There’s always something else to do. It’s one other thing you’ve forgotten about or left undone. Or, at least, it can feel that way at times. We get involved in our own world and all too often lose perspective. Stress is a part of our existence, but that doesn’t mean that it has to rule your life. It’s also not a particularly healthy plan to avoid all stress.
The Truth About Stress
Stress isn’t 100% bad. There are positive aspects to stress and how it’s helped humankind throughout our existence. Stress made sure that there was food to eat, it made sure that people were more careful when doing dangerous things, and overall, it just helped keep people in check before society offered its own pressures. The problem comes when people lose their ability to cope with stress.
Now, that isn’t to say that you should just willy-nilly take on every stressful thing you can think of. Excessive stress takes a toll on hair, skin, your mind — really just every major system in your body. It’s a combination approach. In some areas it will be worth it to find ways to cut out stress. In others, the stress is unavoidable. Thus, coping mechanisms come into play here. So just how can you effectively reduce your stress?
1. Mindfulness and Meditation
Psychology Today describes mindfulness as “a state of active, open attention on the present.” It’s effectively shutting down the higher functions of the brain that focus on the future, or analyzing the past. Mindfulness is a “practice,” much like yoga and martial arts. Without consistent practice, the skills fade.
There are guided and unguided options that you can find online. For instance, Headspace is a great option for this, and they have a free trial!
2. Deep Breathing
This is a form of meditation, but here we’re just focusing on it as a go-to technique, whereas mindfulness and meditation are more of prepared “practices.” Whereas they are proactive, deep breathing can be used reactively for situations that you don’t expect.
There are many different versions of this. Some people swear by taking deep breaths as they count backwards from ten. Another method is to take in a deep breath, count to five, then exhale it. Repeat this as needed, but you should notice a difference in less than a minute!
3. Get More Exercise
Exercise is a natural fix for many issues, including minor anxiety, stress, and anything else along those lines. There are other aspects of this that make it even better. For instance, when exercising, you’re usually outside or in a group, maybe even surrounded by others. In these cases, it’s still helpful because you are getting secondary benefits as well as the primary. Exercise produces endorphins and, over time, will lower your blood pressure. Find something you enjoy and stick with it.
4. Keep a Stress Diary
You wouldn’t believe how simply getting your anxious thoughts down on paper can change your life. It’s more effective if done with pen and paper, but don’t let that get in your way.
One of the great aspects of this tip is that you can go back and review what you’ve written. Over time, you can see if what you’ve been doing has been lowering or increasing your stress level. As humans, we’re usually bad at keeping that sort of data in our heads. Usually, we end up letting an impression act as our belief of reality — not reality itself, but merely our perception. So give it a try and see how it changes your life for the better.
Taking Care of Stress Now Saves You Later
Some people see the effort involved in stress relief and turn away from it. The truth is, however, that you will be dealing with stress at some point. The best time to start is now. If you wait, the damage will likely be done. And whereas you can always color your hair or use PRP Therapy to boost and rejuvenate your skin, taking the time on the front end to learn about reducing your stress can make all the difference in the world.