Stress is a response to excessive demands that are placed on our bodies and minds. Stress symptoms can affect how we feel, what we think, and how we behave. However, stress is unavoidable and can impact every area of our lives.
We all want less stress. However, life is stressful and has become part of the fabric of our fast-paced society. Anyone can experience overwhelm, hurt feelings, or struggle just to make it through another day. Overwhelm often surfaces at the most unexpected moments. When this happens we can either address the issue head-on or put it on the back burner.
The back burner option might work for the short-term while attending to a crisis. However, avoidance of feelings and self-care are not sustainable for the long haul. The accumulation of poorly managed stress can lead to burnout. Attempting to numb our feelings by self-medicating and other unhealthy behaviors that can lead to even further stress when what we are really seeking is relief and healing. The usual go-to numbing replacements are typically binging on food, drink, and those wonderful little digital devices that give us access to the world, but not to our internal needs. Denying our feelings is never a long term fix.
Find yourself stressed out? Actively commit to finding ways to gently and lovingly deal with the underlying problems that have caused it. Stress doesn’t have to slowly crumble us, because when we respond to it in healthy ways it can actually support our personal growth and transformation.
Try these 5 steps to reduce stress:
Whining can be positive if we limit it and use it productively. Go ahead– release those stressful thoughts and what causes those anxious or uncomfortable feelings. This gives us permission to vent, helps us gain perspective, and brackets timing so it does not consume the day.
To do this, you can talk out loud all by yourself or create an agreement with a trusted person that will hold you accountable to the time limit. Just remember the big rule: release it and move on to better thoughts and feelings.
Unhealthy outlets for emotions lead to a higher risk of developing addictive behaviors, particularly with drugs and alcohol. Suddenly, anything that offers us a moment of “bliss” is something we begin to crave. However, running away from ourselves and the discomfort we may feel is not a sustainable solution.
This is where writing can be very effective, as it is a wonderful way to release stress onto paper, put it into perspective, and allow us to gain a better insight of ourselves. Through journaling we can learn more about our patterns and behaviors. We can discover what triggers the stress, explore ways of coming to terms with events, and safely let go of the disturbance paving the way to reduced stress.
When we pause, take a moment to step back, and look at the broader picture of any situation we tend to see things more clearly than when we’re entrenched in the little details. It can help to view the situation as a fly on the wall or a neutral observer. This can help limit reactivity and reduce stress.
Another strategy is to imagine the advice you’d give to a friend who is in the same situation. Would you tell them to numb out and forget about it? Or, suggest they find a way to take care of what’s bothering them so they could move on to the better things in store for them? As they say—what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Mindfulness is linked to acceptance of the moment, for what it is, regardless of what it is. Through this technique we become acutely aware of our body, breath, senses, and environment. We practice presence to sense our response in a situation. If we feel our temper swelling, we learn to breathe in and not say a word before we say something we might regret.
If our mind is distracted, we cannot properly focus or get our work done. However, there are huge benefits to our mood and productivity that will result from taking even five minutes to collect and recharge ourselves with positive energy through focused mindfulness.
Affirmations, beautiful music, and uplifting reading material are wonderful ways to replace the ill-effects of mismanaged stressful feelings with food for more positive thoughts.This can be done at home, in the car, at the office, or anywhere. Create a pop-up sanctuary that supports stress reduction.
These simple practices are low cost, portable, and available at any time. It is our personal responsibility to reduce and manage our stress for our health and productivity.
These five simple solutions to less stress are effective ways to begin the process of reducing stress, preventing burnout, and self-care. Remember the importance of being aware of what you’re feeling, the source of it, and how to navigate those feelings when they arise.
By understanding what stresses us and why, we can take the steps needed to address and manage the situations instead of avoiding them.
Enjoy this episode about less stress from the Harvesting Happiness Podcast!
Lisa Cypers Kamen is a lifestyle management consultant who explores the art and science of happiness in her work as a speaker, author, and happiness expert. Through her globally syndicated positive psychology podcast, books, media appearances, and documentary film, Kamen has impacted millions of people around the world.
Our communications do not constitute mental health treatment nor is it indicative of a private therapeutic relationship.
Individuals seeking help for trauma related issues or other psychological concerns should seek out a mental health professional.
© 2010-2023 Harvesting Happiness
Website Design by Nadia Mousa