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Stress and Anxiety Techniques Series- Stress Reduction Techniques





 

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” – Winnie the Pooh


There are many ways to reduce the stress you deal with every day. Many will only take a few minutes of your time. Others need to be incorporated over time as a daily habit.


First, you'll want to define what's causing the stress and if it’s something you can change easily, do it. If not, find ways to make it less intimidating and easier to deal with positively.


Once you’ve determined the biggest causes of stress and dealt with it, you may still have some small, daily stresses to cope with. Use a few of the techniques below to help you balance your stress situations better.


  • Make a plan. To reduce stress, you'll need to plan on making changes. That plan should include mindfulness in every step. Planning helps you form habits to create change. Plan to have fun, to make life easier and to change what's causing you stress.


  • Take care of your body. Find time to exercise and eat healthy meals and snacks. Exercise does wonders for reviving a stressed body. Get moving to work out those tense muscles and lift your mood. When we exercise our body releases Endorphins that relieve tension and lift your spirits.


  • Learn how to eat a healthy diet. Protein, veggies and fruits, and whole grains are the starting points to a healthy diet. Try peanut butter and banana sandwiches, chicken or tuna salad on lettuce leaves or whole grain bread. Bring a few cut up veggies or fruit slices to your desk while you work or to the park with the kids.


  • Stay away from the caffeine and sugar! It is only a temporary lift and you'll fall faster when the effects wear off.


  • Take care of your emotions. Express yourself, don't bottle up what's bugging you. Call a friend when you’re feeling stressed or need to get something off your chest. They’re good listeners and won't judge you.


  • Get help. Whether you need a professional healer or doctor, a spiritual guide, or a friendly coach, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of maturity that you can ask for help.


  • Try to find time every day to reflect. Set aside five or 10 minutes every morning before you start your day to reflect on what's really important. Choose actions that suit your needs and lifestyle. Meditate, journal, pray, walk in nature. Don't try something that feels uncomfortable for you if that causes you more stress.


  • At least every couple of hours get up from your computer or walk away from your stress for a few minutes. If you set aside 5 minutes every couple of hours to relax, you will have more than 15 minutes of calmness in your day.


  • Create a to-do list but don’t overfill it. Your mind needs something to focus on especially if you tend to blow things out of proportion.


  • Re-think your goals. Decluttering allows you to live a simpler less stress life. This includes our goals. But we sometimes set too many goals. We tend to clutter up our future. Random or scattered plans and goals will stress and cause you to feel anxious. Set clear goals about what’s profoundly important to you. Rethink your goals, prioritize, and pare them down to keep from scattering your energy.


  • Schedule free time to do nothing. Get out of your head and just be. Sit, breathe and be at peace with nothing.


  • Decrease your budget. Or set up a budget if you don’t already have one. Go through all your monthly bills and debts. Knowing where your money is going and what can be done away with (think unused gym memberships or magazine subscriptions), helps you reduce the stress of financial worries.


Implement these stress reduction techniques while being mindful and focusing on the now to begin feeling less anxious and stressed.


Using Mindfulness


  • Mindfulness is key in being aware of what’s causing you stress. Follow these tips to help you focus on being in the now and developing your mindset to embrace stress.


  • Be grateful every day. Schedule a regular time every day to write down 5 things you are grateful for. Don’t just list the same five things every day, though. Find little things such as the butterfly that landed on your shoulder or the smile from stranger.


  • Be mindful of the things around you. When you know you are feeling stressed, bring yourself back into the present moment. Take a deep breath, block out what is going on (unless you’re driving) and reset your emotions. Choose to be calm.


  • Take time to turn off. In the past, people would spend the evening hours relaxing without cell phones, televisions and constant being available to social media. Take at least an hour before bedtime to turn off electronic devices like your cell phone, computer, and television. Stay off social media.


  • Reset your mindset by viewing it as an opportunity to learn and grow from it. Ask yourself what you can learn from this challenge. Stress leaves an imprint on your mind that gets you ready to handle similar stress in the future.


  • Write down what’s causing the stress and find an appropriate solution. Getting what’s worrying you down on paper can help you see a different perspective.


  • Do some self-reflection meditation. If you think meditation is just for yoga class or new-age aficionados. It’s a healthy habit for everyone. Find a quiet space and start deep breathing. Clear your mind so you can self-reflect on calm and happy memories and things you’re thankful for.


  • Observe your own thoughts. Typically, we react to stress with habitual thought patterns that aren’t useful or productive. They lead to anxiety. Instead when you are stress, observe your thoughts. What thoughts do you have when you’re stressed? Does past things come up? Are you worried about the future? Instead of thinking how anxious you are, acknowledge that you have anxiety and take steps to get it under control.