Simple Tips to Reduce Stress in Your Life

There is no way to completely remove all stress from our lives. We can take steps to remove those things we can, but the real world is filled with challenges. We can, however, change how we deal with them.

Set priorities and spend your energy on the things that really matter. Ease up on the things that don’t.

If you are a perfectionist, learn that “okay” can be just fine. Nothing will ever be perfect. Some things can be excellent, but a lot of things don’t have to be.

Assume the best about people. In day-to-day life the inconsiderate person in traffic, at the store or at the office can be a source of stress that we carry with us that weighs us down. You’d be amazed at how much better you feel when you assume they didn’t mean to be so inconsiderate. While there are some truly mean people in the world, running it over and over in your head gives them too much power over your life, and most people are just grumpy or distracted because of their own really overwhelming problems. Let it go. YOU will be a happier, calmer person.

Exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress for several reasons. First, it gives your body a healthy way to utilize the adrenaline that it naturally releases during stressful situations. (Adrenaline is the chemical that produces the “fight or flight” response that can leave you feeling agitated.) Second, when you exercise, your body also releases endorphins which trigger positive feelings and are natural pain killers. Third, exercise also helps improve sleep quality.

Journaling can also reduce stress. By writing things down, it can keep you from letting stressful thoughts go around and around in your head and give you a better perspective.

Being in nature has a calming effect on many people. Whether it is a nearby alley garden or a national park, notice the little things…how the sunlight glints off the grass or how a raindrop drips from a leaf.

Art can be a pleasant way to reduce stress. You don’t have to be good at it! Enjoy the vibrant or peaceful colors, feel the clay on your fingers, relish the way the brush slides across the paper.

Breathing exercises help your body get more oxygen and produce calming effects.

Visualization is something you can do anywhere. Picture a favorite location – whether you have been there or not! Imagine what it looks like, feels like, sounds like and smells like. It is an easy way to take a mini-vacation no matter what your current circumstances.

Eat well. Food that provides enough nutrition and keeps your blood sugar steady helps you feel better overall. B-vitamins are depleted during stress, so look for foods that replenish them. Junk food is especially tempting when we’re stressed, but too much sugar briefly lifts you up, and then causes your mood to crash when your blood sugar drops lower than it was before. Fatty foods feel calming, but high fat foods cause weight gain and other problems that just make you feel worse. Choose foods with only a moderate amount of healthy fat for the best results.

Finally, do what you can to get enough rest. That’s easier said than done when you are stressed, but everything you do to create better sleep habits and a better sleep environment can lead to a few more minutes of precious rest. Don’t have caffeine too late in the day. If you tend to lose track of time and stay up way too late, set an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed. Turn off the TV and computer at bedtime. Make the room dark. Turn on a fan or air filter to muffle sounds.

Wishing you peace today no matter what is going on around you!