What do you think of when you hear the word stress? Are you looking for ways to reduce your stress levels? Stressful situations cause your brain’s natural response to any demand that you encounter on a daily basis. You were given the ability to make life-saving decisions in a flash called “flight or fight instinct”. However, when a person is constantly stressed out the body is sending the same signals that are sent during a fight or flight situation; however, they are constantly being fired in short bursts. The short bursts that are continually fired can cause your body to suppress functions that are needed for immediate survival.
Most people can roll with the situations as they happen while others panic when faced with a stressful situation. If your body is constantly responding to the following stressful situations:
- routine stress that comes with the pressures of having a job, family, and other responsibilities
- negative situations such as divorce, job loss, death, or an illness
- traumatic stressful situations such as post-traumatic stress, war, major accident, natural disaster, or other events where you were harmed or almost killed.
How to Reduce Your Stress Levels
Your body handles each of these different types of stress in a similar manner. People who are constantly stressed out generally have a lower immune system and get sick more frequently. If you are constantly feeling stressed out, let’s look at how to reduce your stress levels.
Learn Your Triggers
It is nearly impossible to avoid stressful situations all of the time. However, you can learn what triggers you to become stressed out. Whether it is driving during 5 o’clock rush hour traffic, going to the mall when it is super crowded, etc, then you can make the decision to avoid the situations whenever possible. For example, if you don’t like driving in rush hour traffic you could possibly ask for an alternative work schedule, find a less traveled route, or get a job closer to home. Avoiding these situations may be impossible but you can find some ways to cope with the situation so that you are less stressed.
Learn How to Say “NO”
People in today’s society are referred to as busybodies. If we aren’t busy, we don’t know what to do with our time. Then we end up saying “yes” to too many things until our schedules and to-do list are constantly overflowing. We end up stressing ourselves out trying to complete everything on time.
Learning how to say “no” is a powerful word that you can use to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to say it more often. When you say “no”, make sure that your no means NO. Don’t change your mind because someone makes you feel guilty or pressured to do something that you don’t have time to do.
Take Control Over the Things That Stress You Out
It is important to take control of those things that stress you out the most. There are things that are going to be outside of your control and that is okay. Just focus on the things that you can control. For example, if you get stressed out in the mornings getting out the door. Come up with a routine that makes it easier to get out the door even if that means doing some of your prep work the night before. For example, pack your lunch the night before and lay out your clothes so that you have time to eat breakfast every morning.
Avoid Highly Debated Topics
If you get upset every time you get into a conversation about politics, religion, or other controversial topics, you should try to avoid these conversations whenever possible. You can politely ask the other party to change the subject or you can excuse yourself from the conversation.
Cut Down your to-do List
How many things are currently on your to-do list? Do you have a list that is a mile long? Are you constantly stressing over getting everything done? If so, you should work on your current list and cross the tasks off your list. You should also prioritize your tasks and if possible eliminate the ones that aren’t absolutely necessary.
In the future, it is best to keep your to-do list short so that it isn’t something that is always stressing you out every time you look at it. Many people put too much on their plate to the point where they aren’t getting anything done because they are so stressed out or they are having to complete tasks at the very last minute. Waiting until the last minute causes undo stress and make it so that you can concentrate, think, etc.
Express your Feelings
It is unhealthy to bottle up your emotions. Instead, you should openly talk about your feelings. First, you should learn how to recognize your feelings. Remember it is okay to have your own feelings and that it is okay if your emotions differ from someone else. If you find it difficult to express your feelings to others, you can start by writing them down. If needed, find a therapist to help you learn how to openly talk about your feelings. Then practice talking about your feelings to those around you. It is best to use “I” statements when you are expressing your feelings and telling other people why you feel the way you do.
Learn How to Compromise
Remember that you aren’t going to agree with others all of the time. Don’t try to be right 100% of the time and remember that other people might not feel the same way you do. Instead, find a way to compromise more.
Many people often take a back seat approach to handling issues in their life. They wait for problems to arise and then handle them. Instead, try to be assertive and proactive with your life. Do your best to tackle all of your problems head-on. Also, learn how to be more aware of problems coming your way so that you can work towards preventing them too.
Manage your Time Effectively
It is hard to stay calm when you are stretched too thin. Learn how to effectively manage your time so that you aren’t constantly doing things at the last minute. Instead, try to plan ahead so that you have plenty of time to complete the tasks on your list. Like I mentioned earlier, learn how to say “no” so that you don’t overextend yourself too.
Stress is often referred to as a silent killer. It is something that you have some control over it. Learning how to reduce your stress levels will help counteract the effects that stress has on your body. Try a few of these tips in the next 30 days and see if it changes the way you feel.