Monday, February 15, 2010

How to deal with stress

Step 1 Take a break! Stepping away for a few minutes gives you a chance to relax and regroup your thoughts, and improve your focus. During your break, try to do something that takes your mind off of what is causing the stress, like reading a magazine or taking a walk.

Step 2 Focus on your breathing! Take a deep breath...or five...or ten...however many it takes for your body to relax a little bit. You can also incorporate some kind of meditation exercise. Close your eyes and visualize yourself someplace that you enjoy, such as lounging on the beach. In other words, spend a little time daydreaming.

Step 3 Vent! It's never good to keep your emotions bottled up. Call a friend or family member and talk about the situation. Not only does it make you feel better to unload the day's drama, but it may help clear your head and give you some ideas on how to resolve what is causing the stress. Additionally, your confidant may be able to provide you with a few ideas. If no one is available to talk to, write it down in a journal or diary.

Step 4 Find something to laugh about! Laughter is healthy, contagious, and can improve your mood. If you can, find something about the stressful situation you can laugh about. Not only can it provide you with stress relief, but it may also ease your worries and make the situation seem less extreme. If you can't laugh about the situation, take a minute to laugh at something else; read comics, listen to a comedian, or find some good jokes.

Step 5 Take one thing at a time! One thing that can really increase your stress levels is the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you've got a lot on your plate, break it down into individual tasks, prioritize those tasks, and focus on them one at a time. If you've got tasks that can wait until tomorrow, let them wait until tomorrow. If you've got a lot of priority tasks that need to get done, ask someone to help you out.

Step 6 Don't worry about the little things or the stuff you can't control! When situations in your life cause stress, the last thing you want to do is add to the anxiety. So, pay no mind to the little things; don't cry over spilled milk, as they say. Similarly, don't worry about things you can't control. If there is nothing you can do to change a situation, then don't worry about it. Focus on what you can change.

Step 7 Take up a physical activity that you enjoy! Not only will engaging in a physical activity distract you from the situation, but it can also boost your energy and allow you to cool off. This is a great way to find some immediate stress relief and helps provide long term stress management. Engaging in physical activities on a regular basis can improve your health, attitude, and focus; all of which can help you to manage and handle stressful situations.

Step 8 Take care of yourself! Overall good health also makes it easier for you to handle a stressful situation when it comes your way. Physical fitness, healthy eating, and adequate sleep keep your body well nurtured and better equipped to handle stressful situations. You won't be likely to handle stress quite as well if you only got a couple hours of sleep last night and you are beginning to come out of that sugar and caffeine high.

Step 9 Make a list of the stressful things in your life and eliminate them! Every one of us has experienced stress at some point. However, just because it is a part of life doesn't mean that we have to suffer from it on a regular basis. Repeatedly placing ourselves into a situation that we know is stressful is unnecessary. So, try to avoid things that make you stressed. If a particular person stresses you out, talk to that person about it or don't visit with that person as much. If your job causes you high amounts of stress, talk to your supervisor about the work conditions and ways to alleviate it.

Step 10 Manage your time! Managing your time well helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and rushed by helping you determine what you have time for. A good way to manage your time would be to make a habit out of creating To-Do Lists and to sticking to them! Remember to make a schedule that is reasonable; don't overload yourself with tasks. Also, try not to schedule things back-to-back...include a little "me" time so that you can pamper and take care of yourself.

Step 11 Never wait until the last minute! Procrastination is a good way to pile on the stress. By waiting until the last minute, you put yourself in a position that requires you to rush; causing missed deadlines, insufficient preparation, and dissatisfaction with the final result. Always plan and do a little work ahead of time. Save those last minutes for the final touches.

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