We live in a world ripe with stress factors and sometimes, regardless of how hard we try, we just can’t seem to find that elusive peace of mind. In addition to emotional problems, stress is a primary cause of health issues, such as headaches, muscle tension and pain, fatigue, stomach upsets, insomnia, eating problems and depression, among other complications.
Although many have embraced stress as an inevitable way of life, it doesn’t have to be yours. Here are six effective techniques that can help you combat stress.
Take a time-out
Studies have shown that stress levels in the workplace are rising; with 6 in 10 workers in major global economies experiencing increased workplace stress. Pressure in the workplace is a major cause of stress, and even though some of our jobs may not allow us enough time to catch a break, you should always find a chance to lean back and clear your head.
It’s a good idea to set aside at least half an hour in the middle of a busy workday to go off and listen to music, meditate or go off to a balcony and feel the refreshing breeze. A time-out, even for a few minutes, can rejuvenate your tired mind, and uplift your weak spirit.
Leave work at work
In this hyper-competitive and highly connected world, there is hardly any job that adheres to the old 9 to 5 schedule. However, taking your day job home after a long day at work is never a good idea.
If the situation utterly demands it, psychologists recommend working an extra hour or two in the office to get done what needs to be finished, rather than going home with a workload on your shoulders. Make evenings at home your time to relax and unwind.
Check your emails less
According to research conducted by scientists at the University of British Columbia, checking mail frequently can significantly heighten stress levels. The study attributes the problem to unfavorable multitasking. Checking an email when in the middle of a different, more involving task is a self-inflicting distraction that can be detrimental to productivity and encourage anxiety.
To ensure you keep your attention on a demanding project, you can create a mail-checking schedule. Instead of reaching for your phone every time you hear or feel a notification, make it a habit to routinely check email after every one or two hours, and reply in batches. This way, you can organize your workload better and avoid cognitive stress.
Take control of your environment
The people or things that surround us can have a great impact on our mood. If you’ve been consistently getting stressed, scope your home or work environment and try to identify what the cause could be. Stay away from annoying workmates and avoid stressed people, and if traffic is the cause of your anxiety, take a different route or crank up the car radio.
Brain functioning is directly influenced by the health of your entire body. Therefore, work towards a healthier lifestyle, by eating well-balanced meals, exercising daily, and limiting the use of alcohol and caffeine.
Additionally, stick to an 8-hour sleep pattern. A well-rested mind is usually less anxious and irritable. Ever had someone tell you to “sleep it off” after a bad experience? Sleep is the natural way of the mind and body to deal with both physical and emotional stress.
Talk to someone
Stress is often a personal issue, but some problems are easier to deal with when you have a helping hand. Sometimes, just explaining your situation to someone that’s willing to listen, can go a long way.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, talk to your colleagues or your boss, and let them know how they can help. And when the issue seems too intricate, seek professional help.
While you can’t always control the cause of stress, you can manage and remedy the situation. Take the tips above into consideration, and start leading a better life today