How to Stress Less
We all have stress in our lives, no matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what career you have, your financial status, your body type, etc. - stress does not discriminate, and is present in all of us whether we like it or not. However, you may think, “no, this person in my life is never stressed. She doesn’t even have anything to be worried about!” Well, surprise! She probably just has a handle on how to manage her stress, which makes it appear as though she actually has no stressors (claps for her). And, also, let’s remind ourselves that we really have no idea of knowing what people are going through - so, friendly reminder to always be kind, to help lower these stressors for everyone around us. But, let’s get into how to be like that person in your life, the one who seems to have it all together, who is easy-breezy, stress-free.
#1: Acknowledge that you’re stressed
This may seem like an obvious step, but oftentimes, we can get super wound-up, without even realizing our emotional state. We know we’re irritable, but why? We know we feel anxious, and have that pit in our stomach, but what is the cause? We’re breaking out, getting headache after headache but can’t pinpoint the culprit. Train yourself to know when you are stressed and what you need when this happens. Just being able to recognize your emotional state is the first step in dealing with stress.
#2 Shake it off
Some of us need to go for a run, some need to meditate, some need to grab a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and watch The Notebook. Whatever you need to do, do it. And, remind yourself when you’re feeling this way what made you feel better last time. Stress is a trigger warning that says, “I’m overwhelmed. Something isn’t right. There’s too much on my plate.” To combat this, we need to do things that we know make us happy, and honestly, distract us. Going out with a friend, going swimming, having a dance party in your living room. Let out that tight, pent-up feeling with things you know are going to boost your mood.
#2 Write it down
Sometimes it’s hard to put our feelings into words, but when we get that stressed-out feeling, it’s great to grab a notebook and write. Write anything! Sometimes you’ll even write things you didn’t realize you were feeling. Writing is cathartic and let’s us actually see our feelings, thoughts and emotions on paper. This act in itself, will decrease your stress levels. It’s almost like venting to a friend (which is also a great way to relieve stress), but you’re venting to yourself - a pen pal, if you will.
If you’re in a stressful situation, find some time to do something that you know will make you laugh. Whether this is watching a comedy, reading a funny book, or calling your grandma who never fails to give you a giggle, laughing will put your body at ease. Scientifically speaking, when you laugh, the neurotransmitter, dopamine is released, which is literally a “reward” to the brain - talk about the ultimate stress reliever.
Weird that we sometimes forget to do this. Deep breathing is literally proven to calm your body down, as doing this sends a message to your brain that says “chill”. Not only does it help you relax, but it helps you clear your thoughts as well. Taking some deep breaths when you’re feeling some sort of crazy will help recenter yourself.
#5 Embrace it
What? Embrace stress? You read that right. Whether we like it or not, stress is there to protect and help us. It tells us, hey, something really important is happening that I’m nervous about. Or, hey, we have a lot of work we have to finish for Monday. It’s like a signal that is saying, pay attention buddy, we’re not used to this. Stress is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it pushes us to work harder, to do better. If you’re stressed about something, chances are it matters. And guess what else? Chances are it will be over before you know it and since you were stressed and it made you push yourself more, it will probably even turn out in your favor. And if it doesn’t, now you know for next time.
So, next time you’re stressed - acknowledge it, do things to help it, and be thankful for it.