Managing stress can be difficult for many of us. Levels of stress can vary, as well as the situation – whether that be life related stress or work stress. Stressful situations can vary from the low end to the extreme pressure cooker type of situation.
Here are five specific ways to manage stress, no matter what kind of stressful situation you are facing.
1. Deep breathing exercises
One method for managing stress is to try deep breathing exercises, focusing only on your breathing and not on your thoughts. When we focus just on our breath and release our thoughts, we can feel more connected to our bodies. Getting connected to our bodies provides greater grounding, inner centeredness and a sense of inner peace and calm.
When we live mostly in our heads and focus mainly on our stressful thoughts, we are far more tense in our bodies. Deep breathing allows us to release that bodily tension.
Try inhaling in and out ten times very deeply, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Try to sit in a space where it is quiet and calm, but if you can’t find one, you can do this just about anywhere or at any time.
Try this exercise a couple times a day, or as much as needed. You will feel much more relaxed during and after, which will help clear your thoughts and relieve some of the stress you feel.
Another way to manage stress is to meditate. I personally gravitate towards guided meditations on YouTube that provide relaxing images and meditative music, simply because I find it hard to sit in complete silence. Some may also find this method to be easier.
Any way you choose, meditation is another way to relieve yourself of stressful thoughts, to re-center and ground yourself, connect with your body and relax your body.
After doing a meditative exercise, I always feel much more refreshed and ready to face the world again, with renewed strength and optimism.
Exercise in any shape or form relieves stress and relaxes the mind – even if it involves taking just a short walk. I tend to prefer taking a shorter, fast walk, which raises my heart beat, releasing all the stress and tension I feel in my body.
Exercise also releases endorphins in the brain, which makes us feel happier. It’s like taking a happy pill! Most psychiatrists will also recommend exercise to relieve feelings of depression, for just this reason.
So, get out and do a little exercise each day, or as much as you can during the week. You will feel much better afterwards for having done so, even if it takes effort and motivation.
4. Distract yourself with enjoyable activities
Another way to manage stress is to distract yourself with enjoyable activities. Dive into a good book, watch feel-good, happy movies, spend time with close friends or family members, attend church services, go sailing or roller blading and do as much as possible that you can think of that you enjoy.
Engaging in enjoyable activities during stressful situations also relieves us of stress, even if it is just temporary. If you focus all your thoughts on the fun activity instead of on the stress you feel, you can experience relief. We all need relief from our stress.
5. Appreciate the little joys
A final method for managing stress is to pause and appreciate life’s little joys and pleasant surprises as they come along – as they always do. Being able to experience moments of happiness or joy during a stressful situation relieves of us some of the stress we feel.
So, appreciate and soak up every single happy moment that comes along, and you will feel better, which can help us get through the rougher times in life.
Life changes and evolves constantly, as do stress levels. Whatever stressful situation you find yourself in, know that you can handle it. Sometimes stress can be prolonged, but if you implement one or even each of the above ways to manage stress, you will be able to get through the situation with a much greater sense of calm and inner peace.
Here’s to being relieved of stress, and here’s to your happiness!