Stress affects people in different ways. Stress is very individual and its cause differs from one person to another. And the worst thing is – stress is unavoidable. No matter how hard we try to juggle with all sorts of things, there’s going to be a time when we will succumb to stress.
The good news is that there are many ways to cope with stress. Here are among the most effective:
Reframe your thoughts.
Your anticipation about a potential source of stress determines whether it becomes an actual stressor. For instance, if you keep worrying about your upcoming presentation and you keep on thinking about how it could fail, instead of focusing on how to improve your performance, you end up doing not good enough. Reframing your thoughts, therefore, is an effective strategy to combat stress. Your goal is to get over your negative thinking and accept that while you may not be an expert in a certain subject.
Develop healthy habits.
By improving the quality of your health, you are making your body less prone to stress. Set aside at least minutes daily to exercise, ensure you are getting enough sleep, eat healthier foods, and give time for relaxation and recreation. With a healthy lifestyle, you can effectively get through your stressors.
Relaxation, whether through meditation, yoga, tai chi, or a walk on the beach, lowers blood pressure, slows respiration and metabolism, and releases muscle tension. A study by the University of Michigan researchers found that participants who took a walk in the park showed much better performance on a test of voluntary attention than those who took a walk in the city.
Vast research suggests that satisfying social relationships are crucial for both mental and physical health. Meanwhile, social isolation increases risks of cardiovascular diseases and levels of stress and decreases quality of sleep.
Research also gives ample evidence that good laugh is a useful aid for fighting off stress. In 2004, a neuroimaging study showed that self-generated happiness or sadness activated the same parts of the brain as real emotions. In addition, imagined laughter was successful at reducing self-reported sadness and imagined crying at reducing self-reported happiness.
Take time out.
It’s really hard to cope with stress when you are overwhelmed with a lot of worries – worries at work, at home, and about many other things in your life. So from time to time, do take a time out. When it feels like it’s too much, take a break. Consider going out for a walk, getting a cup of coffee, or taking a nap. It’s a great way to fight burnout.
For a moment, close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm – it could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.
We can’t avoid stress. But we can employ several strategies to manage it and lessen its effects on us.
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