No doubt life is hectic; however, there will always be stressful situations. The bad news is that you can’t do anything about that. But, the good news is that stress is “in the eye of the beholder.” So, how you react will make all the difference … to your mental and physical health. Additionally, how you respond to stress will have consequences on your relationship.
To help you out, here are the top 7 tips to deal with the difficult matters that surround you:
1. Breathe. Though you may not be aware of it, you might actually be holding your breath. Or, you may breathe in a shallow way, breathing just into your chest. Start to consciously notice your breathing by placing your hand on your stomach and train yourself to bring your breath into this area.
2. Relax your body. If your body is tight or tense, you’re more likely to jump at a situation. To help ease bodily tension, as you’re waiting on a line or in traffic, do a muscle tightening and loosening; start at your toes and work up the different muscle groups. Any time you notice tightness in your body, make sure to relax.
3. Hear the birds. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the things you have to do that you forget to notice all the beauty that’s around you. Make a point of listening to the birds, of seeing the flowers that are out, of the movement of the clouds. It’s important to open up your focus.
4. Learn to be positive. Research has shown that people who are more positive experience less stress. As suggested in a class on Positive Psychology, each night write three things for which you’re grateful. These should be small things like you found a quarter, you didn’t have to look long for a parking spot, and the line at the supermarket was short. The more small things you see that are positive, the more positive you’ll see.
5. Make time for friends. Social support is one of the best buffers for stress. Friends are especially important for women’s health. And if your time together consists of some laughs, even better since humor is a wonderful stress-buster.
6. Remember YOU. Just like the airlines tell you that if the oxygen masks come down, put
yours on before helping others, the same goes for stress. If you are constantly overwhelmed, you will burn out. It really is okay to refuel by taking time for yourself … even if it’s only with small actions like quietly drinking a cup of tea or visualizing a “safe place” for five minutes.
7. Manage your thinking. Become aware of your thoughts. If they’re negative and self-critical,
learn to do thought-stopping as negativity will only make you more stressed out. Also learn to
reframe a situation; that is, look at a situation in a different way so that it doesn’t bother you as
And in regard to your thinking, I’ve saved the best for last. The newest research says that if you think about stress in a positive way, meaning that you don’t see it as a bad thing but something that helps you deal better with situations, it will totally not have negative effects.
So – bottom line: you are empowered to decide how to deal with your stress! Clearly, some small changes can make a powerful difference!