In modern civilization it’s perfectly understandable why so many people suffer from stress. Money continues to be elusive, war and violence are all around us and the cost of living is skyrocketing. While we can’t control many of the things that cause us stress, we can control how we react to life’s problems and determine our state of mind.
The first step in reducing the stress in your life is to accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it. Our own habits, beliefs, values and attitudes largely determine what we consider stressful. When you understand what triggers your stress, you can manage it more effectively. In addition to self awareness and personal responsibility, some other stress management tools include:
1. Exercise Channel your negative energy into the most productive activity possible. In addition to all of the health and self-esteem benefits that come from regular exercise, you will also revel in the positivity induced from the mood-enhancing endorphins your body will release during physical activity. Keeping a regular workout schedule will create dependable opportunities for you to de-stress, maintain a healthy body weight and lower your blood pressure at the same time; and that’s the kind of multi-tasking modern civilization is all about.
2. Eating Well The food you put into your body will have an affect on nearly every aspect of your life. Fried foods and heavily processed foods are two of the main culprits in stress because they bring about high blood pressure and other physical ailments. A proper diet will depend on your own specific physiology, but common elements of a stress-free diet include green tea, dark greens like spinach and arugula, eating a variety of fruits and veggies, and avoiding drinks that are loaded with preservatives and high-fructose corn syrup.
3. Patience Stress often assails us as an immediate response to a tense situation. Anger is a natural response for humans in sudden and intimidating circumstances. The fight or flight instinct is built into us as a defense and survival mechanism. However, in this age of laws and civil structure, the anger that may well up in you during these moments can be destructive to yourself and others.
Road rage is one of the most well known responses to stress. Despite its natural origins, reactive anger is not the most productive way of dealing with any situation, therefore in order to overcome yourself and approach these situations with civility and positivity, you must first practice patience. This approach will facilitate more experience in dealing with stress and more presence of mind during tense circumstances.
4. Being Kind to Others Kindness is not only a gift to others, but also to yourself. Most of the negative emotions that bring about stress in people have their origin in our inability to deal with obstacles in our lives. To help others means to lighten their load, and simultaneously share a kind word or show them generosity of spirit that can so often seem to be missing from life. Being kind to others takes consideration and a mindful state of being that can help you deal with your own hardships. Furthermore, being kind to others is infectious, which means that it increases the likelihood that others will be kind to you and help you avoid stress.
5. Deep Breathing Yes, it may sound simple and too easy to be true, but concentrating on deep and thorough breathing is perhaps the best way to de-stress. Oxygen is absolutely crucial to your body functioning smoothly from your brain to your central nervous system and cardiovascular system. Deep breathing will afford you moments of introspection, which can be very useful in identifying the emotional source of your stress at the same time that the oxygen alleviates your body’s physical reaction to those emotions. You may find that sites such as www.calm.com with its soothing music and landscapes help you relax and breath deeply.
Final Thoughts It’s much too easy to overlook the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your stress levels, but taking time to do so can improve the quality of your life. And when stress takes over, these tools can help you react accordingly in a healthy way. It is imperative to practice these stress reduction tools as often as possible. With practice and repetition, you can become a walking source of calm and consideration for others and yourself.