You can’t always control the circumstances that life throws your way, but you can control how well you take care of yourself. Taking proper care of your body, soul and mind can keep you in optimum shape for handling stress, which gives you as much resilience as possible to help you manage those uncontrollable things in life.
Make time for yourself
Taking care of your body on the outside with things such as a spa treatment, having quiet time to read a book, watching your favorite show, for example, can work wonders for your internal state. Don’t overlook the importance of pampering yourself on a regular basis, to feel great about yourself and feel ready to take on the world. Having some down time is important, and hobbies can provide a nice distraction from stress and help you stay in the moment, which is also a great way to relieve tension. I recommend drawing, gardening, meditation, exercising, and cooking, as some great stress relievers, but just about anything you enjoy can work.
If you maintain the attitude that stress is a challenge—rather than a threat, you are better able to handle it. And by keeping your mind sharp, you are more equipped to solve the problems and take on the challenges that life presents. It’s very important to read about something positive or listen to an audio recording of something you enjoy to sharping your mind.
Keeping your emotions bottled up usually leads to an emotional explosion later on. It’s very impotent to take time for yourself listen to your feelings, process them and try to understand them. Consider them messengers that tell you when something is not right with your world. A great way to process emotions is the act of journaling. When you write about your feelings, and potential solutions to your problems, you can reduce stress in your life and even see some health benefits!
Surround yourself with things that make you happy and smile
Studies on social support show that having one or two close and supportive friends is at least as valuable to emotional health as having a large group of friendly or more shallow friendships. However, having social support from several supportive friends would be the best of both worlds. You probably already know if you’re more comfortable with one good friend or many, but there are some good reasons to have at least a few different friends to fall back on: If you have only one person supporting you through difficult times, you may wear that person out, or feel unsupported if that person is unavailable. It’s better for everyone if you have at least a few people to depend on.
You draw different benefits from different types of people. Having an outgoing friend to party with, a knowledgeable friend to gain information and insights from, and an emphatic friend to be a good listener during tough times, for example, provides a better blend of social support than any one of these people alone could give.
Your friends can bring out different qualities in one another that benefit all of you. For example, your outgoing friend could bring your shy emphatic friend out of her shell, and the three of you could go out and party together. Plus, your friends can introduce you to more friends, giving you a greater pool of pre-screened potential friends.
Studies show that a sense of belonging is extremely important for emotional health and well-being those who have social support but don’t feel a sense of belonging are much more likely to suffer from depression. Between work, family and other obligations, stress is a common part of life. But while it’s something we all deal with from time to time, stress can have a negative impact on your health. Worry and overwork can lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits, which causes more stress, leading to a very harmful cycle for example, to emotional eating, where we eat despite not being hungry but eat because it feels comforting.
Simple things like put a pitcher of your family or your dog in your office, keep fresh flower around to take care of its very therapeutically lavender flower seem to be very good for stress relief.
Eat healthier foods
If you are facing a very tight deadline at work, you might make poor choices about what to eat, relying on sugar and caffeine to get you through the day. Unfortunately, these food choices can create more stress in the long run, as well as other problems.
Drinking Too Much Coffee: When burning the candle at both ends, you may find yourself drinking several cups of coffee through the day to keep yourself going.
Eating the Wrong Foods: Due partially to increased levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone, stressed people tend to crave foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Many will turn to potato chips, ice cream or other junk foods after a rough day.
Skipping Meals: When you are juggling a dozen things at once, eating a healthy meal often drops down in priorities. You might find yourself skipping breakfast because you’re running late or not eating lunch because there’s just too much on your to-do list.
Mindless Munching: Conversely, stress also makes us prone to eating even when we aren’t hungry.
Benefits of Exercise and Stress Hormones
As we all know our society has become more health-conscious and there has been an increased focus on the importance of exercise. Many people exercise to control weight and get in a better physical condition to become healthier or physically attractive, but exercise and stress management are also closely linked. Exercise can be an extremely effective stress reliever for several reasons:
When life’s annoyances or frustrating situations build up, you can feel stressed or experience low-grade anger. More high-energy forms of exercise like boxing, martial arts or weight training can also provide an effective release of these negative emotions, turning these otherwise potentially unhealthy emotions into motivation for increased health and well-being.
Exercise can decrease ‘stress hormones’ like Cortisol, and increase endorphins, your body’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals, giving your mood a natural boost.
Physical activity itself can take your mind off of your problems and either redirect it on the activity at hand or get you into zone state exercise usually involves a change of scenery as well, either taking you to a gym, a dojo, a boxing ring, a park, a scenic mountain, a biking trail or a neighborhood sidewalk, all of which can be pleasant low-stress places.
Why A Power Nap? Facts on Sleep
While small children typically take naps in the afternoon, our culture generally frowns upon mid-day sleep; however, even in those who get enough sleep but particularly in those who don’t many people experience a natural increase in drowsiness in the afternoon, about 8 hours after waking. And research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a nap.
Most experts agree that the body needs 7-9 hours of sleep per day, depending on personal and genetic factors. Some research shows that 6 hours or less triples your risk of a car accident. (Interestingly, too much sleep–more than 9 hours–can actually be harmful for your health; studies show that those who sleep more than 9 hours per day don’t live as long as their 8-hour-sleep counterparts!
Sleep is cumulative; if you lose sleep one day, you feel it the next. If you miss adequate sleep several days in a row, you build up a ‘sleep deficit’, which impairs the following:
- Reaction time
- Information processing