On a daily basis, we face numerous stressors at work, school, and in our personal lives. While most of the time we’re able to handle stressful situations with ease and move on to the next challenge, when stress becomes prolonged and constant, it starts having negative effects on our mental and physical health. In this article, we will explore four simple techniques individuals can explore to keep stress in check and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Understand Your Triggers
Triggers are situations or thoughts that make us feel stressed. For instance, if money is tight, we find ourselves worrying about paying bills on time, affording necessities, and more. Similarly, a stressful work environment can make each day seem like a chore, and make us feel tense and aimless.
While each individual’s triggers are unique, there are always actionable steps one can take to address them, such as:
- Creating a budget and finding ways to cut back on expenses, save up for necessities and repay debts faster.
- Making a career switch, which can involve experimenting with freelancing, which allows one to set their schedule, choose clients and develop a better work-life balance.
But, there can be times when finding solutions to stressors can be a challenge. For instance, losing a loved one can be a difficult experience to deal with. And if you’re struggling with coming to terms with the loss, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or professionals for help.
Visualization is a meditation technique that involves thinking about the outcome of a task before undertaking it. The goal is to think of the best case outcomes for all scenarios and train your mind to approach challenges with positivity. As reported by Headspace, this is a common technique used by professional athletes to prepare themselves for the stressful experience of participating in competitions. Not only does visualization help keep stress in check, but allows athletes to outperform their competition. Additionally, individuals who regularly practice visualization experience higher levels of confidence, and lower levels of stress and depression.
If you’ve never practiced visualization before, there are numerous mobile applications on the market that you can try for free. The best way to practice visualization is to create a calm, safe space in your home and follow the instructions from the app while focusing on your breathing.
Create a Stress-Free Home and Office
While it is hard to control stressors in the outside world, home is a space that can be curated as per our needs and keep stressors at bay. Here are a few ways to create a positive home environment:
- Declutter: As reported by Everyday Health, living in a clutter-free space helps individuals experience positive moods, lower stress, and improve productivity. The easiest way to declutter the space is to get rid of all excess items such as furniture, utensils, decorations, and other belongings. Depending on their condition, belongings can be sold, donated, or discarded in the trash.
- Bring Nature Indoors: Adding plants around the home will promote the flow of positive energy and help keep stress in check. Some of the best plants to consider include snake plants, aloe vera, pothos, and peace lily.
- Address Your Office: If you work from home, there are steps you can take to reduce stress in your office. Replace outdated technology, store papers and supplies, and adjust your lighting to get the right amount of light.
Undertake Artistic Activities
In a recent study by the Sage Neuroscience Center, researchers tracked cortisol levels of participants before and after engaging in art. The study found that 75% of individuals experienced lower levels of cortisol after just 45 minutes of artistic activities, such as drawing, painting, and other forms of craft. One of the main reasons for this positive finding is that engaging in art leads to mindfulness, helping individuals disassociate from stressors and enter a calm state of mind.
Individuals struggling to keep stress in check can start practicing art as a hobby for at least an hour a day. This can involve buying coloring books, creating paintings and pottery, starting a creative journal, designing jewelry, or any other type of artistic activity that you enjoy doing.
While it isn’t possible to completely remove stress from your life, by being mindful of triggers and engaging in relaxation activities, you can steer clear of stressful situations and experience the benefits of positive thinking.
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