10 Tips for Keeping Calm and Stress Free
Aside from mindfulness, how else can you stay calm and stress free in 2020? Cultivating a general sense of wellbeing is pretty important when it comes to keeping calm and stress free, so here are some ways that will help.
1. Stay Away from the Coffee
Well, not necessarily just coffee, but caffeine in general. This also goes for other things such as alcohol and nicotine.
Why is this? Caffeine and nicotine are actually stimulants, which means that they are more likely to increase your stress levels rather than reducing it. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a depression when you take too much of it, though it can behave as a stimulant when you drink less of it. Relying on caffeine, nicotine and alcohol to cope with stress is not the ideal strategy in the long term.
Instead of drinking caffeine and alcoholic drinks, you may instead choose to opt for other things such as water, herbal teas or natural fruit juices that have been diluted. Make sure that you also keep yourself hydrated as this can help your body to deal with stress better.
2. Get Physical
When you’re stressed, your body creates increased levels of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are designed to protect the body from any immediate harm, and have been ingrained into us through evolution. Of course, in the modern day fight or flight responses doesn’t tend to solve stress, so getting more physical activity into your life can be a massive help when it comes to combatting stress.
If you find yourself feeling stressed or tense, you could try going for a short walk in the great outdoors. It’s also a good idea to try and get a decent amount of physical activity into your routine on a daily basis. You may wish to do this before or after work or during a lunch break.
3. Keep Connected
When you’re stressed, it can help to make sure that you have a good support network around you. Talking to someone can help to distract you from what’s going on, and can help you to vent out any frustrations that you are currently feeling. Stress is good at stopping people from seeing clearly, so you can get more clarity by talking to others. It may help you to feel better in the long run.
People are very social creatures, and going too long without social interaction can be detrimental for many. During 2020, you may find it difficult to be able to interact with friends and family due to restrictions in your area brought on by Covid-19, but you don’t have to see people in person to stay connected! There are a bunch of websites and applications on most smartphones that you can use to stay connected, from FaceTime, to Zoom to Facebook Messenger. If you find yourself feeling lonely and that’s contributing to your stress, give a loved one a call for a chat. Sometimes hearing someone’s voice can be so much more rewarding than texting back and forth.
4. Try Journalling Your Feelings and Thoughts
Journalling is a useful tool for general wellbeing, but if you find that you are often experiencing stress, it may help to keep a stress diary. You don’t need to do this for the rest of your life, just for a few weeks until the feelings subside. This may not seem like the most helpful thing to do at first, but it can help you to gain more awareness of situations that stress you out.
For each entry, write down the time, date and the place of the stressful episode. Note down the things you were doing, the people that you were around and the way the situation made you feel both in a physical and emotional sense. You should then try to give the episode a stress rating from around 1-10. After a while, you should have enough data to understand what things trigger stressful episodes and you will understand how good you are at dealing with stressful circumstances. It means that once you know what things stress you out, you can learn how to cope better with them, and in some cases avoid them in future.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep can seem like such an insignificant thing, but it’s actually vital to our wellbeing as a whole. Sleep can also impact our stress levels. On the same note, stress can also stop you from sleeping because your thoughts will get in the way, so what are you supposed to do in that case?
Most people turn to medication to help them get to sleep, but before you go down that road try to make sure that you are fully relaxed before you drift off to sleep. Ensure that your bedroom is completely peaceful, like your own personal paradise so you have the best environment to sleep without any reminders of the stress of waking life.
Try to avoid things such as lots of caffeine in the evening before, and also stay away from lots of alcohol before bed because it can result in disturbed sleep. You should also try to stay away from any work that requires a lot of mental strain in the hours before you go to bed – allow your brain to have a rest before you drift off!
You can also do other things to help you to drift off, such as taking a relaxing warm bath or you could read a book. Try and stay away from technology before bed too if you are able too.
Finally, make sure that you are getting to bed at around the same time every night as your body will start to recognize the sleep schedule, meaning you will likely find it easier to get to sleep.
6. Get Organized
Perhaps one of the biggest causes of stress is feeling out of control. Getting organized can help with this. Having an extensive to do list can often feel a little bit overwhelming, so it’s important to properly manage your time and understand that sometimes it simply isn’t possible to do everything.
Try to create a list of every thing that you have to do during the week and then order them by the level of priority. You should consider whether these are all tasks that simply must be done by you and what things can be delegated to other people. Once you have listed these tasks by priority, figure out what things need to be done right now and what ones need to be done in the next week and month.
When one big list becomes overwhelming, editing it down to smaller chunks can feel a lot more manageable, especially if tasks are spread across a longer span of time. You should also account for when unexpected things crop up, and make sure you take some time for your own relaxation.
7. Accept There are Things You Can’t Control
As we’ve already said, control issues are a big contributor to stress. It’s easy to get bogged down by the thoughts that it feels like you have no control over your life. When you are in a situation where things cannot be controlled, it’s important to take a step back and acknowledge that.
First of all, take a moment to recognize the things that you cannot change. You cannot change the past, to start with. It’s also not possible to control other people, and you can’t change the laws of nature. Some things are just going to happen no matter what you do, which can seem frightening but it’s vital that you learn to accept that. For those things that you cannot change, it’s okay to grieve them.
On the other hand, there are also things that you are able to change. It’s worth trying to focus on what you are able to control, and this can help you to feel less like you are powerless. Now, this may sound like a scary and difficult thing to do, and this kind of awareness can take time to cultivate – which is why practicing mindfulness can be so helpful.
8. Slow Down
If you are able to, you should try not to instantly react to stressful situations. Take a little bit of time just to breathe and absorb what’s just happened -- allow yourself to gather all of the information before you respond. You should consider whether the stressful situation is going to be important in a week, or a month or a year. If it is going to be important, then take a moment to step back and get away from the situation to an extend. View yourself from the outside instead of from inside of your own head, as this can help you to detach from the situation emotionally, allowing you to engage more with the moment at hand and it will give you more clarity. This isn’t to say that you should always detach from situations at an emotional level, but sometimes it can be helpful to take a moment to just digest the situation instead of jumping in with an instant reaction.
9. Listen to Your Body
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘your body is a temple’ so many times by now, but it really is true. As we’ve already mentioned, things like sleep and exercise can have a huge impact on your stress levels and wellbeing as a whole. Similarly, prioritizing your general health is also important. Make sure that you are listening to what your body needs when it comes to diet, keeping a balanced diet full of plenty of healthy nutrients. Similarly, if your body is telling you that it’s time to slow down and breathe, listen to it.
It’s easy to start berating yourself when times are stressful. We all have times when we blame ourselves for things that are happening around us, even if it’s not our fault. Instead of being unkind to yourself though, take a moment to realize the things that you are doing well. If you are finding that your stressful situation isn’t helping your self esteem, give yourself a moment to applaud yourself for the things you’re doing right. Being unkind to yourself in a stressful situation is only going to stress you out more.
This is an excerpt from an article that explains the entire concept of mindfulness to reduce stress. Read the full article at PersonalDevelopFit.com
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