Today’s world is all about progress, advancement in almost any field one can think of, industrialization, breakthroughs and so on. As much as all of it leads us towards a high rise, stress comes along as an inevitable baggage. Stress is our innate reaction towards any threat. It’s like this small burst of energy advising us on what to do.
Sure, the energy does do its bit of good work, but it’s mostly found to have deleterious effects. Eustress is the stress that we require to push us on but when the body cannot cope with the situation any longer, it goes into a state of distress which causes the release of the hormone Cortisol, which lowers the immunity, interferes with memory and learning, elevates blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thereby increasing the chance of heart diseases, among other things.
This is why it is crucial to manage stress and nip it in the bud. Anxiety is merely the body’s way to prevent itself from buckling over. The following tips, if effectively incorporated, I’m sure would help one deal with anxiety.
Avoiding taking things personally
It’s a sorry fact but most people we meet today are very insensitive towards others’ feelings and many a time, they might end up passing unnecessary comments at us. It is needless to give undue attention to anything which does us no good. Assuming things on our own and jumping to irrelevant conclusions, will only lead to unjustified feelings of distress.
We must catch hold of the assumptions before they turn into beliefs. Just like how old, used dentures hurt after some time and must be replaced; negative people must be eliminated, or at least avoided. An easy way to do this is to note exactly when you tend to react to snide remarks.
Ultimately, to prevent thoughts from creeping into your mind, keep yourself immersed in constructive activities- be it reading or working out. An idle mind is definitely the devil’s workshop.
Expecting the world and its people to behave in a certain way that pleases us, would only bring about disappointment. Instead, it is much easier to be more open to accepting things just the way they are. One should not fret over what cannot be controlled. Focus on things which you can alter or modify rather than concrete issues which have no means of change. Have the sense of wisdom to differentiate between things that will gain from your efforts and those that will go in vain.
A stress journal proved to be of great benefit to a friend who was going through a hard time. Each time something unhappy came up, some situation, or any bottled up unhealthy emotion, she wrote it all down. This helped her to come to terms with all that were going on within, realize it, and to start working on them. It need not be a journal; it can also be just talking it out with a close friend. Find the method that helps your process of catharsis.
A lot of people find it therapeutic to just dust and clean the house while dealing with stressful situations, while others prefer to go out for a run/jog. Working out has an added advantage of producing happy hormones known as endorphins which play a crucial role in maintaining a positive outlook in times of stress.
Getting a sense of humor: One may want to put some deliberate effort at being happy to combat stress. The source could be anything – a YouTube video, a shared joke on Facebook, a light chat with friends – but just the sheer lightness of the mood will do the work.
Laugh out loud, begin the day with happy thoughts and a smile. Don’t fall into the trap of vices such as alcohol or drugs to give yourself a sense of pseudo-happiness. A good, hearty laugh is all that is needed to put things in perspective at times. Go to your happy place, if nothing else works.
Initially, you may have to trick your mind into thinking you are happy but with the passage of time, you will actually feel the mirth and it will no longer be trickery!
Of course, meditation helps. This should have been number one on the list. Meditation quiets the unnecessary chatter of the mind, bringing clarity and calmness. The best part of meditation is that it can be done anywhere and doesn’t even take up much time! A daily ritual must be set aside for mindful meditation and deep relaxation of the body and mind.
Including it in your life will add a sense of routine to your schedule, and this routine is often a necessary and welcome addition to your chaotic mind. Its spiritual qualities aside, meditation can help improve your concentration and focus- two key abilities which help in problem solving- which will, in turn, help you tide over your stressful scenario.
Remember, there is never a problem that life poses which doesn’t have a solution. If you cannot see it right now, then look elsewhere with goggles on and maybe you’ll find a better solution than you were expecting.
There are plenty of resources on the internet about how to meditate:
Proper diet and adequate sleep
A well-nourished body is better prepared to cope with stress and hence a nutritious diet becomes necessary. Alcohol, junk food, cigarettes and drugs must be avoided like plague. Caffeine and high sugar containing food temporarily raise the energy level, later crashing it down.
7-8 hours of sleep charges up the body and mind, acting as a fuel for carrying out our daily work. The body requires a constant supply of nutrition and more so when you are stressed. If you take this away from it, then you will not just suffer immediate consequences but also long drawn health issues in future.
Physical activity of any kind plays a key role in reducing stress. Brisk walking, light free-hand exercises, indulging in outdoor activities, cycling, taking the stairs, simple everyday workout regimes like these helps release stress and gives us more energy and optimism towards life. Exercise not just releases those much-required endorphins but also has the visible effect of bringing your body to shape with time. Give time to yourself and you will see how good it is to love yourself before others.
Do what you love: Set aside 10 minutes every day to completely focus on something that we love doing, helps take our mind off trivial issues and freshens the mind. There really is no better way to ward off stress.
Taking the time to delve into your passions and doing something you love will not only fulfill you but will also take your mind off whatever it is that is stressing you out in the first place. Life is more than just getting work done and taking care of your family, it is about personal fulfillment and you really should have some time to yourself.
The best thing to do with this time? Get a hobby and stick with it. If you like travelling, there is no better excuse to get away from your mundane life and utilize it finding wonderful nuances of the world. Learn a language, or start playing an instrument.
Join a sports class. Cook and bake- find new recipes off the internet and try them out. Give yourself enough reason and motivation to tide over the problem. Repeat to yourself, this too shall pass- and it will.