10 Ways to Relieve Stress

Are you experiencing a lot of stress in your life? Try these 10 tips to relieve stress will make your life more relaxing.

If you experience stress often, it can cause major upsets in your life if you don't developing coping mechanisms to help relieve it. While some stress can be motivating, such as deadlines for projects, too much stress can make your life miserable as you wonder whether you'll be able to handle it. Although, some stress is unavoidable, such as that produced by other people or unexpected situations, developing ways to deal with it can help you feel less anxious and learn to make decisions in a calmer manner. Here are 10 ways you can relieve the stress in your life.

1. Identify stressors.
Many people feel totally stressed; some of the emotional symptoms of stress are anxiety, fear, mental pain, frustration, anger, and hopelessness. Focusing on the sources of stress can help you develop ways to better cope with it. Writing down a list of the things that cause you stress is a good first step to reducing stressors. The act of writing down a stressor forces you to acknowledge it as a problem; while some problems cannot be easily resolved, others can be easily removed by focusing on solutions. For instance, if your 6-year old child constantly makes you late several mornings a week because she can't decide what to wear, spending 30 minutes each Sunday afternoon with her selecting outfits for the coming week will help you to start off the morning with much less stress.

2. Set priorities.
Some people feel stressed because they have just too many things going on in their lives. Since, everyone has a limit of only 24 hours in a day sometimes you will have to say "no" to some of the demands on your time. Deciding what is most important to you and your family, and then making those things your priorities, will help you to decide which stressful things can be eliminated. For instance, if you want your family to eat healthy meals but find that cooking every night after work is becoming stressful, find some healthy takeout food or see if your spouse or older children want to share the cooking duties. Doing everything for yourself can often inhibit creativity in others who would be happy to share in new household or workplace duties. Deciding in advance what you can and cannot do in a time period allows you to delegate responsibilities to others and feel more in control of your time.

3. Learn to control reactions.
People differ in how they react to stress in their lives. Reactions are really the key to dealing with stress; if you are constantly overreacting to small stressors; your body is already taxed when more serious problems come along. Learning to deal with minor irritations at work and at home in a more relaxed manner can help you save your energy for major troubles. Visualize different problems that you face and think of various reactions you could have and what the results would be. For instance, if a co-worker is not doing his part of the project you're both working on to your satisfaction, visualize yourself screaming and telling him how incompetent he is, ignoring his incompetence, showing him an easier and more efficient way to accomplish his goal, and pretending his work is okay and then redoing it yourself at the last minute. As you visualize the different results, you will probably find that some solutions would lead to continued stress, or even make new problems. Learning to deal with other people in a more relaxed manner is essential to controlling stress in your life.

4. Learn to let go.
Some problems that cause endless stress are often not really that important. By identifying problems that cause you stress, you will be able to let go of the minor irritations that are bothering you. If you feel you always have to be in total control of your life, you are bound to experience stress as things happen that you can't control. If your life has become tied to a strict timetable try letting go of just 5 or 10 minutes of each day to do nothing. Step outside and look at the trees and flowers, feel the sun on your face, listen to the sounds around you, and just relax

5. Exercise.
Stress can cause serious physical problems in your body. Often people who don't show strong reactions internalize stress, which can lead to hypertension, indigestion, insomnia, headaches, or other ailments. Keeping your body in good physical shape is important even if you're not under stress, and in stressful situations it's even more important to be healthy. Exercising can be a great stress reliever; running on a treadmill, joining a yoga class, swimming laps, or cycling with friends are all good for your body and can take your mind off stress.

6. Watch your diet.
In stressful situations it's often easy to skip breakfast, grab whatever's most available for lunch and keep going with coffee and sugary snacks. This wrecks havoc on your body, as your blood sugar and energy go up and down all day. Plan your diet in advance to allow for small meals frequently, such as cheese, fruit, veggies, and whole grains, and try to avoid excessive caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Eat breakfast, keep healthy snacks in your desk drawer at work, and eat frequently. When your blood sugar is low, your attention span suffers, so don't go all day without eating; that just adds to your stress and when you're starving it's easy to make unhealthy choices.

7. Laugh.
If you don't see anything funny about your life, you need a good laugh. Laughing is good for the body and the soul, and humor can help relieve stress. Watch funny movies, read comic strips, or look up some jokes on the internet. Some hospitals have now included "laugh rooms" where patients with serious illnesses can relieve some of the tension by watching funny films and laughing, which actually causes a chemical reaction to occur in the brain. Humor is a good way to relieve stress.

8. Pet your pet.
Dogs, cats, and other animals can be great stress relievers. Petting a purring cat, throwing a ball for your dog to retrieve, or going on a jaunt atop your favorite horse can make you feel calm and peaceful. Pets can be comforts to those who have stressful lives; coming home and finding a loyal pet waiting for you is reassuring and allows you to unwind in the company of a totally non-judgmental friend. If your building doesn't allow pets, walk a friend's dog or volunteer at an animal shelter, or just go watch the fish swim around at the pet store.

9. Get a hobby.
Many people who have stressful lives find hobbies relaxing. Having a hobby allows you to change focus and forget about problems that are causing stress in your life. Whether you like fishing, knitting, photography, or woodworking, a hobby can relieve stress and let you have something to which you can look forward If you're facing a lot of stress, taking up a hobby that you enjoy can help you unwind at the end of the day.

10. Sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to stress, as you will feel groggy and unfocused the next day after tossing and turning all night. As insomnia can be a symptom of too much stress in your life, getting enough sleep is very important if you want to relieve it. Most people need at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night to function properly the next day; if you get more or less your performance can suffer. Deep sleep is especially important, and if you wake up frequently this can be impaired; if you can't seem to get to sleep on your own, your doctor may be able to help you with this problem.

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