33 Ways to Reduce and Prevent Stress
Stress is evident everywhere in our fast-paced world. It’s a mental, emotional, or physical strain caused by anxiety or overwork. We all feel stress and often suffer the results of it in some way or other. What you are about to read can have a significant impact on the levels of stress you experience. This post is not about how to deal with stress; it’s about how to reduce and avoid it. Most of the stress we experience can be broken down into three categories. 1. Stress we can’t control—such as the loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or encountering major health challenges. 2. Natural stress—such as what we feel when we set goals, push ourselves outside our comfort zones, and strive to get better. 3. Stress we can control—such as being late to an appointment, having a breakdown in a relationship, or getting upset sitting in traffic. When you identify and learn how to manage the things that create stress, you will experience improvements in every area of your life—from your relationships to your performance, from your health to your outlook on life. Let me encourage you to print these 33 points and highlight the ones that you are determined to work on. The realization that you are in control of your stress is the foundation of stress management. 1. Don’t over commit. Whether in your personal or professional life, learn your limits and set boundaries. Know when to say, “No!” Don’t take on more than you can reasonably handle. 2. Avoid people who stress you out. If someone is a constant source of stress and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person, or end the relationship entirely. 3. Avoid heated topics. You know the topics that cause your blood pressure to rise, so learn to avoid them. 4. Practice relaxation techniques. Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response—a state of restfulness opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, you will enjoy a reduction in your everyday stress levels, benefit by a boost in your feelings of peace and serenity, and increase your ability to stay calm under pressure. 5. Change how you view things. Practice viewing stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than getting stressed out about sitting in traffic, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, to listen to your favorite music or self-improvement CD, or to just enjoy some quiet time. 6. Practice positive thinking. How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. People who maintain a positive attitude and practice positive thinking experience less stress than those who are pessimistic and negative. 7. Anticipate problems. When issues arise, address them head on before they escalate. The best way to avoid big problems is by addressing them when they are small. 8. Express your feelings. When something or someone is upsetting you, learn to communicate your concerns in an open and respectful manner. Even if it’s just sharing what you are going through with a friend, you will likely feel better. 9. Practice good time management. Every improvement you make in how you spend your time gives you greater control of your life and plays a small role in reducing your everyday stress levels. 10. Don’t procrastinate. Putting things off until the last minute is a guaranteed way to increase your stress levels. Start doing what you know you should do when you know you should do it. Become a do-it-now person. 11. Stop striving for perfection. We should push ourselves to improve and to always do our best, BUT we need to know when something is good enough. On a scale of 1-10, start shooting for 8’s and 9’s. 12. Look for the upside. When problems and challenges present themselves, look at them as opportunities for personal growth. The next time you are faced with a challenge remember this African proverb: “Smooth seas do not make...
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