Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that many people I’m speaking with have found themselves a bit more stressed than usual. Whenever this happens, I usually ask people to retrace the events and situations over the preceding days and weeks that may have led up to it. We are designed for patterns and fall into them quite easily- so if we can identify the pattern that led up to how we are feeling or behaving then there is an opportunity to make course corrections and adjustments the next time these things happen.
On the flip side of this, when you are feeling like you on top of the world and can accomplish anything, there are usually a set of preceding circumstances and events that led up to that state as well. So going back in time to retrace what has happened to get you there can be an extremely valuable exercise if you plan to duplicate success at any level as well.
Success leaves clues. Stress leaves the same clues is we pay attention.
If you are currently experiencing a higher level of stress than usual, it’s not required that you try to understand exactly why this is happening. Stress, however, is inevitable and will occur with everyone over the course of a normal life. How you manage your stress is a choice we get to make every day.
With that in mind I thought I share a list of stress alleviators and encourage all of you to share your best stress relievers too.
Cheers to stress-free days…
One Quarter Turn at a Time
Read the list
- Get Up and Take a Walk Around the Block
Virtually any form of exercise can lower your stress levels- but activities like walking or jogging use repeated muscle motion that can achieve similar benefits as meditation. Regularity is the best way to achieve maximum benefits as studies show us regular forms of exercise can lower anxiety levels across the board.
We know that exercise lowers stress hormones, releases endorphins and other feel- good hormones into your system that are natural stress relievers. Consistent exercise also helps us create better sleep cycles which I’m sure we all could use. And finally, regular exercise gives us a sense of confidence and a feeling of accomplishment even on our toughest days.
The message here- get up and move a bit.
A great way to handle stress is to write things down. Again, many studies have shown that taking some time to journal and write out your thoughts is a great stress reliever.
Sometimes getting your thoughts out of your head and onto a computer screen or a piece of paper allows you to objectively look at and understand what is actually going on and make observations on what is impacting your overall stress levels.
If you’re stuck, some strategies for getting past your writer’s block may be:
-Make a list of things in your life that you are truly grateful.
-Create some goals you’d like to accomplish both big and small to give yourself something to look forward to.
– Write a letter to a person creating stress in your life that you will never send.
- Pay attention to what you eat
When you are feeling stressed it’s easy to want to grab a handful of chips or a big bowl of ice cream. Fatty foods, with high sugar and salt content seem to sooth our stress in the short term, but the sugar and carb crash coupled with the guilt of overeating only compound feelings of stress and inadequacy. Try some healthy alternatives when you are feeling a bit stressed and save the pizza for a day when you are back on top of your game.
- Connect with Friends
In a world where we have more ways to connect than ever before, more and more people are reporting they feel isolated and alone. Stress has a way of building up barriers between yourself and those you care about and your true friends would never want you to be alone to wallow in your stressful days and weeks.
We are social creatures and crave contact from the outside world. While our families and co-workers are a good starting point for connection, they could also be the source of our stress and may not be a good substitute for quality time with friends.
All the studies tell us what we know to be true- laughter is the best medicine. Our brains are complex, but rather simple in that it can’t hold onto two separate emotions at the same time. When we are laughing and smiling it’s impossible to feel stress or anxiety. Much like exercise, laughing releases endorphins and other stress relieving hormones that just makes us feel better and creates an overall sense of positivity that improves everything about out day. Have you ever laughed so hard that when you finished you were exhausted? That’s the kind of laughter we could all use on a consistent basis to keep our stress levels under control.
- Whoa – Whoa- Listen to the Music
Stress has been said to be a state of mind and what better way to change our state of mind than by listening to some of our favorite music. Old songs have a magical ability to instantly transport us to a place and time in our lives. Create your own stress relieving playlist oldies, newbies, whateverbies, and let the stress melt away. If you are a driver, then hop into the car and let the music guide you toward any destination it desires. Whatever your taste- make sure to CRANK IT UP!
- Learn to say NO
One of the biggest causes of stress is taking on too much responsibility and overwhelming yourself. If you have too much on your plate, nothing gets the attention that it truly deserves. Remember when you say YES to something, you are probably also saying NO to something else that is important to you or those you care about. Learning to say no is big step toward taking charge of your life and reducing your stress levels.
There you have it, a short and sweet list of stress relievers. I’m sure that many of you have some great thoughts and ideas when it comes to reducing stress in your life so I’m counting you all to share as many as you can think of. Remember you are not in this alone and this little tribe we’ve created is here to support you when you need it!