Whether you’re at home, the office, or at your kid’s soccer game— stressors exist everywhere, all of the time. We know that reducing stress is important, but did you know that long-term exposure to stress can lead to a variety of health issues like:
- Anxiety & Depression
- Low morale
- A short temperament
- Headaches & Stomachaches
- Back pain and more?
The US is ranked as one of the most stressed-out nations according to a 2022 Gallop report that stated over 55% of Americans experience stress on a daily basis. While it may be impossible to eliminate all of the stressors from your life, there are plenty of ways to reduce the things that stress you out the most.
Here are 5 techniques to reduce stress:
- Plan your day and prioritize your tasks: Before panicking about your long to-do list, set realistic goals and deadlines for the day. Don’t rush, and always have a backup plan in case you run into a speed bump or two along the way.
- Focus on things you can control: Break down your larger tasks into mini-tasks! Instead of tackling a larger task all at once, breaking it down into smaller tasks will make it more manageable.
- Take steps slowly: Instead of having to backtrack later, take the time to brainstorm a game plan that has the best trajectory of achieving the desired result.
- Use all available resources: Having a confidant, or a trustworthy and reliable friend to rope into your plan can help alleviate stress by delegating each other’s priorities.
- Take short breaks: When anxiety begins to set in— take a break! Get some fresh air, read a few pages of a book, or take a brisk walk. This will provide your brain with a brief pause that in turn will have you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
So, what exactly is stress? It can be defined as a state of worry or mental tension caused by a difficult situation. At its core, stress forces your brain into a fight or flight response, however not all stress equates to bad stress. Stress can be a motivator for some— helping them to perform better or it can help save your life when in response to a danger or a threat.
As an illustration, picture a bear stumbling into your campsite or a burglar breaking into your home; your pulse and breath will quicken, your muscles will tense, and your brain begins to utilize more oxygen while increasing brain activity and senses. All of these functions are aimed to better your chances of survival.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath, evaluate your plan of action, and remember there is always a way to manage the troubles that may keep you up at night.
Sources: World Health Organization, 2023 & Gallop Global Emotions, 2022