Between politics, work, and the hectic schedule of your day to day life, nobody would blame you if you felt a little stress from time to time. Stress is normal, and we all feel it once in a while, and as a once in a while occurrence, stress really isn’t all that damaging.
When stress is left unchecked however, it can cause some real problems in our lives. Stress can be linked to loss of sleep and appetite, as well as some pretty serious health issues. So here’s the question: how do we keep stress from taking control and ruining our lives?
I’ve spent the better part of my life learning how to manage my stress level, and I’ve picked up some pretty handy methods along the way. Most of them are pretty simple, too. Today, I’d like to share some of those methods with you.
I’ve been meditating pretty regularly for the better part of the last decade, and I’m pretty sure that it has helped me manage stress better than any of the other methods that I’m going to share with you in this article. By taking 10-15 minutes every morning to sit quietly and get centered, I give myself the opportunity to make decisions more calmly and deliberately than I would if I just ran out of the door like a chicken with my head cut off.
Now, I already know your next question is going to be, “how do I meditate?” To be honest, there are a lot of different methods you can use. So many, in fact, that one could write a book on the subject. In fact, many people have. Personally, I do a form of stream of consciousness writing that helps me visibly look at my thoughts and get mentally prepared for the day. I would highly suggest heading to amazon and checking out some books that can help you get started.
Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal isn’t just for overly-emotional teenagers. Taking the time at the end of the day to write down your thoughts and feelings about the events that transpired during your day is a great way to get it all out in a non-destructive manner. I myself have kept a journal for a long time, and not only has it allowed me an outlet, it’s also given me a chance to look back at earlier entries and see how far I’ve come in life.
Make a Prioritized To-Do List
To-do lists are a great way to get a birds-eye view on what you need to get done that day. The only problem is that when stress takes hold, those to-do lists become overwhelming, and everything on them looks like an insurmountable task.
To avoid this, write your to-do list during times of little-to-no stress, and categorize the items on the list. I typically use “Do Today,” “Do This Week,” and “Do When I Have the Time.” as my categories. This gives me the ability to look at what I have to do today without getting overwhelmed with everything else.
Make Time For Something You Love
This one is important. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in everything that needs to get done, that we forget to make time for ourselves. This often leads to anger, resentment, and ultimately depression. If we want to keep these feelings at bay, we have to find a way to prioritize our own happiness.
The operative word here is “make.” In my experience, when I try to “find” time for myself, I can never find it. However, when I focus on creating opportunities to spend time doing something I love, I find it easier to take a break and spend some time enjoying life. Doing this required me to learn how to stand up for myself and say “no” when putting more on my plate would sacrifice my me-time. It was difficult, and it took a lot of practice, but once I learned how to prioritize my mental health, my entire world changed for the better.
To Sum it All Up
These are just a few of the ways that I’ve learned to deal with stress. How do you manage stress? Let me know in the comments!