10 Simple Steps to Help De-stress
This morning, I've been perusing the Stress Management Report by Harvard Medical School and would like to summarize their 10 simple steps to help de-stress.
I very rarely experience stress. That's because I live my life in a way that actively avoids it. I'm quite self-aware because I've learned (the hard way) what types of situations cause tension and anxiety.
However, as you know, we don't have 100% control over the circumstances we confront in life. When avoidance isn't an option you need specific tactics for coping with the stress in your life so it doesn't overwhelm you.
What is stress?
Stress is a natural reaction to life experiences. It's an evolutionary mechanism designed to induce you to react quickly to threats and emergencies (also known as the "fight or flight" response).
Stress is meant to be a temporary state but the demands of modern living often cause abnormally prolonged levels. This causes your body to draw on internal resources to bring your physiological state back in balance.
If chronic stress remains it can cause increases in heart rate, high blood pressure, high hormonal levels, and other issues that will inevitably lead to physical and mental problems.
Though it's necessary to survival (and thus can't be completely eliminated) you can learn to avoid some types of stress and reduce or better manage others.
There are two major ways to deal with stress: first, manage your overall well-being and second, learn effective coping tactics.
How to cope?
I like these tips by Harvard because they are straightforward. Common, everyday stressors only require minor shifts in our mindset and habits to get under control.
1. Manage your time
Consider your priorities and delegate or discard unnecessary tasks.
2. Don't magnify problems
Apply logical reason over emotional reactions so you don't jump to conclusions or distort issues.
3. Ask for help
Unsure of your ability to do something? Ask someone supportive who is also knowledgeable.
4. Don't overextend yourself
Consider what is truly essential and important to you versus what can take a backseat right now.
5. Try mini-relaxations
Not enough time for stress relief? Slow down just enough to pay attention to one task or pleasure.
6. Loosen up the tension
Try massage, a hot bath, mini-relaxations, a body scan, or a mindful walk. Practically any exercise will help too.
7. Overcome pessimism
Remind yourself of the value of optimism and add creative, productive, and leisure pursuits to your life.
8. Manage conflict
Own your feelings and be more assertive by stating your needs or distress directly.
Care for your mind and body by practicing good health and wellness techniques.
10. Connect with others
The world is a kinder, more wondrous place when you share its pleasures and wonders.