Stress is something we all deal with on a daily basis and human beings are surprisingly adaptable to stressful conditions. However, basic survival under duress is definitely not an ideal lifestyle. Instead, knowing how to manage stress and diffuse it quickly can help supercharge all aspects of your life.
Your overall health is comprised of three pillars: your body, your mind, and your spirit. Your body is the physical carriage that moves you around and enables you to interact with the world around you. Your mind controls your psychological and emotional selves and is the vehicle for interpreting life and your place in it. Meanwhile, your spirit is the life force that keeps the other two running smoothly and is greatly influenced by your lifestyle and overall wellness.
When one of these pillars is weakened, then like a three-legged stool, the whole system can collapse quickly. Using these three core concepts, here are six ways to alleviate stress from your life so you can get back into balance quickly and smoothly.
Forget About It
1. For your body: Exercise.
When you are deeply focused on lifting that barbell, completing that mile or being firmly rooted in tree pose, you give your mind a break from worrying about your problems. You also boost endorphins which help you to interpret your problems as less stressful. Start small with basics like taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or walking for fifteen minutes at lunch or after dinner. Or, if you tend to get bored easily, try something new like kickboxing or yoga.
2. For your mind: Meditation.
Meditation reduces negative mental chatter. A quiet mind is more receptive to hunches or gut reactions that might help you solve your problems or look at them from a new angle. Many successful business people know how to manage stress by taking a quiet fifteen minutes every morning to relax and mentally let their problems go.
Work on It
3. For your spirit: Set goals and stick to them.
It’s easier and more encouraging to set small goals that enable you to easily stick to them, than to set unattainable goals that will just result in disappointment, self-criticism and more stress.
4. For your spirit: Take time for yourself.
Each of us has our own special de-stress activity. For some it’s fishing. For others it’s shopping. Others might be at their most relaxed when gardening, getting a manicure or watching a ballgame on television. Find the activity that lets you mentally relax and make an effort to engage in it as often as possible. It might mean arranging to take a personal day off of work or sending the kids to their grandparents’ house for the weekend, but feeding your spirit with activities that relax and center you will help equip you to face ongoing daily challenges.
Don’t Aggravate the Problem
5. For your body: Eat right.
Many people turn to sweets, carbs, caffeine or high-fat comfort food when confronted with stressful situations. Examine your diet and what you crave during stressful periods. Poor eating choices lead to weight gain, lethargy and overall bad health, which stresses your body at the exact time your body should be functioning optimally. Get clear on your nutrition choices before you get stressed out so it is easy for you to make healthy, nurturing choices when you are preoccupied.
6. For your mind: Speak up!
Sometimes we take on stress when we feel our needs are not being met and we are not confident enough to state our own wishes. Avoid letting your stress build up. If you are upset about an issue at home or at work, take some personal time to think about your problem, discover why you are upset, then calmly discuss it with another person you trust. Sometimes clearer communication can clear up the problem. At the very least, you can diffuse some of your internal pressure by opening up to someone else.
Many people either ignore stress until it becomes unbearable or they immediately turn to medication as a way to manage their stress. But by knowing the secrets to managing stress in a integrated, holistic way that takes into account the three pillars of your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing, you can attack stress or anxiety from all angles and diffuse it before it becomes chronic.