Updated: Jan 10
Life can be stressful and hectic, with so much to do and so little time to do it. Yet it’s important to take time for ourselves, or we won’t be as productive as we could be. More importantly, we risk our health and wellbeing. So, here are some suggestions to help reduce stress.
You may have heard of mindfulness, but are unsure what it involves, or what the benefits are. Mindfulness based stress reduction has several physical and mental benefits. It can reduce stress for those with heart problems, help to improve their health, or can improve your sleep pattern, and help you switch off mentally.
Mindfulness can involve meditation, but it doesn’t have to. Sometimes, it can be something small, like finding a quiet space, turning off your phone and paying attention to yourself and your surroundings.
Exercise is another way to reduce stress. If you choose to start with a gentle walk, you can do mindful walking. This is walking, preferably somewhere peaceful, and instead of using the time to think about the stresses of life or what you’re going to cook for dinner, concentrate on your surroundings. Alternatively, something a little more strenuous can let you release stress and built-up tension. Some people find a run or intense gym session helps them before starting the day, or at the end of their workday.
If you have access to music on your phone or smart device, you can listen to your favorite tunes anywhere, even if just for a few minutes at a time. That can be all you need if you just want to calm down before dealing with the cause of your feelings. It gives you time to lose the initial stress, and deal with the situation more rationally than you might have done.
Spend Time with Friends
Spending time with close friends can help you forget about your problems as you catch up with them and hear about their lives. If you still can’t shake the stress you’re feeling, you can share your problems with your friends. Even if they can’t offer a solution, it helps to talk about it with people who won’t judge you. We can be too close to our own problems, and a friend’s perspective can help us see something we’ve missed. They know us well but are distant enough from our problems that they can see the situation more clearly.
If you struggle to get these stressors off your mind, reading is the perfect way to reduce stress. Spending time reading books in your favorite genre is relaxing, and a safe way to let your mind go on adventures, without having to leave the house. Alternatively, just a few minutes of reading on the bus to work can help you start the day with a clean slate, without the stress of yesterday still lingering. Reducing stress doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of time. Finding just one or two things that work for you, and doing them for a few minutes at a time throughout the day, can make a difference.