Stress is a part of life. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can wreak havoc on your physical and mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, almost half of all Americans report living with high levels of stress on an ongoing basis, and the consequences can be devastating: chronic stressors have been linked to increased risk for heart disease, depression, eating disorders, and more. Perhaps you find yourself in a situation that’s filled with stress so often that it affects your day-to-day life. Maybe you spend long hours at work or school and not enough time relaxing. Stress has many sources—but you don’t have to let stress control your life. By identifying the triggers of your stress and taking small steps to manage them, you can take the stress out of your day and keep your brain healthy.
Identify the sources of your stress
Before you can get to the root of your stress, you need to clearly identify the sources of it. Some common stressors include job or financial pressures, relationship concerns, health issues, family obligations, and educational demands. You may notice that some sources of stress are temporary, while others are more long-term. Either way, you might benefit from rethinking the way you approach these stressors. You can try implementing cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness techniques to make your stressors more manageable.
Develop a routine
One of the most effective ways to reduce stress in your life is to create a routine. A routine is a series of activities that are regularly scheduled, and it can help you feel more in control of your day. A busy schedule can cause a lot of stress for many people, but having a routine set up can help to lessen that. You can have a routine that is as simple as getting up at the same time each day, eating the same type of breakfast each morning, or taking the same path to and from work. Simply having a routine can make you feel more in control, which can reduce your stress level. A routine doesn’t have to be something super strict. You can pick and choose what parts of your daily activities to make part of a routine and which to leave flexible. For example, you might decide that every morning you’re going to eat breakfast, do some light stretching, and then read your favorite book for 15 minutes before getting ready for work.
Find ways to relax
While each person’s stress-relieving techniques may vary, one thing is certain—most stress-reducing activities are beneficial for both your body and mind. Some examples of relaxation techniques include deep breathing, guided imagery, yoga, tai chi, meditation, and reading. Deep Breathing: When you’re stressed, your breath is often very shallow, which can make you feel even more tense and anxious. Deep breathing is an excellent way to slow down and relax when you’re feeling anxious or stressed. Guided Imagery: This is a type of visualization in which you picture yourself in a calm, peaceful place. Many people use this technique while they’re in a relaxed state to help them fall asleep at night, especially if they have trouble calming their mind enough to fall asleep.
Yoga, tai chi, meditation, and reading
Take care of your body
Your body and brain are connected, so when you’re not taking care of your body, you’re not taking care of your brain. Taking good care of yourself is essential to combat stress and other mental health issues. It’s important to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly to keep your body in good shape. In addition to the above, you should also practice good self-care, which means setting aside time to do things that make you feel good, relaxed, and happy. This might include going for a walk, reading a book, or taking a bubble bath. Spending time each day doing activities you enjoy can help reduce stress and give you a much-needed break.
Stress is inevitable in life, but you don’t have to let it take over your life. By identifying the sources of your stress and taking small steps to manage them, you can take the stress out of your day and keep your brain healthy. Remember, there’s a difference between being challenged and being overwhelmed. If you find yourself experiencing too much stress, it’s important to seek help and support.
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