One thing I’ve learned that is critical to a healthy lifestyle is how to manage and reduce stress. Everyone experiences stress, it’s easy to think of it as normal. However, we must not allow it to put our health at risk. Today, we will discuss the effects of stress and some strategies to manage stress.
Stress happens to everyone, it’s seems to become a normal part of our lives. However, it is not normal to have chronic, long-term stress levels. High levels can lead to unhealthy consequences:
- changes in sleep pattern (or restless sleep)
- muscle tension
- poor eating habits
- trouble concentrating
- increased blood pressure
- lowered immune function
There are many ways to reduce stress, here are my top 4 strategies to managing stress.
We are creatures of habit. Having a ritual gives us something to look forward to each day. It can provide a sense of purpose, orderliness, and calmness throughout the day. How do I achieve this? Start small. Don’t rush to plan the entire day, maybe start with one part of the day. Envision a time of day, that you would like to create a ritual (either morning, afternoon, or evening). Think about, what would make you feel at peace? What would bring you happiness?
I decided to take a slow approach to my morning ritual. I make the bed, open the curtains, and have a glass of water with lemon or a cup of tea. I look forward to a slow start to my mornings.
Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. – Richard Branson
Happiness doesn’t have to involve around extravagant experiences or places to travel. It can be found in simple ways, we sometimes overlook. The little things can bring us regular doses of happiness. This could be a cup coffee, listening to a sermon (inspirational messages), favorite radio station on the way to work, reading your favorite book, spending quality time with the family/friends, date night with your love (make sure to turn phones on silent).
Joy comes every morning. Do your best to take small steps to carve out space to make the ideal ritual possible. It’ll take time to create a flow, but there is always wiggle room to make time for the things you love. Put a smile on your face.
Long, slow, deep breathing are quick and most effective ways to calm down. We can easily view as unimportant. Throughout the day, I make time to sit down and take a few deep breaths. Clear my mind and influence the space with peace. Yoga has been great with helping me to achieve this practice. Deep breathing helps to calm the nervous system, slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure, relax muscles, and prepares the body for rest. Make sure the phone is on silent or in another room while you are doing this. Helps to remove any distractions and enjoy the breathing exercise.
Deep breathing is a practice done anywhere and at anytime of the day. Give it a try! Sit comfortably, either close your eyes or keep them open, and breathe in, let your stomach expand. When you’ve reach your expansion, exhale slowly.
Now, count from 1-5 as you inhale
Then, count 5-1 as you exhale
Repeat 5 or more times. Each inhale and exhale, focus on the sound of your breathe. You’ll begin to realize your mind and body will relax. Your mind will slow down and your heart beat becomes steady. This helps to reduce shallow breathing.
Having a positive mindset is important and so helpful when dealing with stress. Takes time to achieve, but the reward is peace of mind. Speak life. Start by meditating on encouraging words to create a positive mindset. Reminding ourselves that we do not need to worry about everything. There are just some things out of our control. It’s ok to release it and retain our sense of peace. Some how things work out in the end. I find when I face a problem, stepping away for a while and coming back to it later helps. I can see it in a different way. Somehow the pieces come together.
Here are some of my favorites phrases:
Everything will work out in the end
Do what I can and let God handle the rest (my dad gave me this one)
Let go of the little things, it won’t matter in 5 minutes
Find more encouragement, here.
I can always rely on entertainment to make me laugh. I think with what’s going on now, we aren’t having more moments to laugh. Laughter is what we need. Fill your day with a good laugh. I like to watch comedy shows or read funny stories. Talking to my friends, family to share fun memes or stories. A good laugh washes away stress.
Do something you love
Ever notice that when you are immersed in something you really love, you tend to think of nothing else. Mindfulness at its best, and reduces stress. It’s about the moment before us and the task at hand. Nothing else really matter. For me, I love to write, read a mystery novel, put my headphones listen to music, watch a good movie, or volunteering.
Being submerged in something we’re passionate about makes us feel good. Something, worth looking forward to at the end of a work day. Plus, it motivates me to be productive during the day. Think of it as an incentive or well-deserved treat. Set aside time to do the things you love.
We all have different ways of reducing and managing stress. I hope these strategies were helpful. I’d love to hear from you. What are some ways you manage stress? Comment below!
Have a bless day!
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