Could you benefit from a few simple stress management activities?
Couldn’t we all?
Is your stress causing you to be unproductive?
Today’s guest author Carol James offers 8 ways you can easily reduce stress. The tips are simple, quick to implement, and free.
Carol even lists her stress management activities in order of difficulty from the easiest to the hardest.
I found all her tips easy to follow. You will too.
8 Effective Stress Management Activities
by Carol James
What is Stress?
According to the American Institute of Stress, there is actually no single definition of stress that everyone would agree on. Stress is a subjective feeling, what is stressful for one person may be pleasurable or have little effect on others and we all react to stress differently.
In order to have a working definition, we could, however, say this:
Stress is a subjective feeling that puts us at the mercy of our anxious self. It causes a fight-or-flee reaction in our body that in the long run is unhealthy, and that may be destructive to our mind and body.
This definition may not be perfect, but it is good enough for us.
Today’s high-speed, hard-competition society, with its incredible information overflow, causes stress in people. Burnout is an extreme syndrome of stress. We all probably know people who have gone through such a period.
If you are too stressed, your time management will suffer. Luckily there are many ways of keeping stress under control.
Stress Management Activities: How to Keep Stress Under Control
I have a 7-part approach to stress management. It consists of the following parts:
The techniques below all represent different approaches to the same thing. There is no single right or wrong way. They are all useful and you should use what works best for you.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the different approaches.
Personal productivity skills and time management are what most of this post is about. When your productivity is on a level where you know that you perform efficiently, you will experience less stress.
From here on, the stress management activities are in an ease-of-implementation order:
Physical activities and doing sports are beneficial in many ways. Physical exercise releases built-up tension. It also releases hormones that make you feel good. A fit body helps your mind stay focused and it also can handle stress longer.
Doing sports also forces you to be in the now, which makes it impossible to worry about things on your mind. This gives your mind a possibility to relax.
Journaling (writing a diary) is an excellent way of learning to know yourself better. It can also work more acutely; if something is stuck in your mind a good exercise is to write it down and just discuss the matter in your diary for 10-20 minutes. You don’t even have to come to a conclusion. Still, it will calm you down. Read more about journaling for stress relief.
Meditation may to some of you sound esoteric. Nevertheless, I recommend trying it. You may also only use a relaxation CD (or Mp3). Meditation calms down the whirlwind of thoughts in your head. The effect is immediate and done regularly, it will be even stronger. Regular meditation will result in a generally calmer you. But most of us never manage to do it regularly.
Leading a balanced life is about having more than one important thing in your life that you value highly. You should not base your identity merely on your job, income, or family because it is risky. Due to some unexpected event, you could lose your “precious” and due to your one-pillar mindset, that would make you lose your identity too. Instead, you should be living on more fronts than one. This also makes it possible to relate stressful things at, let us say work, against a richer context of things in other areas of your life. Stressful things won’t blow out of proportion.
Leading a balanced life also means that you don’t have any harmful dependencies on alcohol, drugs or let’s say food. Furthermore, it means that you sleep enough. Leading a balanced life is a broad concept, but I think you got the picture.
Conflict resolution skills are one part of social skills. Many times stress and bad feelings are a result of social situations. People problems, as they say. In order to resolve difficult social situations, you need to be able to face reality, the problem, and to lead difficult conversations. Your mindset should not be tuned for avoiding problems. To put it shortly, conflict resolution requires maturity.
Mindfulness (aka. Present Moment Awareness) is a more conscious and generic skill of living in the now. In practice, living in the now means that you are not constantly re-living moments from yesterday or 5 years back… the time you did some grand mistake in your life or some random angst you had in school. We all should stop dwelling on such things and just let go! However, present moment awareness also means that you don’t live too much in the future. It is O.K. to have dreams about your future and to enter that dream every now and then. But it is not O.K. to live a deferred life, where you are holding back on things because “one day” when you will have the perfect moment you will finally do this and that. That “one day” will probably never come, so start doing things you want to now.
By re-living bad moments from the past our body actually reacts partly in the same way that it did during the original experience. This is why you actually can feel the “stress” of uncomfortable things that happened years ago when you think about them later. Our poor bodies are not completely able to differentiate if something really happens now or if a moment is re-lived in the mind. By re-living bad moments, we create bad feelings and vibes in our bodies. This leads to increased stress.
Present moment awareness is a skill. You can learn it too.
If you feel stressed, pick a few practices from above and work on them for a while. This way you will find the ways that suit you the best.
Host blogger’s comments:
Readers, please share so other people can learn these stress management techniques and lead more productive lives.
I look forward to your answers in the comments section. How do you reduce stress? Do you know any stress management activities you can share?
Author bio: Carol James, writer, and editor at Essay Lab
I’m an academic writer at Essay Lab, a great service that provides essay writing help for people. Our objective is to simplify your high school studies and give everyone a possibility of flourishing without having excess strain.
How bloggers can reduce stress: How to Be a Better Blogger: Be a Blogging Student, 8 Ways