Life these days can seem to move at breakneck speeds. We are constantly bombarded by information and technological advancements and we’re expected to utilize this instant technology to stay connected and on our toes, always ready for the next tidbit of communication from our friends, bosses, or family. Multitasking can be relentless and oftentimes stressful to manage. Learning to identify your life’s stressors and implement solutions is one of the keys to reducing your stress levels. Here are several positive strategies to to help you manage those times when you feel your stress level start to spiral out of control.
Emergency stress-stoppers are immediate actions you can take when encountering stressful situations. If it’s helpful, write these down on a list and keep it with you in your car, purse, or wallet. When you are driving anywhere and hit a red light, take a glance at this list and try to remember a few stress-stoppers to employ next time you feel overwhelmed.
- Take ten deep breaths where you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Regulating your breath has an instant and direct impact on your state of being and increases feelings of calmness.
- Count to ten before you respond to someone whether through email, telephone, or in person. This can help you refrain from reacting emotionally and exercise better judgment when something or someone catches you off-guard. Count slowly and deliberately and allow the seconds to pass.
- Ask for five minutes. It’s difficult to remember that you can ask people for time. Not everyone needs an immediate response. It’s okay to say that you will get back to someone, just be sure to follow-up. This allows you to move through your first emotional reaction and into a capacity where you are able to feel more logical and intentional about your actions. This is similar to counting to ten but allows a little more depth to your response time.
- Set your clocks five minutes ahead. No one likes to be late and it’s a horrible feeling running late to an appointment, a meeting, when attending an event. To aid in avoiding the stress of being late, set your clocks to five minutes ahead and if you get places early, that’s a perfect time to work on taking ten deep breathes. Who knows, it might just get you places on time!
- Smile! It can sound difficult when you don’t feel like it but it can actually be surprisingly effective in changing your mood, especially when you are interacting with others. Others reflect back to you what they see and it sure is a lot nicer to look at a smiling and inviting person than someone who looks miserable and grumpy.
Life’s stressors won’t ever completely disappear. But if you can learn to manage your stress levels better you can increase your ability to deal with life’s challenges. Oftentimes it can be helpful to seek support or advice from family and friends about what stress-relief techniques they use. Consider starting a daily or weekly practice of yoga, massage, or walks in nature to maintain a mindfulness of life’s joys.