We are a stressed out generation. Studies show that 53% of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress, such as fatigue, stomach problems, or other health related problems.
Top stressors (in no particular order)
Broken or damaged relationships
Death or illness of a loved one
You can take positive action prevent some stressors – for example, getting on top of your finances or forming healthy habits, but many stressors are beyond your control. There’s not much you can do about the world economy, and the death or illness of a loved one is completely outside your control.
There are some actions you can take to bring some calm into your life. When any of the stressors gets into the red area on your control gauge, it’s time to take action. If not, your health, relationships, and energy levels can suffer.
TEN simple things that alleviate stress:
1 - Meditation – This daily habit is my number one stress reliever. There are great apps for meditation such as Calm. Sitting quietly, listening to soft music, journaling or praying serve the purpose of quieting your mind and soothing your soul. As little as five, ten or fifteen minutes can do wonders!
2 - Balanced sleep – Nothing says stress like fatigue. Cutting short those important renewal hours will make you more emotional, unreasonable, or grouchy. On the other extreme, excess sleep tends to make you feel sluggish. If you’re suffering from insomnia, try (1) a regular bedtime and rising time, (2) limited stimuli an hour before bedtime – no electronics including phone and television (3) no caffeine up to six hours before bedtime and (4) no vigorous exercise an hour before bedtime (don’t go to the gym and then come home and try to go to sleep!) If you’re still having trouble sleeping, you may want to see a doctor.
3 - Eat right – Junk food, fast food, or “comfort food” may satisfy, but don’t fuel our bodies properly. A balanced diet including fruits, veggies, and lean proteins will make our bodies and BRAINS function better.
4 - Water – Sodas, juices loaded with sugar, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages don’t do for our bodies what water can do. Caffeine and alcohol can actually pull water from your body. Don’t wait until you feel thirst. Thirst is often a sign that we’re on the way to dehydration.
5 - Exercise – Even simply walking 30 minutes will rejuvenate our bodies, give us as much energy as a nap, and release endorphins that are mood lifters.
6 - Sunshine – Studies have shown that lack of sunshine can lead to depression. Getting outside on a sunny day is a mood lifter! Combine the sunshine with exercise for a double whammy!
7 - Get a-way – A few days away, leaving major responsibilities aside, can do wonders for alleviating stress. If money prohibits an out of town stay, try a “stay-cation,” visiting a local museum, zoo, library, or taking a break from regular responsibilities.
8 - Journal – Writing down thoughts, dreams, goals, and feelings can clarify issues and be therapeutic. A pro-con list for decisions, a “get to the root of the problem” exercise for issues you’re facing, or writing a letter (that may or may not get delivered) are also good ideas for using writing as a stress release. A word of caution: Any letters written with great emotion are best “slept on” for 24 hours before delivered!
9 - Get rid of clutter – Physical clutter often is symptomatic of “emotional clutter.” There are other kinds of clutter as well. Is your calendar too cluttered? Do you need to say “no” to some activities? From cleaning out the garage to cleaning out calendar appointments, getting rid of clutter can make you feel more relaxed.
10 - Laugh – Funny movies & videos, playing games, hanging out with friends. Laughter has been proven over and over to be good for us!