10 Steps to Managing Stress

10 Steps to Managing Stress

Managing stress is becoming more and more important as we increasingly understand its detrimental effects on our health and well-being.

Read on to discover 10 top steps to managing stress:

Knowledge: to help reduce stress it is vital that you understand what stress is and how it affects your body. Stress can be defined as the response of your body to the demands placed upon it. How you cope will be determined by the level of pressure placed upon you. You therefore need to learn how to identify your own signs and symptoms of stress and their underlying triggers.

Exercise: moderate, healthy exercise is vital for both mind and body. Performed regularly it is an important component of a stress management program.

Diet: in the same way that exercise helps to moderate stress, a healthy, nutritious diet full of vitamins and minerals will also support your efforts to manage your stress.

Sleep: it is a good idea to set aside at least half an hour to unwind before going to bed. There are a number of ways you could do this, for example by soaking in a warm bath or having a hot, milky drink. You could also try taking a stroll around the block or performing a few gentle stretches before you retire for the night.

Organisation: getting organised is an excellent way to reduce and manage everyday stress. It is helpful to plan what you are going to do each day and to be realistic about you think you can achieve. Realistic expectations are crucial if you are to lower your levels of stress.

Support: don’t be afraid to ask those around you for help when you need it. All of us need someone to confide in when things get tough. Your family and friends will appreciate your trust in them and will undoubtedly reward it by offering you a sympathetic ear or advice when necessary.

Me time: set aside at least 30 minutes a day for some me time. Stretch out on the couch with a good book, put on some of your favourite music, indulge in a hobby, play a game of cards or simply stare into space. This is your time and you fill it as you wish. By doing so you will be taking another vital daily step towards managing and even eliminating stress.

Leisure: having some hobbies and interests outside of work and home is another effective way to manage stress. Find something that you enjoy doing and make time for it at least once or twice a week.

Relax: it is more difficult than we think to relax completely. While you might think that you are relaxed, you may in fact be experiencing muscle tension in various parts of your body. Try to learn how to recognise when this is happening and then use an appropriate technique to rid yourself of the tension. Some people may like to meditate or practice conscious relaxation methods while others prefer to relax through sport or by taking a gentle walk.

Problem solving: those who are the least stressed generally have excellent problem solving ability. Think about whether your approach to problem solving is effective or whether it causes you more stress. If it does, work on ways to improve it.

Practice these 10 steps on a daily or weekly basis as appropriate and you will find yourself effortlessly managing stress. By doing so, you will be ensuring your own mental and physical health and well-being. Stress that is out of control or unmanaged can seriously damage your health. Take control of it before it takes control of you and your life and relationships will benefit as never before.

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