If life has got you stressed out and you’re struggling to find ways to manage and reduce your stress levels try these 10 simple tips to help you start feeling better today.

1. Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine

If you’re used to consuming nicotine or any drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine reducing your intake of these substances can greatly reduce your level of stress. Alcohol being a depressant in large quantities is actually a stimulant in smaller quantities. Caffeine is also a stimulant which is not helpful in lowering stress and anxiety.

You should also try to lower your intake of refined sugars. Not just in sweets, but also in foods such as bread and even salad dressings. These refined sugars can cause energy crashes and make you feel irritable and tired. To reduce stress levels try eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet.

2. Physical activity

Getting outside for a brisk walk or a short jog can help your body metabolize the extra stress hormones that can build up in your body overtime. Exercise has been proven to lower stress levels as well as improve the quality of your sleep which can also help lower anxiety and stress.

3. Get more sleep

Unfortunately, stress interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep spinning in our heads and prevent us from relaxing enough to get a good night’s sleep. Instead of relying on a medication to get a good night sleep you should be trying to increase your relaxation as much as possible. You want to have a bedroom that is tranquil and has no reminders of the stressors in your life. Don’t take caffeine in the evening and monitor your alcohol intake as this can disturb your sleep as well. Give your brain time to calm down by stopping any mentally demanding work well before bedtime. Take a warm shower or bath or read a relaxing book for a few minutes prior to going to sleep. Also see if you can get to bed at about the same time each day so your body and mind gets used to a predictable sleep schedule.

4. Stress-reducing relaxation

Many people rely on self hypnosis as a stress reduction technique, It can be done just about anywhere including your car at your desk or your home and is very easy to perform. Try to focus on a phrase or a word that is positive such as the words “love”, “peace” or “calm”. Or you could try repeating a self-affirming phrase such as “I deserve to be calm”. Strongly focus on the word or phrase you’ve chosen and repeat it over and over in your head or out loud. You will find this repetition will begin to ingrain relaxing feelings within your body. Don’t be worried if this doesn’t work at first, relaxation techniques can take time to learn and will improve as you practice more. 

5. Speak with someone

In many cases just talking to a friend or family member or therapist near you about how you feel can be extremely helpful in reducing stress. Talking can release some of the built-up tension or can also be a distracting factor taking your mind off  whatever is causing the stress and anxiety. Sometimes just having somebody listen for a few minutes can also help put your stress and problems into a new perspective.

6. Write down what’s stressing you

Try keeping a stress diary for a week or so and use it as a stress management tool to help you be more aware of what’s causing your daily stress. Record the time date and place of whatever is causing stress in your life and keep track of details like who you were with, what you were talking about, and exactly what you were doing at the time you began to feel more stress. After a couple of weeks you can look back on your notes and detect the pattern of what generally causing you the most stress so you can avoid these situations in the future.

7. Control your problems

Occasionally, when we have problems that seem unsolvable stress and anxiety seem to follow. When you can find solutions to these problems more readily you will feel like you are in better control which should lower your stress levels. A popular problem solving method involves determining the problem, writing it down and coming up with multiple solutions. You can then figure out the bad and good solutions for your current problem. Write down the steps that you’re going to take to solve the problem including how it will be done, who will be involved in the solution, when you will do it and where.

8. Time management

Now and then we all look at our to do list and feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to understand that you can’t do everything at one time and that you need to prioritize your daily tasks. Trying to get everything done at once is a major cause of stress. One thing you can do is make a list of everything that needs to get done and order them in the priority that you need to do them. Figure out which tasks have to be done right away, next week, and even next month. This will give you a new perspective on what at first look like an overwhelming list of tasks you had to complete. Make sure you leave time in between tasks to unwind and relax.

9. Just say no

Your desire to please everyone and accommodate all of the responsibilities put on You by others can be a major factor and how much stress you have in your life. Many people find it difficult to say no as they want to help and please everyone all the time. When you learn to say no to requests you are taking charge of what you do and do not want to do in your life. Even if you might feel strange about replying to a request with a “no”, you can find other ways to phrase it more gently as not to possibly make someone feel uncomfortable or bad.

10. Rest when you’re sick

If you’re not feeling well physically or mentally always know that you do not have to push through these feelings every time. Give your mind and body a short rest to recover and you will feel better in the short and long-term as well as eliminating some of the stress that goes along with trying to do things when you’re not 100%.

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