Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Five Easy Ways to Manage Daily Stress

Five Easy Ways to Manage Daily Stress
We all have it, we all experience it and we all feel it at some point in our lives. Between work, school, family life, busy schedules and plenty of things that just don’t go exactly as planned, stress affects everyone in some shape or form. Whether yours manifests as anxiety, fear, frustration or in some other way, these easy tips will help you conquer your stress levels and get back to living your life.

1) Take a deep breath. 
While it may seem like a cliché, the American Institute of Stress states that a few slow inhales and exhales results in increased metabolism, slower heart rhythm, relaxed muscles, slower breathing cycles, a decrease in blood pressure and lowered nitric oxide levels.  All of those result in an overall feeling of calm and well-being, effectively minimizing anxiety.

2) Figure out what is stressing you and put it in perspective.
According to a 2013 article by PsychCentral, humans have a tendency to personalize stress, making the stressor seem much bigger, worse and more influential than it actually is.  Taking a moment to stop and identify what is causing the stress, then looking at the stressor in the context of the world as a whole, can be extremely helpful in remembering that the sky won’t fall if things aren’t always perfect.

3) Utilize soothing affirmations and mantras.
The Stress Institute and the Mindful Living Network both note that thoughts and emotions create chemical reactions that affect neurochemicals in the brain, affecting total body health.  Repeating a positive affirmation or mantra when stressed helps to change the mind’s thought pattern, which, in turn, changes the chemical reactions that affect the body. Try phrases that keep you present in the current moment instead of thinking about the rest of the world, like “I am here,” or “I am at peace.”

4) Make a cup of green tea. 
According to research by the Institute for Natural Healing, a compound found in green tea can help burst the anxiety bubble. The amino acid, which is called L-theanine, reduces stress while increasing alertness, getting you back on track to tackle the day.

5) Give yourself a break.
While it’s great that we can constantly stay up-to-date with the latest news, not knowing when to quit can lead to an even greater anxiety level.  Research by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggests that you unplug, turn off and set aside your electronics in the name of stress relief, giving yourself the opportunity to leave work stress at your home’s front door and vice versa.

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