Do you feel like you sometimes lose control of your day and don’t intentionally spend quality time with yourself? If the answer is yes, then check out the following tried and tested stress management techniques that are guaranteed to turn you into a calmer, happier person.
Be intentional at the start of your day
The way we start our day has such a huge impact on how the rest of our day plays out. Instead of opening your eyes and feeling like you’ve lost the day already, plan to do something you genuinely enjoy first thing in the morning.
For this to have the effect we are looking for, it has to be something you really like, not something you think you might like. For example, if you really enjoy working out, do this before anything else in the morning.
Not only will it wake you up properly and get blood pumping around your body, but it will also boost your serotonin levels, the feel-good happy hormone that helps to relieve stress.
If exercising isn’t your thing in the morning, try something different. Maybe it’s finding half an hour to read the new book you love or brewing up your favorite coffee and enjoying some quiet time drinking it before the world awakes.
By being purposely intentional first thing in the morning, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you wake up rushing around, spending no time to focus on yourself, then the chances are the rest of the day is going to be more stressful.
However, by waking up and doing something you enjoy, you are flipping the switch and starting the day on your own terms.
Be mindful of who/what you allow into your day
Who and what we allow into our days has a big impact on how we feel throughout the day. Ever bumped into someone who totally kills your vibe, or browsed through social media and comes across something that puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the day?
Well if you have, it’s time to start being conscious about who and what you allow into your life. A famous quote from Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”, sums this up nicely. Given the power of social media in our everyday lives, our group of five has increased significantly.
One way of helping to control who/what we allow into our lives is to create firm boundaries. We can decide which individuals, thoughts, and events we will allow into our minds. It’s also good practice to avoid social media and the news when you wake up in the morning. It’s likely that more often than not, there isn’t anything hugely positive to see or read.
Try to identify people or situations that seem to elevate your stress levels. By knowing in advance what might set this off, it allows you to avoid the situation as much as possible.
Fuel Your Body Properly
If your body is lacking the vitamins and minerals it needs, it can add to the onset of stress. Our blood sugar levels dip when we’re hungry and not nourished enough with healthy food, which cripples our energy. It doesn’t do our mood or stress levels any favors either.
I’m sure you have come across the term ‘hangry’ before, a combination of hungry and angry. Although it seems like a comical term, it is definitely a thing. When people are hungry, they are more likely to be agitated and unreasonable. The part of the brain that makes logical decisions seems to disappear completely.
When we allow our bodies to get to the point of total starvation (in practice, just very hungry and not totally starving), our bodies start to crave sugary snacks and simple carbs. When we stuff our faces with crisps or sweets, it actually results in our stress levels going up because of the inevitable sugar crash a few hours later.
The trick is to keep our bodies continually and properly fuelled throughout the day. Make sure you are eating wholesome foods like fresh vegetables and fruits, drinking plenty of water, and having healthy snacks such as nuts for when you get suddenly hungry.
A secret top tip is to eat foods high in magnesium as they are proven to help lower stress levels. Foods such as spinach, brown rice, and brazil nuts are all rich in magnesium.
Stop The Unhealthy Treats
After a tough day at work, we often feel that we need to treat ourselves as some kind of reward for just making it through the day. This treat often involves something unhealthy like alcohol, a cigar, or a takeaway.
None of this helps to lower stress levels. They just act as a form of instant gratification for making it through a hard day. If we look at alcohol as an example, it is scientifically proven that we sleep worse after its consumption. It is also scientifically proven that a lack of sleep adds to our levels of stress. It’s a vicious cycle.
These are all guaranteed to have you feeling less stressed than downing a beer or scoffing down a curry.
When we work all week, we often go long periods of time without actually doing something we find really fun. We are not all lucky enough to be Richard Branson who loves working every day.
It’s very important to schedule some fun time for yourself to help take your mind off of work and reduce your daily stress. It could be something as simple as going to the cinema if you are a big film fan or drawing if you are a keen artist. It’s totally up to you.
It’s so easy for the weeks to run away from us and we completely forget to do anything fun. To help stop this, intentionally block out some time in your diary at the start of the week for some fun time.
Not only will this increase the chances of you actually doing it, but your brain will also start to look forward to that time at the start of every week. This helps to lower your stress levels since there’s an activity you’re looking forward to doing. And every time you do something fun, you release more serotonin into your body (remember the happy hormone we mentioned earlier), further reducing your stress levels.
If you are feeling stressed and feeling like things are getting on top of you, try out some of the ideas suggested above.
They should go a long way toward helping you cope with stress. None of the above is rocket science, of course, it is more about being intentional in what you do every day to help effectively manage your stress levels.