Written By Mikkie Mills / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Let’s face it: living is stressful! Dealing with the pressures of life has been a major part of human existence since the dawn of time. While most of us don’t face a daily struggle to capture food and find shelter like our ancestors, modern life certainly presents unique challenges.
Email and smartphones keep many of us connected to our work 24/7. Student loan debt and mortgages have forced many people to work multiple jobs and long hours. If you’re raising a family, you’re helping children navigate school, activities, and keeping them safe.
This all adds up and can take a massive toll on your mental health. For some, talk therapy and medications are necessary to treat chronic depression or anxiety. For many others, however, some simple exercises and lifestyle adjustments can make for a much less stressful situation. Here are some helpful places to start fighting back against your stressors.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
It’s difficult to overstate the connection between physical and mental health. Most of us know what we need to do to be healthier but get overwhelmed or frustrated trying to make it happen. Start simple.
Look into vitamins, supplements, or essential oils like the ones D Gary Young provides. Drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink a half-ounce for every pound you weigh. A 180-pound person, for example, should try to drink 90 ounces of water a day.
Far too few people give sleep the priority it deserves. Sleep deprivation leads to all kinds of health problems. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, on the other hand, can help reduce stress and even assist with weight loss.
Sometimes relieving stress is as simple as breathing. There’s a reason your parents told you to take a deep breath when you were upset as a child. It’s the same reason that ancient exercise, meditation, and religious ceremonies emphasize deep breathing. It can work as a “reset” and slow your mind and heart down.
Try taking six deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth with your eyes closed. Breathe deeply and slowly, giving at least five seconds for each inhale and five seconds for each exhale.
Take Frequent Breaks
If we’re talking about work stress, one of the most helpful things a person can do is take frequent, short breaks. That may sound counter-productive, but it’s really the opposite.
In our busy. 24/7, hyper-connected work environments, we tend to try to multitask and pile things onto our to-do list at impossible paces. Just like deep breathing can help reset our bodies, short breaks can refocus our minds.
Set a timer for every 45 to 60 minutes. Take a five-minute computer/phone break to get up, stretch, or walk around. It’s good for your eyes and body, and it will help you recalibrate without losing a significant amount of time.
You can also make this a rewarding time where you can check personal email, social accounts, or play a smartphone game if your company allows it.
Imagine the Worst-Case Scenario
Anxiety is one of the nastiest stressors we face. We are under so much pressure to deliver personally and professionally, that we often allow things that haven’t happened to balloon into a slippery slope of catastrophes from losing jobs to having to sell homes. Usually, this is a massively disproportionate response.
A therapy technique often used with people who suffer from anxiety is to have them go ahead and state what their worst fear from the outcome of a scenario is. Once it’s out in the open, it seems less scary, and it’s easier to work backward from it to establish a plan to avoid it.
Finally, set boundaries between work, home life, and play. This can mean no work emails after you get home, devoted time for family visits, and dedicated “alone” time. Only you can determine how best to schedule this, but it is an extremely helpful way to keep your work untangled from your real life.
Stress is unavoidable, but it is manageable. Use these techniques to start getting a handle on yours!
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Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she's not writing, she's chasing the little ones around, walking her dog, or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.