11 Strategies for Releasing Stress
Believe it or not, stress is valuable information that your body is offering. When you are able to decode, disrupt, and develop this information into something that is usable, you are more resilient to what life throws at you.
Stress is often described as a silent killer though in reality, it rarely is as quiet or subtle as it may be portrayed as. The signs are there and it is up to you to listen to your body and pay attention to them.
You can break the cycle of stress by better managing your time, resources and choices. Keep reading to gain better insight into strategies which will help you to achieve this!
1. Take Your Power Back
Stop holding everything in! Find creative outlets for expressing yourself and the feelings that you are carrying with you from moment to moment and day to day. Stop holding on to so many expectations, allow yourself to go with the flow but be assertive about the things you want and need from life.
Realize that you are in control and you are not a victim. Step into your power by accepting responsibility and making choices which will lead to new outcomes and ways of being.
2. The Key is You
The way you feel has a great deal to do with the way you think about your life and the problems you face. Stress is either a very real condition which is raising your blood pressure, clouding your judgement and making your life agonizing or it is an illusion that you created for yourself.
While both of these may be “true” in a certain sense, the key is you. If you focus on the positives of any situation, you will feel way less negative. Try to see the bigger picture and to not get lost in the details. If you keep feeling stressed about certain situations or people, get to the bottom of that.
3. Self Care is Critical
The time that you spend away from stressful situations is extremely important if you want to transcend them. Whether you take time to exercise, nourish yourself with delicious foods or simply close your computer to spend time with your friends or family, these self care choices are critical to managing stress in the short, medium and long term.
Don’t let your time away from the things causing you stress be an afterthought. Make the choice to invest in stress management. See a therapist, join a gym, take up a new hobby. The choices is yours, just know that if you aren’t listening to your body and making choices to respond to stress, it will eat away at you.
4. Focus on your Breathing
As simple as it may sound, this little bit of insight is critical to managing stress in the warzones of life. When you are feeling stressed out, you will notice that your breathing is not as deep and smooth as it is when you are in a state of rest or relaxation. This shift is one of the first things you might notice when your fight or flight response starts to kick in as your heart rate soars, your start to perspire and your ideas travel around your head at about a million miles an hour.
The more you focus on and practice taking smooth and deep breaths, the better you will be able to handle those sharp peaks and valleys as they arise in life. When you notice yourself getting stressed, step away for even a moment, take some deep breaths and watch how quickly those feelings fade away. As you practice, your results will improve.
5. Quiet your Mind
Mindfulness has become this huge buzzword all over the business landscape but for good reason. Many of the world’s most successful people have realized that if they quiet their minds and sharpen their focus, they are less stressed out and have more time to be the champions they were always meant to be.
To quiet your mind, find a comfortable place and focus on your breathing. 15-30 minutes once or twice a day is probably ideal. Set an alarm so you aren’t constantly checking the clock. As you practice, it will get easier and easier to slow your thoughts and quiet your mind.
6. Choose Healthy Responses
It may seem really tempting to mask your stress by consuming alcohol, drugs, making impulsive decisions or engaging in risky sexual behaviors. Heck, maybe this has been your MO for the better part of the last several years if not decades. If you want to counter stress, you can’t mask it or hide from it, you need to face it, head on.
Instead, choose healthy responses. Exercise, meditation, nutrition, rest, relaxation, professional development, spiritual exploration and the list goes on. It is up to you to decide what is healthy and what is unhealthy but know that when you feel guilt, shame or remorse about a choice in any way, at any time, it is probably not the healthiest or most productive way to spend your time.
7. Open Up
Whether you start speaking with a therapist or success coach, start a personal journal or begin recording some really intense rants about your stress, the more you open up and share your feelings, the better you will feel. You do not need to share your feelings with anyone else if you don’t want to; just the process of writing down or speaking out your concerns can be very healing and often can lead to new ways of handling situations which cause stress.
Bottling it all up is never good for anyone. Whatever you do, find a way to release your stress and start opening up about the things that are bothering you.
8. Be Nice to Yourself
The way you think about and talk to yourself can have a really huge impact on the stress that you have as well as the success that you enjoy in life. If you are constantly talking down to yourself or criticizing your behavior, you might just be casting a great deal of negativity into your life and thus supporting the stress that you are seeking to avoid.
Remember: the key is you. How you think about your life plays a huge role in shaping it. Be encouraging. If you notice yourself getting negative, counter each negative thought with a positive one. As an example, “I am such an idiot” could turn into “I am learning and growing”.
9. Build a Team
Friendship is essential to managing stress. Build a team of people around you who will support you in times of feast or famine. Give of yourself to support them and they will do the same for you.
Do not discount the importance of having friendly and supportive relationships in your life. Be intentional about who you choose to keep around. If you have friends constantly encouraging negative choices or constantly talking down to you or about your goals, they probably aren’t worth your time.
10. Deplete, Nourish, Recover
Physical activity is essential to managing stress. It depletes the body in a healthy way. When you follow up intense exercise with nourishing nutrition and proper recovery, you are a well oiled machine of greatness.
It is really important to view all three of these elements as equally important. Too much of any one will not lead to a proper energetic balance. Exercise, eat well and get proper rest. Do this and you will feel much better.
11. Play like a Kid
Kid’s take the time to wonder over the beauty of a blade of grass or the excitement of jumping higher than their brother. They don’t get caught up in the minutia but see the picture of life and know that it is all about learning, growing and having fun.
When you harness this mentality and realize that even your most stressful days have something to teach you, you take back your power and realize that you are the key to creating the change that you want to see. When all else fails, just get out there and have some fun. Remember life is a game and it is much better when you are playing rather then getting played!