By Ivor Murray.
Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.
Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control. Here are some useful techniques to try.
Just say no!
Always remember that you can say “no”. Many of us take on too much – and loading ourselves with more tasks when we are already stretched can only lead to stress. Accept that there is a limit to what you can do and stick to it.
Give your to-do list a makeover
Take a good look at your “to do” list. Prioritize the tasks that are really important, put the things that aren’t essential at the bottom of the list and see if you can remove any jobs entirely. A long “to do” list – often padded out with unnecessary items – can be stressful to deal with.
Say how you feel
Don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings. If someone is acting in a way that you find irritating, tell them in a calm, dignified and considerate way. If you bottle up your hostility, the situation is unlikely to change and you will end up feeling frustrated and angry.
Give and take
Accept the need for give-and-take. If you relentlessly stick to your ground, you will end up alienating people and find it hard to reach agreement. It’s better to try find a way of compromising so that each side feels that they have achieved something.
Look at how you spend your time
Good time-management is essential. When you’re not in control of how you manage your time, it can quickly lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. Planning ahead and deciding how you’re going to allocate your time can be an important factor in reducing stress.
Work on your attitude
Take note of the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference”. In particular, there’s no point in getting stressed about the things you can’t change – instead change your attitude towards them.
Change how you view problems
Remember that “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Everyone at some time in their life will have major problems to deal with. Think of them as challenges and an opportunity for personal growth.
Take regular exercise
It’s been clinically proven that exercising can reduce the amount of stress hormones released in the body. Make a contract with yourself to exercise for 30 minutes three or four times a week. Yoga, jogging, tennis, cycling – there are hundreds of ways to exercise. Find one you enjoy and do it !
Watch what you eat
Have a good diet. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day. Try to stick to healthy foods, but don’t become obsessive about what you eat.
Reduce caffeine and sugar
The temporary "highs" caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
Get out more!
Enjoy an active social life. A network of friends you can talk to and rely on for support can be a great way of enhancing your well-being. Connecting with people will make you feel happier, optimistic and more positive about life.
A little bit of what you fancy!
Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities, whether it be walking in the park, playing the piano or reading.
Have a laugh!
Keep your sense of humour. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
One of the most effective things you can do to combat stress is to learn to meditate. Meditation is a technique which gives a unique quality of rest to mind and body. It allows stress and tiredness to be released in a natural way, resulting in greater energy and enjoyment of life. Many doctors now recommend meditation to patients suffering from stress and stress-related conditions.
Using traditional methods, however, it can take many years of difficult practice before you gain control of your mind and attain meditative states. Fortunately, there are now modern meditation techniques that enable you to shortcut the learning process and put you on a fast-track to meditation.
Meditation Machines are small, light, highly-portable machines that use light and sound to gently guide you into a deep state of relaxation or meditation. In fact, with only fifteen or twenty minutes use of a Meditation Machine, it is possible to experience the same peace and tranquility as an experienced practitioner of meditation.
As you can see from this article, there are a number of ways of managing stress and preventing it from inflicting long-term damage to your physical and mental well-being. Hopefully, you can take some of these ideas and use them to create a healthier and happier life.
Ivor Murray is the MD of MeditationsUK, an innovative company that sells Meditation Machines – small, portable machines that use natural light and sound to gently guide you into calm, relaxing states of mind and body.
For more information about managing stress using Meditation Machines visit www.MeditationsUK.com