be your constant companion. Wedded bliss has turned into a quick peck on the cheek and a “Bye-I-love-you” at the front door. You cannot remember the last time you had dinner with your sweetheart.
Arrrrrrgh! You feel like pulling your hair out. You cannot handle much more.
What is stress?
According to Dictionary.com, one definition of the word “stress” is “a state of extreme difficulty, pressure, or strain.” This does not necessarily mean that stress is always a bad thing, as stress can also be a motivator.
Stress cannot be avoided. Regardless of the situations encountered, stressors are faced daily.
It may be as simple as a driver cutting in front of you. Or it could be as complex as a welcomed career transition, as you and your family relocate across country to a new city and state.
The situations causing stress in life can take many forms and, if not managed properly, can affect your mood, your focus, your relationships with others, and even your health.
It is important to take steps to diminish the effects that stress can have on you and your loved ones. It may be as simple as taking five minutes to step away from the situation, to take a deep breath, and walk around the block to clear your mind.
7 Ways to Reduce Stress
1. Develop a plan of action
Plan and prepare for the steps to take. Set up a timeline, which can help to break the bigger challenges down into manageable pieces. When things don’t feel so overwhelming, you can focus easier, and target what needs to be done.
2. Think and speak positively
Choose to see a situation in what the positive outcome can be-the potential. Focus on achievements. Write down the good that is coming from the situation, rather than feeling or seeing only the challenge faced. Keep a journal and see your progress. Learn from each experience. Remember that thinking negatively (or positively) is a habit and will determine mood, and have a dramatic effect on health and well-being.
3. Take care of your body
Relax. Get enough sleep. Eat nutritiously. Exercise. Your body needs fuel to keep going so eat and snack so strive for a well-balanced diet. Rest and sleep, even if you feel the urge to fight it because you have so many other things to do. And schedule a time to exercise at least three times a week.
4. Renew or take up a hobby
Allow yourself time to crochet, restore old cars, garden, golf, make jewelry, quilt, get involved in a book club, play Scrabble, or whatever it is that brings you joy.
5. Get involved
Helping others is not only good for them, but it’s good for you. Volunteer with an organization in which you believe. Help a neighbor mow the lawn. Visit veterans at the VA hospital. Join a mountaineers’ club. Serve others at a soup kitchen. Enroll in a class.
6. Seek professional help
If the problems in life stop you from being able to function easily, then finding a mental health provider can make a difference. Make a list of specific questions or issues you want to address. Check with your insurance company regarding your coverage.
Find humor in everything. Laugh more. Laugh often.