5 Healthy Steps to Less Stress
We all want less stress, but it happens- sometimes far too often. 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.
Well, the back burner option basically equals burn-out results, which is not good. Numbing your feelings can lead to other unhealthy behaviors that can lead to challenges when you seek healing. The usual go-to replacements to help avoid numbness are typically bingeing on food, drink, and those wonderful little digital devices that give us access to the world, but not to our internal needs. If that isn’t enough, denying your feelings is never a long term fix.
Find yourself stressed out? You need to 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 you, because when you respond to it in healthy ways it can actually build you up.
Try these 5 steps to less stress
1. Give yourself 5 minutes of constructive “whine time.”
Whining can be positive if you limit it and use it productively. Release your thoughts about what stresses you out and causes those anxious or numb feelings. This will help you gain perspective if you don’t let it consume your day.
To do this, you can talk out loud all by yourself or create an agreement with a trusted person that will hold you to the time limit. Just remember the big rule: release it and move on to better thoughts and feelings.
2. Journal your thoughts.
Unhealthy outlets for emotions lead to a higher risk of developing addictive behaviors, particularly with drugs and alcohol. Suddenly, anything that offers you a moment of bliss is something you begin to crave. However, running away from your “self” and the discomfort you may feel is not a good long-term plan.
This is where writing comes in, as it is a wonderful way to release your stress onto paper, and then put it into perspective. Additionally, you can find patterns in your behaviors. Is it always after a certain situation that you struggle most? Are you tired when your stress is at its highest? These are just two things your journal can help you assess.
3. Don’t obsess about little things – look at the broader perspective..
If you take a moment to step back and look at a broader picture of your situation you’ll see things more clearly than when you’re entrenched in the little details. If this seems overly challenging for you, think of yourself in third person, as it is effective.
You can also evaluate what advice you’d give a friend that had your exact problem. Would you tell them to swig back a shot 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.
4. Embrace the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is linked to acceptance of the moment, for what it is, regardless of what it is. Through this technique you become acutely aware of your body, breath, senses, and environment. You have the presence to sense your response in a situation. If you feel your temper swelling you know to breathe in and not say a word before you say something you regret.
If your mind is so distracted you cannot get your work done, you know the benefits to your productivity that will come from taking even five minutes to recollect and recharge yourself with positive energy through mindfulness.
5. Create an environment that uplifts and inspires you. Affirmations, beautiful music, and uplifting reading material are wonderful ways to replace the ill-effects of mismanaged stressful feelings with great thoughts.
These are specific actions you can take in your car, at home, before bedtime, and any time you know that your best option is to provide yourself with an uplifting reminder to be more tranquil and peaceful in the moment.
These five simple solutions to less stress are effective ways to begin the process of reducing stress and preventing numbness from setting in. Remember the importance of being aware of what you’re feeling and the source of it. From there, you can take the steps you need to address situations instead of not dealing with them.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.