Let’s face it: stress has always been a fact of life for human beings”and it always will be. We all experience different levels of stress every day, but what we do with that stress and how we manage it is up to us.
Although we’ll never be able to completely eliminate stress from our lives, there are a few things we can do to minimize the hold it has on us”and even use it as a positive force in our lives.
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. A lot of stress is created by worrying about things that ultimately don’t matter. So what if you returned your library books a day late or your mother-in-law insulted your choice of outfit? Chances are, those things will be forgotten by the end of the week”so don’t waste time worrying about them.
2. Make time for yourself. It doesn’t matter what you do, but take at least an hour every day to do something that you truly enjoy. It might be reading a book or going to the gym”it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you enjoy it. If you can’t find a full hour at one time, break it up into 15 minute blocks of time throughout the day.
3. Take care of your body. Eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Studies have shown that healthy, well-rested people respond and deal with stress best. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that elicit feelings of happiness, excitement and satisfaction. This helps reduce stress significantly.
4. Spend time with your girlfriends. Spending time with close friends gives you the opportunity to de-stress by talking about personal problems”or by letting your friends take your mind off them. Invite the girls over for dinner, phone a friend, take a Yoga class together, or plan some time for pampering at the spa.
5. Don’t put things off. Procrastinating and leaving tasks to the last minute can catch up with you and magnify your stress levels. Once you complete a task, you can put it out of your mind and stop stressing about it”so the sooner you get things done, the better. Then you’ll have more time to relax.
6. Reduce clutter in your home and office. It may seem strange, but having a lot of physical clutter can increase your mental clutter. Spend an afternoon clearing out a drawer or re-organizing your workspace. You may just find that you finish the task with a clearer head, too.