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It’s hard to be happy when you’re stressed.
I don’t have to tell you that. I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself.
Think back on high stress situations like when you were laboring over a complicated work project and things got overwhelming and started to fall apart.
Hopefully you were able to recover and get your project back on track, but chances are that you weren’t too happy while you were stressed out.
Stress sucks the happiness and joy right out of us.
It only makes sense then that one way to increase our happiness and our quality of life is to reduce the stress in our lives. Not only is it good for our soul, it’s also good for our overall health and well-being to reduce the stress in our lives. Here are some 5 simple strategies for dealing with stress.
1. Get Enough Sleep
An easy way to reduce stress is to make sure you get a good seven to eight hours of sleep at night. When we don’t sleep well, or enough, our bodies are in a constant state of stress, trying to make up for the lack of sleep. Sleep helps us relax and gives our mind time to process everything that’s happening. Stop burning the midnight oil and get some rest. You’ll get more done when you’re fresh and rested and you’ll be reducing stress as well.
2. Get Some Exercise
Without a doubt, the best stress reliever is exercise. Take some time every day to move your body and burn that stress out of your system. If you can get outside to workout, even better. The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders. Go for a run, or even an evening walk after dinner whenever you’re feeling stressed. Do it regularly and you’ll be managing your stress much better.
3. Manage A Stressful Situation with If-This-Then-That Thinking
Stress usually appears when the outcome of the situation you find yourself in is not clear. You might be successful, but it’s the possibility of failure that brings on the stress. Many times you’ll find the stress decreased if you just think through what could go wrong and how you could deal with it. If you plan for problems in advance, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed. You just move on to the alternate plan for that setback. Here’s a simple example. I happen to be vegan. When we travel, I almost always can find something to eat, but it’s not always very satisfying. Sometimes the only thing on the menu I can have is a plain salad. It’s not the end of the world but sometimes I just plain get hungry! So my If-this-then-that planning has me pack food whenever possible. Energy bars and fruit easily fit in my purse and get me through until we reach our destination. Goodbye stress!
4. Take Some “Me” Time
Women spend a lot of their lives focusing their attention on others. Whether you still have children at home, long distance managing a child who is struggling to master independence, or working to get a big work project completed, you are putting all of your energy outwards. It’s easy to forget about ourselves, or to even put our own needs on our to-do list. Make an effort to give yourself at least a little bit of “me” time each day. It doesn’t have to be much. Even ten minutes spent relaxing and doing something completely for yourself can be a great way to decompress and reduce stress.
5. Practice Meditation
Let’s wrap this up with one last technique that can keep stress at bay. Try meditating. Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on this. Sitting quietly going through a guided meditation once a day can do wonders. You can find free apps and YouTube videos to get you started. Once you get in the habit of practicing meditation daily, and get better at it, you can draw on the techniques you’ve learned whenever you encounter a particularly stressful situation. You can spend a minute or two in meditation, even at the most stressful time, and allow your mind to relax. Trust me, this will come in very handy when life throws you a curveball, or when you’re feeling completely overwhelmed. We’ll also be talking more about the benefits of, and how to do, meditation later in the challenge.