Everyone gets stressed. You can’t escape it. But how you deal with it is mainly up to you. Here are some tools to help you reduce stress in your life.
1. Know your signs.
How do you show stress? Some people get angry. Others find it hard to focus or make decisions. Some people feel worried or sad. Sometimes, stress can lead to headache, upset stomach or trouble sleeping. Different people show different signs. Your signs of stress may be different from someone else’s.
2. Look at the causes.
What situations make you stressed? Your stress may be linked to your family, health or work. Keep in mind that stress is often caused by a change in your life — whether the change is good or bad. Marriage, divorce, losing a job or a getting a promotion can all result in stress.
3. Build good coping skills.
Think about how you deal with situations that cause you stress. Smoking, drinking alcohol or eating too much may feel good at the time. But they can cause more harm in the long run.
4. Know when to say "no."
Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to avoid it. Know your limits. And don’t take on more than you can handle.
5. Plan ahead.
Don’t let your to-do list get out of control. Think about your day and decide which tasks are most important. Do those first. Let other tasks drop to the end of — or even off — your list.
6. Create time to relax.
It’s not always easy, but it’s important to make time for you. Take vacations or other breaks. Make time to read a good book. Listen to music. Or do something you enjoy. Some people find that practicing deep breathing can also help reduce stress.
7. Be active.
Exercise can help lower stress. It can be as simple as taking quick walk, a bike ride or a trip to the gym. Aim to get about two and a half hours of exercise a week. But ease into it. And talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
8. Watch what you eat.
Eating good foods can also be good for stress. Healthy foods will help keep you energized and focused. Also, cut back on caffeine. You’ll feel more relaxed and will likely sleep better, too.
9. Talk to family and friends.
Sometimes, just talking with supportive people helps lower stress. That’s true even if the stressful situation doesn’t change. Also, spend less time with people who only add to your stress.
10. Get help if you need.
If your stress is too much to handle, talk to a mental health professional. He or she can teach you helpful ways to deal with stress.
- American Psychological Association
- Greeson JM. Mindfulness research update: 2008. Complementary Health Practice Review. 2009;14(1):10-18
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.