Just like growing old and dying, stress is a part of life. Chronic stress is not good for you or your body. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, wrecks havoc on your emotional state, interferes with effective problem solving, affects your sleeping patterns and other sequela.
Below is a simple list of five things you can do to reduce stress.
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take a step back and ask yourself what’s the worst thing that could happen. So what if your package wrapping skills look like your five-year-old did it. So what if you forgot to bring a pot luck dish to the office dinner and show up with a box of donuts. No one’s perfect. It’s okay.
2. Learn how to calm yourself.
- Take deep breaths. It will lower your heart rate and decrease your anxiety.
- Talk to yourself. Give yourself positive statements. “It’s okay that Grandma’s gift will be late.”
- Relax your large muscles. Tight, tense muscles are uncomfortable. Take a few minutes to do yoga or stretching.
3. Eat a healthy diet. Avoid alcohol (it’s a diuretic and dehydrates the body), caffeine (a stimulant), sugars and junk food. Sugars and junk food lead to a sugar high followed by a crash leaving you feeling sluggish. Research has shown a healthy gut equals a healthy mood.
4. Exercise. It’s true, and you've read it a million times. Exercise increases your energy levels, decreases stress and improves your mood by releasing endorphins, the feel good hormones.
5. Get more sleep. Being sleep deprived increases your feeling of stress, anger and exhaustion.