Tips for Reducing Your Stress and Anxiety in 2020
“Tips for reducing stress” is one of the top searches in the week before and after NYE. We know that stress can cause irritability, tension, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, anger, or frustration, even to the extreme of withdrawal. If reducing stress is one of your (or your client’s) goals for 2020, here are some simple steps you can start today.
Accept That You Cannot Control Everything
There are many things in life we can’t control—everything from tiny annoyances to tragedies. We can’t control what others think, say or do. We can’t control what others think of us. We can’t control who our loved ones hang out with. We can’t control who we work with or who’s in charge. We can’t control Mother Nature or today’s traffic. But we can control our reactions to all the things we can’t control.
Be Assertive Instead of Aggressive
There are three types of communication: passive, aggressive, and assertive.
In every conversation, our communication style either makes it easier or harder for the other person to understand what we mean. With assertive communication, you’re acknowledging the other person’s feelings and desires, while openly sharing yours and trying to find the best solution for the situation. This communication style equates to very little stress.
Learn and Practice Relaxation Techniques
Slowing down and resetting your brain during a stressful or jam-packed day can translate into a better ability to focus on what you need to do next without any distractions. As little as 15 minutes of mindful reflection on your body, lifestyle and mental state can have significant benefits on your well being and health. Mindfulness enhances (and supports) your emotional intelligence, increases your overall feelings of well-being
Your Body can Fight Stress Better When You Exercise Regularly
Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins. Regular physical activity can improve quality of life and relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and depression. You may notice a “feel good” sensation immediately following your workout and also see an improvement in overall well-being over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of your life.
Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet
A well-balanced diet and good nutrition is key for reducing stress. When our bodies are poorly fed, stress takes an even greater toll on our health. When we eat an unhealthy diet, we may experience short-term and long-term consequences. We may feel less energetic, and this lack of energy can affect our productivity and stress levels. We may be less able to fight off sickness, and this poor health can affect our quality of life and our stress levels. We may be short-tempered or overly-emotional, and this can affect our relationships and our stress levels.
Manage Your Time Effectively
Time is your most precious resource. It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value. The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you spend it will begin to improve your personal time management and increase productivity immediately.
Learn to Say, “No.”
Many of us struggle to say no, fearing rejection, anger or just the uncertainty of what the other person’s response will be. Our people-pleasing is often rooted in childhood. But saying no doesn’t mean that you are being rude, selfish, or unkind. These are all unhelpful beliefs that make it hard to say no. If your life is so tightly packed with other people’s requests that you don’t have time for what really matters to you – or worse, your mental health is at risk – it is time to make a change.
Invest in Hobbies and Interests
While adding an activity to your list of things to do might seem like it could create more stress, I’ve found that it is actually a great outlet for releasing stress. When you focus on a non-work-related task and you are able to get into the flow of it, all of your stress seems to fade away.
Get Enough Rest and Sleep
If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. As a result, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those hormones The next day, you feel more stressed, the following night you find it harder to fall asleep, and so on. Even worse, stress hormones peak in the afternoon and early evening—just when you should be relaxing and preparing for slumber.
Don’t Rely on Alcohol, Drugs, or Compulsive Behaviors
Some individuals, when stressed, pick up certain behaviors, such as nervous habits. This might include such things as nail-biting, pacing, and hair-pulling. Others may turn to drugs or alcohol to help ease symptoms of stress. Although this outlet provides temporary relief, allowing the person to forget about the stressful situation for a short period of time, it ultimately becomes destructive. This substance use, which may begin as casual use, has the potential to lead to addiction.
Spend Time with Those You Enjoy
Often people expect others to reach out to them and then feel rejected when people don’t go out of their way to do so. To get the most out of your social relationships, you have to make an effort. Make time for friends and family. Reach out to lend a hand or just say hello. If you’re there for others, they’ll be more likely to be there for you.
Seek Treatment with a Certified Stress Management Coach to Learn Healthy Ways of Coping with Stress
At the Spencer Institute, we provide the quality education and support you need, so you can earn your training, coaching, or specialist certification with confidence.