How to Deal with Stress: TOP 10 Tips That Work
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” (John Lubbock)
Feeling stressed in today’s society is very prevalent. But how stressed you get or how often this happens are two things that you can have a great influence over.
Without wise habits for dealing with situations that could be stressful, life can be a whole lot more burdensome that it needs to be. You may feel tired before the week has barely begun. Be overwhelmed daily. Become physically ill e.g. upset stomach, headaches or migraines and even start to feel burned out.
So what can you do about it?
In this blog I’d like to share 10 main ways that can help you to lead a less stressful life.
1) One thing at a time.
You’ll feel better and less stressed if you just do one thing at a time. No matter if it is at work, or in your private life. This will make it easier to focus and to do a job of higher quality right away. Instead of having to go back several times and polish and rearrange to get the result you want.
If you must multi-task a few things during your day then set off some time for that. Single-task during most of your day but set off an hour in the afternoon for instance to do all that multi-tasking in one big swoop.
2) Be here.
When you spend too much time in your head reliving the past or imagining the future then it is easy to become worried, fearful, stressed out. Choose to spend more of your day and time in the present moment.
One simple way to reconnect with the now if you get lost in the past or future is to just focus fully outward for a minute or two. Sit or stand still and take in everything that is happening around you at this moment. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, the rain or your soft sweater on your skin. Mindfulness and yoga classes help enormously with this as they help you to focus in on the moment.
3) Slow down and do less.
If you slow down your body then your thoughts will once again become clearer and slower too. Consciously perform tasks in slow motion. Whatever you’re doing at the moment, slow it down by 25 percent, whether it’s thinking, eating, talking, typing on a keyboard, surfing the internet, completing an errand, or cleaning the house. Double the time you think it will take to complete a task. It may be uncomfortable or feel strange at first but after a very short while (even after a minute) your mind will stop racing and the stress starts to melt away and is replaced with a bit more inner calmness.
4) Tell yourself: Just take care of today.
Focus only on that. Forget about all those tomorrows. And about all your yesterdays. Go small, narrow your focus greatly and just take care of today. Then you can take care of tomorrow when it comes.
5) Just breathe.
This one is very helpful when you feel overwhelmed by fully focusing on your breathing. Breathing from your diaphragm/abdomen stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (the system that helps you to relax) by slowing down your breath and creates a much fuller, deeper breath. Place your hand on your abdomen and notice the natural rise and fall as you breathe. Compare this to when you are stressed the breath is higher up in the chest, more shallow, more rapid and the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated
Breathe into your abdomen for just 1-2 minutes and this will help you to release the stress, calm your mind and body down and reconnect with the present moment again
6) Be smart about the three fundamentals of energy.
What are these three fundamentals? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising a few times a week. When you manage these three areas in a good way in practice then that makes a huge difference for your mood, energy, outlook of life and how well you can handle stress.
7) Ask for help.
You don’t always have to go it alone. You can ask your friend, parents or partner or even someone you do not know that well for a helping hand. You might not always get it but you may be surprised at how helpful and kind people can be if you just ask.
8) Talk it out with someone.
This can be a great relief and vent to have when you are in a stressed situation. Let your stress and the issue that it comes from out into the light and let someone close to you see it too. Just letting it out can often help you to decrease the stress quite a bit and when you say it out loud then it also becomes easier to see if you are making a mountain out of a molehill.
The other person can also help you to ground yourself when needed and together the two of you may be able to work out what to do about the situation. Or at least how to get started with improving it.
9) Write everything down.
When you’re feeling stressed your mind tends to be all over the place. So, by writing everything down e.g. your ideas, tasks, or anything else you need to remember. Then you don’t have to worry about forgetting. This will free up your mind for focusing on other things rather than trying to remember.
10) Listen to yourself.
When you are starting to feel drained, more irritable and creativity plummets then don’t just keep on going right into the brick wall. Listen to yourself and your body. Schedule more time to take care of yourself and do the things you love.
Just spend the evening in bed reading a relaxing book or watching your favorite film. Or go out for a walk or run in the woods. No one will reward you for running into that wall or even becoming burned out. Be kind to yourself and prioritize your health.
Do note that I am running a Mindfulness and stress reduction luxury retreat in Calpe, Spain, September the 3rd – 7th 2017 that will put a lot of the above into action. See more here.
I hope you will find a few favourites among these tips and habits that you can start using in your own life to reduce the stress and live a much lighter and more relaxing life.