What Can You Do About Stress?
The good news is that you can learn ways to manage stress. To get stress under control: find out what is causing stress in your life; look for ways to reduce the amount of stress; and learn healthy ways to relieve stress or reduce its harmful effects.
How Can You Avoid Stress?
Stress is a fact of life for most people. You may not be able to get rid of it, but you can look for ways to lower it. You might try some of the ideas listed below.
- Learn better ways to manage your time.You may get more done with less stress if you make a schedule. Think about which things are most important, and do those first.
- Find better ways to cope. Look at how you have been dealing with stress. Be honest about what works and what does not. Think about other things that might work better.
- Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat well. Don't smoke. Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Try out new ways of thinking. When you find yourself starting to worry, try to stop the thoughts. Work on letting go of things you cannot change. Learn to say "no."
- Speak up. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse. Effective communication can help you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way.
- Ask for help. People who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
How Can You Relieve Stress?
You will feel better if you can find ways to get stress out of your system. The best ways to relieve stress are different for each person. Try some of these ideas to see which ones work for you.
- Exercise. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. Walking is a great way to get started.
- Write. It can help to write about the things that are bothering you.
- Let your feelings out. Talk, laugh, cry and express anger when you need to with someone you trust.
- Do something you enjoy. A hobby can help you relax. Volunteer work or work that helps others can be a great stress reliever.
- Learn ways to relax your body. This can include breathing exercises, muscle relaxation exercises, massage, aromatherapy, yoga or relaxing exercises like tai chi and qigong.
- Focus on the present. Try meditation, imagery exercises, or self-hypnosis. Listen to relaxing music. Try to look for the humor in life. Laughter really can be the best medicine.
Tips on Avoiding Stress
- Do not get mad at yourself.
- Be organized and prepared.
- Make time for fun.
- Make time for relaxing.
- Eat healthy.
- Stay positive.
- Go to sleep at a regular time.
- Plan your time ahead.
- Be around people who make you feel happy.
- Surround yourself with people who you can talk to about your feelings.
- Stay away from people or situations that make you feel stressed.
- Find a balance between personal, work and family needs. This isn't easy. Start by looking at how you spend your time. Maybe there are things that you don't need to do at all. Finding a balance can be especially hard during the holidays.
- Have a sense of purpose in life. Many people find meaning through connections with family, friends, jobs or volunteer work.
- Get enough sleep. Your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.
- Adopt healthy habits. Eat a healthy diet, limit how much alcohol you drink and don't smoke. Staying healthy is your best defense against stress.
- Exercise. Even moderate exercise, such as taking a daily walk, can reduce stress-and it can make you feel better too.
- Positive thinking helps you cope with a problem by changing the way you think. How you think affects how you feel.
- Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event, find things you may be able to change, and deal with things you can't change.
- Assertive communication helps you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse.
The Effects of Stress
High blood pressure
Lack of focus
Drug or alcohol abuse