It can be easy to become unraveled in this busy world we live in. It seems there is always so much to do,
both at home and at work, that the idea of taking time out to relax seems a luxury we just can't afford.
Some stress is good. It is a natural part of everyday life. Other times stress feels unmanageable and makes it difficult to function effectively on the job or in relationships. There is a price to pay for burning the candle at both ends. Too much stress and not enough stress management can lead to irritability, anxiety, depression and health problems such as high blood pressure.
To manage stress better begin with an attitude adjustment. Acknowledge that some things such as long supermarket lines, gridlocked traffic or billing errors are beyond your control and will have no lasting impact on your life. Learn when to let go.
Of course there are times when you are in control of a situation that is causing you a great deal of stress. You can make your stress level more manageable by doing a few basic things. These include:
Taking care of yourself
Do your best to eat healthy foods and get at least moderate exercise on a regular basis.
Keep a calendar
If you feel the pressure of a consistent time crunch, a calendar may help you stay on track. Writing things down can help you feel more in control of the many tasks you are called on to manage.
Remind yourself of your competence
You have undoubtedly navigated tough or sticky situations before and you will do so this time as well.
Commit to quiet time
Take a little time each day, away from the hustle and bustle to gather your thoughts and catch your breath. Just ten minutes each morning and a minute or two at intervals throughout the day can work wonders for managing stress and gaining perspective.
Talk things out with a friend
If you feel particularly burdened try sharing the load with a friend. Sometimes it helps to talk a problem or challenge through out loud. Often the problem loses its power, or you gain a new perspective by talking it through aloud.
You might also try other techniques such as yoga, meditation or breathing exercises. An example of such an exercise is below:
A very powerful breathing practice is as simple as consciously following your breath. Pay attention. Notice each inhale and exhale. Resolve to practice this several times throughout the day. You may need to set an alarm or incorporate your breath awareness with another activity such as lunchtime or restroom visits.
Following your breath will calm your mind and help to replace random thoughts that no longer serve you with deliberate ones that are planned to help you realize your highest vision of yourself. Make a special effort to follow your breath when you are angry or anxious; you will allow yourself immediate access to a reservoir of calm that is unmistakable. Try it the next time you are stuck in traffic or need to do something that feels difficult.
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