We are all born with an instinctive stress response. When our bodies sense danger, chemicals are released out into our blood stream that cause mental and physical symptoms getting us PUMPED UP to FIGHT THE DANGER or RUN AWAY! This is called the “fight or flight response”. We are now living in a society where this response is active almost all the time — like when you are running late to a meeting, or you can’t get on the internet, or Steve took the last donut in the break room that you were thinking about all morning (STEVE!).
What I am trying to say is that stress is a normal part of our society but that doesn’t mean that we have to like it! I hate feeling stressed all of the time with school, work, and family responsibilities. What if I told you that there were 12 PROVEN ways to lessen stress in your daily life? Well, you came to the right place! Here are some things that have helped me personally in my daily life when stress comes around.
Write it down.
I am normally a very anxious person and I stress about a lot of things in my daily life. Some of these things are big problems that I am facing but the majority of them are tiny. What I like to do when I start feeling stressed in general is to write everything that is in my head onto a piece of paper. Sometimes our stresses can take up space in our minds and we just need to get them out of there. By writing everything down this means it is no longer inside of you and it will be easier to evaluate the stress.
Talk it Out.
Once you have written everything down that is stressing you out at this current moment, take a big step back and look at what you wrote. What I like to do is read each stressor out loud. Then, I like to determine if I can let this stressor go or if I can manage it. For example, if I wrote down:
- I am stressed about finding a job after I graduate.
- I am stressed because of my family.
- I am stressed because I have a lot of errands to run today.
I could let go of the stress of running a bunch of errands today by writing a to-do list, I could let go the stress of finding a job by taking the steps toward applying for jobs, but I would have to manage the stress around my family because I cannot take them out of my life. Talking out the stresses we have in our lives can be beneficial because it really puts our stress into perspective.
Believe That Stress is Good For You.
Stress CAN be good for you! Don’t believe me? Watch this amazing Ted Talk by Kelly McGonigal about how stress is actually our bodies way of helping us toward our full potentials. This Ted Talk CHANGED MY LIFE and it is a MUST WATCH!
Call Your support system.
Venting is one of my favorite pass times. I love calling up my supportive friends and family members when I am having a stressful day and vent out my frustrations. It is never a good idea to keep all of your stress to yourself. When you talk to others about the things that are causing you stress they could have a different opinion or some advice that you never thought about to help with your situation.
One of my main stressors that I have in my life is being overwhelmed because I have too many things to do in a day. I have the same amount of time as anyone else on this planet so why do I feel like 24 hours in a day is not enough?! When I got a planner it really changed my life because for the first time ever I could see everything I had to do months in advanced and it made me feel less stressed and more in control of my life.
ACTION STEP: Everyday create a daily “To-Do” list of the 4 most important things that you want to accomplish that day!
(If you were wondering, my favorite planner is the Erin Condren Life Planner! I have been using this planner for a good three years and I won’t use any other one. If you would like to try an Erin Condren planner yourself here is a link that will give you $10 off your first purchase!!)
Listen to Music.
Music heals the soul. I have created a “happy” playlist on my computer and phone so whenever I start feeling stressed I turn it on and ROCK OUT on good vibes! I love to listen to songs that motivate and inspire me to never give up! My favorite artists to listen to are:
- Ingrid Michaelson
- Florence and the Machine
- Taylor Swift
- Ed Sheeran
Exercise (Any Amount).
Exercising helps you get outside and get your blood moving which helps relieve stress, improve memory, and feel better.
I hate exercising. I hate going to the gym to get sweaty around a bunch of strangers who I feel are judging the way I lift my weights. Who’s with me?! What if I told you that you don’t have to go to the gym to get the proper amount of exercise. When I talk about exercising I am not just talking about going to the gym everyday for 30 minutes. Exercise can be anything that gets your heart rate up. This includes:
- Bike riding
- Playing a sport like soccer, football, or hockey
When people feel more positive then they can be more creative. Creating something and expressing yourself artistically is a great way to relieve stress and relax. One of the things I like to do is go on my DIY Pinterest board and find something I can make! Doing anything hands-on is a great way to get your mind on other things and focus on something that you really enjoy!
Meditation and Prayer.
Meditation or prayer for at least 10 minutes a day is a great way to reduce stress. When you meditate you focus on a single sound, word, or phrase which helps your body get distracted from what is causing you the stress. Prayer has also been proven to reduce stress. Whether you believe in a higher being or not it can be very reassuring to know that someone else out there has your back. For me, prayer is something that calms my anxieties and fears and helps me work through my stresses more easily.
The other week I started to have a lot of stress in my life. It just seemed that whatever I did it would cause me more stress and anxiety. I actually went to the doctor because it was starting to affect my daily life. After a long talk, my doctor determined that I was not remembering the basics of self care.
To me, self care means to keep a good balance between your physical, emotional, and psychological health. It’s remembering to eat healthy, get enough exercise, and sleep for a good amount of time each night. It also is about being mindful about your stress levels and practicing coping skills when things start to get overwhelming.
ACTION STEP: Write down three of your favorite coping skills for when you are feeling overwhelmed and keep it close to you. When you are starting to feel stressed, pull out the note and practice self care.
Step Away from Social Media.
It is so easy to compare your life with someone else’s when you are on social media. We only see the good parts of everyone’s lives that they want to show us. We never see the bad times, the hard times, or the things that happen behind closed doors.
ACTION STEP: Take an hour out of your day away from social media (phones, video games, computer, television, etc.) and do something that you have been meaning to do lately. Examples: go for a walk, clean the kitchen, or go on a coffee date with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
Reach Out for Help.
Stress is a normal part of the human experience but there is “normal stress” and “abnormal stress.” If the stressors in your life are affecting your daily routine it may be time to reach out for professional help. There is no shame in reaching out for help. You are incredibly strong for being mindful about your life and taking the steps to get better.
What are some things that help you when you experience stress? I would love to know in the comments down below because what helps you could help someone else!