Have you ever felt like stress held you back?
Like maybe you were so stressed out, that you couldn’t do what you wanted to do, you couldn’t reach the goals you wanted to reach, that you couldn’t have the relationships that you wanted to have?
That is completely normal.
Stress is caused by feeling pressure, by feeling overwhelmed.
It can be caused by putting too much on your plate, or by constantly having something in your face.
Stress is killing us.
It kills our relationships, it kills our spirit, and it kills our health.
Stress and Health
Stress can constrict our blood vessels, which causes stress on how the body operates and can cause high blood pressure among other health ailments.
Your physical health and your mental health have EVERYTHING to do with one another.
When you improve one area, you improve both areas.
If you are stressing out, it is going to put stress on you physically, causing all kinds of health issues.
Besides high blood pressure, stress can cause the following physical reactions in your body, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Digestive problems like IBS or GERD
- Heart disease
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain
- Memory and concentration impairment
In short, stress is bad and it can come in like a wrecking ball and wreck your body and mind.
So let’s do something to manage it better so we can LIVE better!
10 Ways to Manage Your Stress Levels
1. Take a Break!
You are feeling overwhelmed, you feel pressure, you have something constantly in your face.
So take a break.
Sometimes you just need a day to relax.
Lay off social media and news as much.
This is important because if you see people stressing on social media, that stress is going to become contagious and you will feel it!
If it’s work you are stressed out at, take a break! Re-evaluate.
Can you make a new plan? Can you schedule different projects to work on at another time?
If a project is stressing you out, take a break, come back to it a little later when you are feeling better.
Because your mind will be clearer and you will be able to work with more clarity.
Take a Coronavirus Break!!!!!
With the current situation, everybody is in a constant state of stress. So this step is the most important piece of advice I can give in relation to the virus. YOU NEED A BREAK!
Everyone is glued to social media right now. They are checking every resource they possibly can on the subject.
Unfortunately, this is adding to your stress!!!
Sometimes when you overwhelm yourself like that, and have it constantly in your face, you are going to give yourself anxiety, and stress yourself out, to where you can barely function. There is such a thing as information overload!
Especially when most of the information you are seeing is negative.
So take a break. Take a day away.
ONLY look at resources that are FACTS, and not information on what people perceive other people are doing. Which means don’t look at the news. Don’t look at what friends are saying.
Just go to the CDC website and find your information on there. You don’t even have to do it everyday. Do it every other day. Do it a couple times a week.
It is not necessary while being under quarantine to look at the information every single day, every single hour. It’s not going to be any different than the information you will receive tomorrow! So it can wait.
So take a break.
2 You are Stressing Yourself Out
This one is going to hit you where it hurts, but it needs to be said.
Circumstances don’t stress you out. People don’t stress you out. Problems don’t stress you out.
You stress you out.
You have conditioned yourself to get stressed in certain situations. To where this is now a habit.
How you react to things is because you conditioned yourself to do that!
You ever noticed how others can be in the exact same situation as you are but seem to not stress as much?
It’s because they realized stressing wouldn’t help any, so they conditioned themselves to react differently!
Look at it a different way. Change your habit of getting stressed out when bad things happen or when you feel overwhelmed.
Instead of getting stressed, look at every tough situation as a learning experience.
Look at it as a challenge that you are going to DOMINATE.
If you fail at something, so what? What’s the worst that’s going to happen?
But you need to understand that you being stressed out is because you do that to yourself.
Change your habit of automatically feeling doomed and overwhelmed at challenges. Start making little habits. Treat overwhelm and uncertainty in different ways than getting stressed by it.
Plus, look at it this way: What is stress going to do? It’s going to kill you.
Is trying a new way of reacting and thinking going to be better than that? Heck yeah!!!
3. Better Yourself
When you are stressed, look towards trying to be better.
Try to be a better person, learn new skills that you lack, try to improve yourself.
Eat better and be more active.
Concentrating on yourself to learn the skills you lack and improve yourself will focus your mind in a more positive light because you have something you can control.
Which will help you be able to manage your stress so much better.
4. Change Your Physical Reactions
You remember when I said your body and mind are connected, and what makes one stronger, makes the other one stronger?
This is because your brain won’t know the difference if one area is stronger, so it will just generally know you are stronger!
So when you get stressed, you should exercise! When your body is physically stronger, your mind is mentally stronger.
Also when you exercise, you will get out a lot of that adrenaline that you had release in your body due to the stress.
So your body will physically calm down, which means your mind will calm down.
Do breathing exercises to calm down your physical state. This will help a TON.
Here is what I do:
- Close your eyes
- Breathe in through your nose over the course of 7 seconds.
- Hold your breath for about 5-7 seconds.
- Breathe out through your mouth over the course of 7 seconds.
- During the breathing, concentrate on the temperature of the air passing through.
- Repeat until your head feels clearer.
Eat nutritious foods. If you aren’t fueling your body with the right nutrients, your mind is going to be all messed up.
I know when stressed, it is easy to let it consume you and make you want to eat whatever is quick, but stop yourself!
Try another way.
Meal prep so you can have healthy foods on days that are more stressful than others, that way you can have something quick to throw together on days you can’t bring yourself to cook.
So eat healthy, stand up straight and throw your shoulders back with confidence, do some breathing exercises, and get active!
Controlling your physical reactions will help you feel better mentally, and allow you to handle stress better.
5. Clean and Organize
When you wake up in the morning and the first thing you see is clutter, or you walk into the kitchen and see a mess, is that going to make you feel happy and in control the rest of the day?
If you see clutter, your mind is going to feel cluttered!
So clean, de-clutter. Make your environment a clutter free environment.
Because when you are in an environment that is clutter free, your mind will be clutter free, and you will not feel as overwhelmed.
6. Go Find Some Nature!
I talk about this in every single mental health article I write.
With good reason.
And I will continue to talk about it, because it is that important.
This is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself.
There has been study after study after study that proves that this helps your mental health.
So combine this with #1’s suggestion of taking a break!
Go outside. Go for a walk. Get that Vitamin D in you!
When you get Vitamin D, it helps your mental health!
While you are out there, look at neat clouds. You will feel more relaxed, less cluttered. Seek out beautiful things.
Heck, you can even look at the grass and say things like:
“Hey that weed looks really cool, I’ve never seen one like that before”.
You can look at a tree and think “Wow that tree is shaped so weird! I have never seen a tree that looked like a pitchfork before!”
(FYI, These are actual comments I made to my husband on our walk this week)
There is so much in nature that we take for granted when we walk past it every day.
If you stop and look at it, it will make you feel relaxed, grounded, and like there is beauty in this chaotic world.
This is such a powerful way to reduce stress and anxiety, that I highly advise to start doing this and not dismiss this step.
But please don’t look at your phone or tablet the entire time you are outside.
Look around. Seek out cool things. Seek out neat clouds. Watch a sunset.
Pictures below are actual pictures I took when I was outside just enjoying nature.
If you would like to see what others I have taken, check out my Instagram, where I periodically post my nature photos.
7. Help Someone Else
There is nothing in this world that is more important than helping others.
Even if it isn’t your thing, and you think you should just take care of yourself and your family, know that helping others will relieve your stress.
If you help someone less fortunate than you, it will ease your depression. It will ease your stress and help you focus and gain perspective.
It makes you feel like you have a purpose for being here.
When you have a purpose that is higher than yourself, all that stress and overwhelm will subside. Because you aren’t concentrating on how YOU feel anymore.
The world needs you and the people less fortunate than you need you.
This doesn’t have to be a work in the soup kitchen type of thing (although that would be great!).
It can be something as simple as giving out compliments to strangers and making their world a little brighter.
Do something nice for someone.
It can be helping someone, donating money or household items to charities, or even just sharing your time to make someone feel heard and important.
8. Watch Familiar Comedies
Pick out your favorite comedies.
Movies you have seen a hundred times and you know the ending.
When you feel your world is too much and out of control, you can feel some control again by doing this.
It makes you feel in control, because you already know the ending, so you are giving yourself certainty when everything else is uncertain and out of control.
You know the ending of the story, you know it’s going to make you laugh, and it will give you some semblance of control.
This will help manage your stress.
So have an old movie comedy night.
Turn off everything else and just sit back, relax, laugh, and be certain that you know what is going to happen.
9. Seek out Motivators!
I highly recommend to listen to motivational speakers on podcasts, youtube, blogs, read books to help manage your stress.
Anything that you can spend some time on that will help you reset your mind and think a little differently to where you don’t automatically react to things with a stress response anymore.
You do this often enough, you will feel the difference in amazing ways. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this has helped me.
I used to be an extremely stressed out person. Stressed 100% of the time. It got so bad, that my anxiety wouldn’t let me leave the house. I couldn’t even go through a drive thru, couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t even answer my phone. Because my stress turned into anxiety, and if you read My Battle to Overcoming anxiety, you know what happened next.
Listening to people who started in my position, and were able to get from where I was at to succeeding and overcoming it all, just by training to have a better mindset, was helpful to me.
It let me know I could do it too.
So get yourself a role model of someone who was where you were at, and is THRIVING now.
Listen to them, read about them. Follow them if they have a blog or is on social media.
Example of My Role Model
I am a huge Tony Robbins fan, because he started out where I was.
He had a ton of hardship, a bad childhood, and was even homeless at one point! He failed so many times and stood back up and tried again.
But look at him now. He could have retired a long time ago, but he didn’t because he wants to help as many people as he can.
He is the type of person I strive to be, so that is my role model.
I can’t recommend his programs enough because that’s how much of an impact it had on me.
If you want to learn more what he is all about and use him as a role model too, here are some resources I have used:
- If you want to start off free (well, if you have Netflix already), watch his special “I Am Not Your Guru”. Very impactful.
- I listen to his podcast, which is also free.
- I listen to his Ultimate Edge program every day when I work out, over and over again, because that’s how beneficial I found it. It’s the best selling self development course ever made.
- If you want a cheaper option, but similar style to Ultimate Edge, read his books that are available on Amazon.
Tony Robbins doesn’t have to be the role model you choose, but you should choose someone who has as much of an impact on you that Tony Robbins had on me.
10. Change Your Morning Routine
How you spend your morning is going to affect your entire day.
If you get up and the first thing you do is reach for your phone and scroll social media or the news, it will affect your day.
Because if you see a post that makes you angry or stressed, and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet, it’s going to be twice as hard to navigate your day, and handle other things coming your way.
This is because you started off your day in a stressful or angry state!
So change your morning routine to something that will relax you and motivate you.
This will help you start your day with a better mindset to be able to handle whatever is thrown your way.
Here is an Example of My Morning Routine:
I get up.
Since I have a habit of grabbing my phone (still working on breaking that!), I will grab it.
But, I look at only positive things. I don’t go on social media, I don’t look at news. I stick to positive things. Start by reading an email that looks positive. I listen to a podcast, or I check the weather. Or I might look at stats for my website.
I quit checking things that could potentially be negative and started checking things that I could get excited about. Things that I knew would give me hope and joy.
Then when I get out of bed, I get dressed and immediately go exercise.
While I exercise, I listen to Tony’s Ultimate Edge program. I listen to it over and over again because I want to beat this stuff into my head. I want to live the best life I possibly can, and listening to positivity and mindset change audios help me do that.
Then I come back inside, and take a shower.
Then I cook my breakfast, which usually consists of 2 eggs, turkey bacon or turkey sausage, and an avocado / tomatoes/ or blueberries. I drink my green tea or black tea while I either watch a tv show or read a book.
After I complete this routine, then I start my day.
The Difference in My Day
With me changing my routine to this, and then checking social media and news, when I see a normally stressful post, I am able to handle it SO MUCH BETTER.
I can’t even describe the difference. I can handle stuff at work 10x better.
Because the first reaction coming into my mind each day is relaxation, fulfillment, motivation, and happiness.
Which makes the stressful things that get thrown at me each day much more manageable.
Live Stress Free!
There are so many ways to manage your stress.
But you need to understand first that stress is not caused by anything other than how you conditioned yourself to react to things.
So knowing that, begin to change your habits, change your routine, change your reaction to things.
Treat challenges as a learning experience. Prioritize your to-do lists to allow yourself breaks.
Introduce more positivity in your life because stress is contagious!!! If you are constantly around stress, you will be stressed!
If you have positivity around, then when stress does come at you, you are able to better manage it.
Remember, when challenges come your way, it won’t last forever.
Every crisis has a turning point to where things begin to get better.
You can get through it. Because you are capable. You can do it.
So go out there and learn new things and embrace what life throws at you.
Because we don’t get stronger and more resilient by things being the same and good all the time.
It is the challenges that make us stronger. That make us more resilient.
That makes us better.