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7 Practical Steps to Combat Stress

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How many times have you heard someone proclaim, “The doctor says it’s stress.”? 

We occasionally laugh it off, concluding that’s just what doctors say when they don’t know the real answer or diagnosis. The truth is that too much stress plays a role in many diseases, relationship breakdowns and is a large barrier in our pursuit of happiness.

We’ve put together seven practical tips to combat stress that you can integrate into your daily life without a massive effort. 

1. Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule.

You will be much better at dealing with stress if you manage your work, relationships, and other activities well. When you are in control, you are more likely to remain focused and calm. Plan your time wisely. 

Leave room for unexpected events, both negative and positive. Be adaptable when rearranging your schedule. Get up 15 minutes early. Allow another 15 minutes to get to all appointments so you’re not rushing. 

Avoid postponing important or urgent tasks… like Nike says “Just Do It”, do it right now. Get uncomfortable tasks done early so you don't have to worry about the rest of the day. Keep an appointment or a log book. Don't just trust your memory. 

Complete your tasks in steps or stages. Focus on the present moment, whether it's the person speaking to you or the job in question. This helps you avoid mistakes, which leads to more tension and anxiety. Learn to be patient, anxiety caused by impatience can increase your blood pressure. 

Say "no" to requests that you aren’t sure you can fulfill. You need to remember that you don't have to do everything yourself, you can delegate trivial jobs or break a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with the right skills.

2. Embrace Laughter

“They say “laughter is good for the soul”, so embrace laughing hard and loud. It is also great for the body as it releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system. There is nothing more healing than having a solid belly laugh after a hard day! 

If you don’t have a sense of humor, find someone else who has. You could watch YouTube videos of awkward animals or stream the latest comedy series on Netflix or similar. Tickets to a small comedy show are relatively inexpensive, or you could invest in a humorous game to play at your next dinner party - laughing with friends and family is a great bonding experience. 

3. Get Physically Active

Strive and get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking, swimming or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you’re interested in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor. Working out also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body. Do not result to excessive exercise, however, as this may have an adverse effect and might cause more depression.

4. Create Support Systems

You’ll be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting with friends), have considerably low levels of stress in their lives?

Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who continually put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Invite a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.

Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Slow down your standards – for yourself and others. Don’t expect too much. Perfectionism is not the means to happiness. Become more flexible and adaptable to your environment. Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions. Repeat instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save lots of time later rectifying out misunderstandings. Be honest in your dealings with others. Lying and cheating leads to stress.

5. Learn Deep Breathing Techniques

Calm down your muscles, escalating your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Do it again several times. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing to you. 

We like to make use of this yoga technique: 

  • Inhale slowly, counting to eight. 

  • Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen. 

  • Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and focus on feeling tension dissolve. 

Repeat 10 times - or as many times as you may need!

6. Eat Healthily & Regularly

Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Get time out to eat heartily no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks to the office, job site or even heading to the shopping Centre (so you can avoid impulse buying those fried foods staring at you on your next lunch break). 

A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress. Avoid excess caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugary foods, which can worsen symptoms of stress.

7. Practice Active Optimism

Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Take time out of your day to be mindful of the positives of the day. Remind yourself that today the sun will go down, tomorrow is a brand-new day full of endless possibilities.

You may feel overwhelmed in the mornings and feel that this is how you will feel the rest of the day. This isn’t correct. No one can predict the future with 100 percent accuracy. Even if the thing that you feared does happen there are circumstances and factors that you can’t predict which can be used to your advantage. 

Recognising that many other people are living in worse conditions than you are, will help you to avoid exaggerating the complexity of your problems. Every problem has a solution, all you need to do is find that solution. The team at TMR Recruitment understand the importance of good #mentalhealth support and finding the right solutions.

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