Stress is a side effect of being human, but when it strikes, does it overwhelm you? If so, learning some simple ways to relieve it can help you to manage the pressures of everyday life without becoming incapacitated by them.
While we can’t promise a one-size-fits-all solution to your specific stressors, here are some simple tips to help you put those anxious feelings into perspective.
Tip #1: Exercise Regularly
No, we’re not saying you have to go out and run a marathon (because who really has time for that?), but regular exercise like walking, weightlifting, or yoga can release endorphins which help boost your mood.
While taking a few hits at a punching bag can help relieve stress in a pinch, a habit of regular exercise can prevent you from getting overwhelmed in the first place. Pretty cool, right?
Tip #2: Drink Water, not Coffee
Don’t freak out—some coffee is OK (some might even say essential). But downing cup after cup of caffeinated drinks has been shown to increase feelings of anxiety. If you’re feeling jittery, it might be time to set down your favorite mug and pick up your water bottle instead.
Tip #3: Make Time for Friends
There’s no doubt that friendships are important. Friends make us laugh, releasing tension and helping to distract us from stressful situations. Additionally, friends act as a sounding board when we get overwhelmed.
It turns out there’s a reason our friends can always make us feel better—studies show that your body releases the hormone oxytocin, a natural stress reliever, when you spend time with loved ones.
It can be easy to isolate yourself when you’re feeling anxious, but taking time to invest in your friendships can not only help you feel better during the tough times, it can increase your joy in the good times, too.
Tip #4: Learn to Say No
A lot of daily stress comes from the feeling that there’s so much to do, but too little time. If you regularly feel overwhelmed, take stock of how you spend your time each day. Are there things you could cut out that would free up more time for you to relax?
Maybe this looks like eating a meal from the freezer every once in a while or stepping back from an extra committee at work. Remember, saying no speaks to your self awareness; it’s not weak, it’s strong.
Tip #5: Start a Venting Journal
Be honest…wasn’t there something terribly therapeutic about writing in your diary back in the day? Sometimes you feel overwhelmed without being able to pinpoint why. Or maybe you just don’t have anyone to talk to about something stressful that happened.
Whatever the reason, journaling can help you to examine your feelings and move past them. Write honestly, and whatever you do, never look back on old pages in your journal—doing so may reignite your frustration.
Tip #6: Listen To Your Body
Too many of us respond to stressful situations by scarfing down a chocolate bar or swinging by the bar to vent with our girlfriends. But binge eating and drinking only provide temporary relief of anxious feelings. In fact, they can even make us feel worse!
Pay attention to activities that bring lasting relief when you’re overwhelmed, like going for a walk or meditating. Give your body what it needs in these situations, and see how they start to affect you less significantly over time.
Stress is inevitable, but with practice, you can learn to manage it. Adopt these healthy habits to help you relieve stress and find greater enjoyment in your daily life.