Stress is biological motivation to get you out of uncomfortable conditions. In fact any condition is only as uncomfortable as you perceive it to be. It’s that perception that causes stress. This is supposed to slap you out of lazy complacency and force you onto a successful life path. But often those successful lives just don’t seem to be available and stress persists. Stress is inevitable. So it’s important to find ways to handle stress.
Too much stress can occasionally be more debilitating than motivating. So here are 8 Techniques for handling stress.
10 Best Techniques to handle stress
Try out each of these techniques and see what works best for you. I know you’ve heard that before when you hear helpful suggestions. I get the impression people are lazy and don’t actually try most of the awesome suggestions they read and hear about. So for your own entertainment if you actually want a bit of stress relief try out these techniques.
1. Meditative Relaxation Practice
In his book, The Relaxation Response, Dr. Herbert Benson explains how stress is a constant mental state in most people. In fact this stress can be mild and barely detectable as you adjust to it as your usual state. However, this doesn’t mean you are safe from its damaging effects. We all know about the stress response. It’s the classic fight or flight reaction that compels us to take action. It’s opposite is the relaxation response. The body feels completely safe and at ease. Blood pressure and other systems aren’t overworked.
To benefit from this, Benson writes: “You will learn that evoking the Relaxation Response is extremely simple if you follow a very short set of instructions which incorporate four essential elements: (1) a quiet environment; (2) a mental device such as a word or a phrase which should be repeated in a specific fashion over and over again; (3) the adoption of a passive attitude, which is perhaps the most important of the elements; and (4) a comfortable position. Your appropriate practice of these four elements for ten to twenty minutes once or twice daily should markedly enhance your well-being.” (Benson, The Relaxation Response)
A quiet environment helps you disconnect from all the noise of life. Most people don’t even realize how noisy their environment is. The sounds of traffic, an air conditioner, the hum of various machines and fans, dogs barking, neighbors talking, etc. Various noises can annoy and stress you out without even realizing it. A truly sound proof room can be expensive, you could also invest in a pair of high quality soundproof headphones. I use my Clear Armor Safety Protection Earmuffs when I need a moment of absolute silence to myself and they are perfect.
Benson’s second suggestion is to repeat a word or phrase that helps you calm down. This is to focus on positivity and ignore everything that’s been bothering you.
Third, a passive attitude means you accept whatever you are feeling. Focus on the positive word you have chosen and any feelings that come up just allow them to exist without resisting.
And of course choose a comfortable position. This could be laying down, a typical back straight cross-legged sitting position or whatever you want.
As Benson suggests, people who spend several weeks committed to daily practice to this exercise, or at least to something very similar have shown to have enhanced wellbeing. When you constantly live and act like you are stressed out your physiology will reflect that back to you. But if you relax like life is more than perfect bliss then your body will respond accordingly. Your feelings are all in your head. Usually, they are a pretty accurate reflection of what’s going on in your environment. That’s how we’ve evolved anyway. But, you can still influence those feelings with your own behavior and thoughts.
2. Meditation To Handle Stress
Mediation in general has a positive impact on mental health. It can relieve stress help. Ambitious people who fill their schedule so full they assume it’s impossible to spare 5 minutes for a restful meditation are especially in need of a longer session.
Meditation helps you calm down and reduces stress. In the most basic form of meditation just find a comfortable position in a quiet place, take a few deep breathes and sit quietly with your thoughts.
3. Do What You Love
The biggest source of stress I ever experienced in my life was working a job I hated and didn’t actually want. Anybody who’s worked a job they hate can related to this. People who don’t enjoy their job feel like their time is being wasted. It causes a lot of stress because you don’t feel aligned with your purpose.
Of course this can be challenging when you work 10 hours a day and don’t have time for anything else but sleep. Especially since the daily stress of working a job you hate is exhausting. Take the steps to start doing something you actually care about. Develop confidence to do what you want with your life.
In his book The Education of Millionaires, Michael Ellsberg explains how many successful people quit high school or university to build business that pull in millions of dollars a year or more. He suggests that you could try something similar. If you are working a job you hate, spend your free time working on a side project until it starts to make enough money to quit your usual boring job.
4. Develop an Exercise Habit
Working out is a pretty obvious option on this list. Exercise has so many benefits for mental and physical health that you should feel bad if you neglect this part of your life.
Once you start going to the gym a few times a week it can quickly become a new habit. It shouldn’t be something you do once in a while to help you with stress.
5. Lots of Quality Sleep To Handle Stress
Here is another obvious suggestion you constantly finds stuck to on-line lists of health tips. The reason is sleep helps regulate your mental and physical energy. Without sleep you’ll be an incoherent mess and constantly make mistakes. Your mind won’t be sharp and you’ll be irritable. You’ll encounter even more stress causing problems.
If you haven’t yet, force yourself to go to bed and get up at usual times each night. Set an alarm for both going to sleep and waking up. When it’s time for bed don’t try to convince yourself to read one more page of some book or watch a little more TV. Those things will still be there when you wake up. Develop your willpower by cutting yourself off from daily addictions and get to sleep on time.
6. Stress supplements
Besides eating well multivitamins and other supplements can help keep your mind fueled with essential nutrients that keep you calm and in a good mood.
I recommend high quality fish oil, a good multivitamin, and vitamin D if you don’t get much sun. At the very least these will be good for your brain and promote wellbeing.
Another useful anti-stress supplement is Calm Now.
7. Cold showers
Cold showers have become very popular lately for stress relief and health. The Wim Hoff method also combines breathing exercises with cold exposure. Cold triggers alertness and other physiological processes mental to get you alive. Such as adrenaline production. Take a cold shower to get some of these benefits and then switch to warm water if you need to. After a few weeks you should get used to it.
Many people report relief from stress and more energy after a few weeks of cold showers.
8. Be Early to everything
When you are in a rush it triggers your stress because you are resisting reality. By making an effort to always be early to things you can avoid that stress. The minor annoyance of leaving 5 minutes early should outweigh the stress you would have felt if you left 5 minutes late.
9. Get out in Nature
Natural scenery of trees, mountains, beaches and fields all have been shown to have a positive effect on human emotions, especially when compared to exposure to city scenes. Go take a hike, go to the beach or relax in the forest.
Nature lowers cortisol, blood pressure, and pulse rate while increasing heart rate variability. Turn off your phone to avoid distractions that could potentially be even more stressful.
Enjoying the outdoors helps you to ground yourself in the present moment. Try not to worry about anything coming up in the future and just enjoy the view.
Expressing gratitude releases neurotransmitters that make you feel freaking awesome. But you shouldn’t just say “thank you” to people for the high it gives you. By thinking about other people it takes your usual selfish focus off of your self and places it on others.
You don’t even need to verbally express gratitude to someone. You could write down what you are grateful for and have the same benefits. If you are grateful for something someone has done contact them and let them know.
When you are focused only on what matters to you of course any tiny inconvenience could be stressful. But when you start being more considerate and grateful of other people you stop thinking about your own petty problems.
Use these tips to relax and handle stress. How do you handle stress? Please let us know in the comments.