Learning to relieve stress is a skill that we should all learn at an early age. Most of us already know what we should be doing to reduce stress in our lives but a lot of us fail to take our own advice. Some of us pretend that alcohol and cigarettes will calm the nerves but as we know this isn’t a long term solution. I suffer from stress. I always thought the verb suffer was the wrong verb to use when talking about stress. But of late I see that when I’m stressed in fact suffer is the correct word, but it’s not me that suffers, it is the people I love. My bad humors, my short temper, my irritability and my lack of presence and that’s all before I’ve gotten out of bed. As you may have noticed I’m updating my blog. If you find things jumping around over the next few days, don’t be alarmed it’s just me trying to figure out my new blog platform and trying to finalize a lot of projects that have been dragging on.
The lesson to be learnt
Sometimes stress is caused when things are outside of your control. Over the last few months I’ve been waiting on photographers and designers and other people to help me complete all the projects I have planned. I have felt frustrated and at times stressed out. I’m impatient and I don’t like when I’m not in control of my own outcomes. But this is definitely a lesson I have to learn. To detach myself and not to worry when things don’t go exactly to plan. What’s the worst that can happen I keep asking myself.
So if you are like me and tend to make others suffer when things don’t’ go your way
here are 10 strategies for successful stress control which I use. The first three being the ones that usually have the most impact for me.
Exercise is one of the best physical stress reduction techniques. It improves your health reducing stress, relaxing muscle tension and allowing you to sleep better. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain allowing you to think more clearly. It releases endorphins into the blood which give us a feeling of happiness and positively affect our overall sense of well-being. There is strong evidence to suggest that physically fit people handle the effects of stress without suffering from ill health or burnout. Check out 9 Tips to help you create the habit of exercise
There are periods in my life when I meditate daily and other times when I don’t, no excuses no reasons I simply get out of the habit. These are the times when I physically notice my stress. I get a pain in my upper back, I suffer from headaches and I’m usually not a nice person (as mentioned above) Meditation relieves all of that. When I meditate I feel lighter, definitely happier, calmer and clearer. My plans and goals are always so simple, even with ten minutes of meditation. When I’m not meditating I complicate everything. I over-think things, I analyze things that don’t need to be analyzed, such as why I’m not meditating!
Yoga is my other crutch but yoga usually comes as a package with my meditation. I do some yoga to loosen my body and free the tension; it prepares my body and allows my mind to start to slow before I meditate.
I don’t know about you but if I don’t get enough sleep I don’t function very well, I definitely believe it’s a powerful form of torture. I will act like everything is ok but little by little my patience will shorten and my calm withdraws. Sleep is very important; lack of it can effect concentration and inspiration and enthusiasm for life. Make sure you get enough sleep and that sleep is of good quality. Don’t watch TV before you go to bed and never in bed. Create a winding down routine in the evening before going to bed; this will help you to sleep more peacefully.
Writing down all your worries and stresses can be a great way to clear the mind but it also allows you to be more conscious about what is causing you stress. Sometimes when you see what you have written you will realize the futility of worry about it.
If you tend to find it difficult to sleep at night because you think about your problems keep a pen and paper beside your bed and write everything down before you sleep. Get up and turn on your bedside lamp and get it all down. You will feel much better once you have identified your fears and It will help you to fall asleep.
One thing I notice when I’m stressed is that I don’t cook as well as I should. The times when your body needs nourishment is usually the time when it’s difficult to motivate yourself. I eat less fruit and more sugary snacks. I use alcohol to quickly calm myself. I crave carbohydrates and lots of them. We need to remember that our food is our energy source and if we don’t give our bodies the right energy our engines won’t run so efficiently.
As Hippocrates said
“Let your food be your medicine, let your medicine be your food”
Being at one with nature can shift a sombre mood into a celebration of life. I’m fortunate enough to live 5 minutes from the beach, this morning I walked the beach and sat on a bench overlooking the sea. Dozens of seagulls grazed on top of the water. Their squawking energized me. Every few minutes they took flight to circle around and land just meters from where they were. A humbling sight, to watch the synchronicity . Nature transforms the negative energy into a thing of beauty if you allow it to.
8. Do something you enjoy
Go out and do something you enjoy. Visit an art gallery, go to a coffee shop with a good book. If you can afford it go for a massage or book into a spa. A relaxing treat can do wonders to improve your sense of well-being. It will rejuvenate you and give you energy to keep going.
And last in the list is perhaps the most important
Breathe, breathe consciously and breathe deeply. The breath is the life force that nourishes us. The quality of that breathe effects the quality of our lives. Embrace it and spend time with it and give thanks for it.
So I challenge you to take action this week to reduce your stress levels or if you are not feeling stressed, use these strategies in an effort to prevent stress from coming into your life. Have a wonderful stress-free week and please comment below if you have any other stress reducing tips you can share.
Photo Credit: http://www.scottliddell.com/