Stress is known to be one of the biggest causes of medical visits in the U.S., and it can have an extremely negative impact on your physical and mental health. Although everyone will experience stress from time to time, no matter what type of lifestyle they lead, there are some methods that you can utilize to help getting this issue under control and have a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness, which is often referred as mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) by medical professionals and counselors, is the intentional act of staying in the moment. Instead of reflecting on the past issues or future concerns, mindfulness requires the individual to stay as rooted as possible in whatever they are feeling, seeing, or hearing right now. It is important to allow these sensations and feelings to happen without judging them, because this can make you take things less personally and feel less stressed. This technique is often incorporated with meditation.
2. Make A Gratitude Board
Research has repeatedly proven that expressing gratitude and focusing on the things you are grateful for can make you feel more optimistic and happier, along with reducing doctor visits. Of course, trying to focus on the things that you are grateful for might feel difficult at times, especially if you are dealing with a highly stressful situation. To help you remain focused on expressing gratitude, it is a good idea to get some poster board or a large dry erase board and write down at least one thing every day that you are grateful for. Over time, this will have positive mental and physical health benefits.
3. Involve Nature Into Your Exercise Routine
Exercising is a fantastic way to lower your stress levels, but you can take this one step further by heading to the woods for your workout. Whether you choose to take a slow walk or go mountain biking, time spent in nature has been found to relieve stress. As an added bonus, studies show a 20 percent improvement in the memory and attention span of those who regularly spend time in nature.
4. Start Your Day with Meditation
Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your emotional well-being. Starting each day with a 5 or 10 minutes of meditation session has been found to help people remain calmer and get a better handle on any stressful situations that occur. The best part is that anyone can learn to meditate, and you can do it almost anywhere without needing any special supplies. However, some people get better results if they utilize a meditation app or burn a specific scent of incense each time they meditate.
5. Stay Away From Gadgets Few Times A Day
We are inundated by technology, and this can be a good and bad thing. For example, medical and environmental technology have done amazing things for the world, and we are much better off with these things in our lives. However, it’s important to be aware that spending all of your time plugged in technology can be extremely stressful. If you start to feel like yourself becoming overly stressed, turn off all your electronic gadgets for 15 minutes or, even better, go into a cool, dark room and lie down for a little while. This will allow your brain and your emotions to recharge, and it can help you feel less stressed out.
6. Make Some Reading Time
A recent research project about stress reduction was conducted at the University of Sussex, and the results indicate that reading for pleasure is one of the absolute best ways to de-stress. In fact, reading for a mere 6 minutes will bring your stress levels down by 68 percent. To get the best result, you should sit quietly and read a book. Other studies have indicated that reading fiction book is a better stress buster than non-fiction book, as is choosing material from a genre that you particularly enjoy. In other words, there is no need to steer clear of your so-called guilty pleasure books, because they are probably the best thing for you.
7. Balance The Proper Nutrition and Good Mental Health
Maintaining a healthy diet that fulfills all of your daily nutritional needs can actually provide you with some protection from stress. When you do encounter a highly stressful situation, your body will be more equipped to handle it if you have been eating healthy and exercising regularly. It is also important to note that your body’s natural inclination to eat pleasant food during times of stress can offer some temporary relief as well, but make sure that you consume these food items in moderate portion to avoid filling up on junk.
8. To Reduce Stress, Write Down Your Feelings in A Journal
Journaling is a popular way to express emotions and document your day-to-day activities, but did you know that the act of physically writing your feelings into a notebook will make you less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety? If you do not feel comfortable keeping a traditional journal, it may also be beneficial to utilize the latest trend: bullet journals. These journals allow you to keep an eye on your day, week, and month in one place, and you can write shorter, bullet-style entries about everything that happens in your life.
9. Create A List of Affirmations
According to Kathleen Hall, Ph.D, every single emotion and thought that you have, creates a chemical reaction which then impacts your emotional and physical health. Therefore, writing and reciting positive affirmations can actually change the way you feel. The next time you are dealing with a stressful event, take a moment to recite some positive affirmations that you have already written or gathered from another source. An example of an affirmation is “I am a good person with a strong support system.” Saying this few times when you feel depressed or disconnected from your family and friends can help recovering your emotions and taking action to improve your life.
10. Avoid Unnecessary Stressors
We all have certain stressful things that we have to deal with on a daily basis and we cannot avoid. But, there is absolutely no reason to add additional stress on top of these existing burden. Therefore, identifying unnecessary stressors and eliminating them from your life will allow you to feel lighter and happier. For an instance, if you find yourself getting agitated every time you read the comments’ section of a news article, make it as your new goal to ignore this section altogether.
These 10 techniques should give you a great start to improve your life and reduce stress. Additionally, there are numerous other little things that you can do to make your life less stressful and more rewarding, such as de-cluttering your home and minimizing your TV-watching time.