17 quick ideas to help you beat stress

We all need a little stress from time to time. It helps to get us motivated and focus on what really matters. However, too much stress can lead to serious physical, mental and emotional health problems. 

Managing stress is crucial. If you let the things that cause stress and anxiety overtake your daily life, things are likely to get worse. And stress-induced physical symptoms are an important concern for us all. 

Here are 17 quick, helpful tips for managing stress.

Trethowans
Trethowans

1) Watch what you consume 

Some of our internal stress is caused by the things that we eat and drink. As. general rule, try to cut back on caffeine and pay attention to what you consume every day. Doing this can play a part in helping you feel more relaxed and feel better about yourself. 

2) Contemplate

Another way to reduce stress is by sitting in quiet contemplation – even just for a few minutes or so. It’s something you can do anywhere, at any time.

Contemplating what you have to be grateful about can help to take your mind off of the things that were bothering you, and helps you to be thankful for what you have, rather than dwelling on what you don’t.

3) Think before you act

Sometimes when we’re extremely stressed, we may say or do things that we regret later on. When we’re in the heat of the moment, emotion sometimes takes over. To prevent this, take time out. Take a few deep breaths and count to ten before you respond to the situation. 

Taking time to calm down will help you look at things logically and come up with a practical solution for the issue at hand. 

4) Meditate

Meditation is a very popular way to reduce stress. There are different methods and lengths of time for different types of meditation. Even meditating a few minutes a day can be beneficial. It lets you concentrate on positive things and helps take your mind off your worries and stressors for a while.

Don’t fancy meditation? Why not try mindfulness. Here are seven steps to get you started.

5) Do something that makes you feel good about yourself

Sometimes our worries about our own self-image can cause stress. If you’re unhappy with the way you look, it’s time to do something about it.

Find the thing that makes you happy or feel good about yourself and prioritise it. It can be as simple as washing your hair, shaving your legs, applying fake tan or painting your nails.

Or you can invest in a new hairstyle, dye your hair, or finally start eating healthy or getting regular exercise. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you feel that you look better – and feel better about yourself as a result.

6) Examine the sources of your stress

Stress can come from the most unexpected places. Even the things we enjoy in our free time can be stressful at times. For example, if you enjoy playing video games, but spend most of your free time playing them, that could cause you undue stress.

It can be a fun activity, but some people overdo it. They sacrifice food, sleep and other necessities for their hobby. Limit yourself to a certain number of hours per day or week that you play video games so that you allow enough time for rest.

Getting a good night’s sleep will help heal your body and your mind. A quick cat nap on the weekend can also work wonders.

7) Evaluate your diet 

Many people who lead active lives don’t always watch to make sure they’re eating healthy foods. They may opt for fast food or sweet sugary snacks that are high in calories. These foods may taste good, but they can often leave you feeling rather sluggish afterward. 

Take some time to review your diet. Replacing processed foods and snacks with fruits, vegetables, and other healthy alternatives can help you regain your energy.

It’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough of the 10 essential nutrients you need. Magnesium, in particular, plays a critical role in our stress levels.

8) Try a nice cup of tea

Another way to relieve stress is by having a warm cup of tea. There are many blends including kava kava, chamomile, passionflower and others that taste great and take your mind off of the rigors of your daily routine. 

Having a cup of tea either before you go to bed at night or after you wake up in the morning can help melt your worries away. You should steep your tea for at least 10-15 minutes each time so that you get the most effort from the tea leaves. 

9) Take up martial arts

If you want a healthy activity, but don’t like running or going to the gym, consider martial arts. They provide a good workout and often require good mental and physical stamina. 

There may be days when you want to lash out against a particular person who’s been causing you the most stress. While this may help you feel better, such actions can have serious consequences. Practicing martial arts can help you take that anger and frustration out in a productive way. 

10) Get some rest

One of the most important ways to reduce stress is by getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep is something you have to make time for, just like work, school, and other obligations. Getting enough rest will help you recharge overnight. 

You’ll wake up alert and refreshed. Even taking a quick nap when you have some at home can help when you’ve had a lot of things to do.

If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, here are eight practical tips you’ll find helpful.

11) Write about it

Most of us need some sort of creative outlet in our lives. One way that you can identify the causes of stress and find ways to resolve issues is by writing about it. You can document your days in a journal or blog, or write a few stories or poems about things that have been going on. 

Putting everything down on paper or on your computer can show you what’s causing you to feel stressed. You can see right in front of you what’s been bothering you, and you can work on ways to reduce stress or eliminate the problem entirely. 

12) Adopt a pet

Owning a pet is a wonderful stress reliever. Pets teach us about caring and compassion. They give back just as much love as they receive. Spending time with pets helps lower blood pressure and reduce stress almost instantly.

Owning a dog, cat, bird, fish, hamsters, lizard or another animal can really help you concentrate on what’s really important in life.

13) Learn to say “no” 

One common reason why many people feel stressed more and more often is that they have a hard time saying “no.” They get so used to helping others that they forget to make time for themselves. 

Before long, their responsibilities are overwhelming. That’s why it’s okay to say “no.” You don’t need to be responsible for everything and everyone. Taking care of yourself means saying “no” to other people’s requests more often so that you can say “yes” to living a happier life.

Find it hard to say “no”? Here’s some advice that will make it easier.

14) Fight stress proactively

Too many of us let stress control our lives. We sit back and wonder where everything went wrong. We feel helpless to control or change the situation and resulting symptoms such as adrenal fatigue don’t make things easier.

No matter how down you may feel, you have to fight. Fight for you and the people you care about. Fight for what really matters. 

Take a stand, and be proactive when faced with stressful situations. Look at things realistically and choose a course of action. 

Knowing that you have a choice will make most of the things you stress about seem less important. As the old saying goes, don’t sweat the small stuff and it’s usually almost all small stuff, anyway. 

15) Take things one step at a time

When faced with a complex project, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. An easy way to overcome this is to take things one step at a time. Start at the beginning, and plot your course. 

Look at the timeline, and start to break the problem down into smaller, more manageable chunks. Set a timeline for how many things you can accomplish each day or week. Before you know it, you’ll have finished the project on time. 

If you’re really struggling to get started, we recommend using Focus Blocks. They help you focus on the task at hand, tune out distractions and achieve a LOT in just 90 minutes.

16) Smile! 

You probably know that it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. The muscles that make you smile are part of the limbic system, which is part of the emotional section of your brain. 

Smiling more often helps to put those muscles in a more relaxed state. Try smiling at someone every day. You’ll improve the mood of yourself and others around you. 

17) Practice good posture 

People who feel stressed or unhappy tend to slouch more and generally have poor posture. This helps to reduce the amount of oxygen going to your brain. Standing and sitting up straight will help to improve the oxygen flow and put less strain on your joints and muscles. It can help you feel better mentally.

Stress is inevitable. There are always going to be people or certain situations that upset our happy balance. The important thing to keep in mind is not to let stress overtake your life. Bad things happen, but there are also plenty of good things that happen all the time. 

Find something that works for you – and use it

Learning how to identify and manage stress can help you change your outlook and focus on the positive.

Hopefully, this guide can help you deal with the things that stress you out the most. Finding ways to tackle those problems will make things better for you and the people in your life.

Photo by Brooke Cagle