5 Effective Stress Management Techniques
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”
– George Burns
Stress… An all too familiar sensation lately.
I can’t be the only one who is tearing my hair out these days worrying about literally everything and nothing?
The pandemic, economic issues, health concerns, time flying by, and on top of that, who has any idea what they ought to be doing with their lives?
I don’t think it’s a big stretch to say there’s never been as much stress to go around as there is today.
Of course we live relatively safe lives, that’s not where the stress comes from. But we simply weren’t made to deal with so MUCH.
It’s the consequences of living in an ever more globalized world with a constant bombardment of information, opportunities, and choices from every odd corner.
Nobody knows where they belong, everyone is worried, confused, and stressed.
And don’t believe for a second that this isn’t doing immeasurable amounts of harm.
After all, there’s a reason why depression and anxiety rates are skyrocketing, and I believe we just found it.
We need to deal with our stress before it deals with us, because left unchecked it’s toxic and crippling.
In fact, stress can kill.
Yup, you got that right. Chronic stress tears away on the body and mind until it starts falling apart.
I don’t particularly like my body and mind falling apart, which is why I take stress management seriously.
And there’s nothing much to it, stress management isn’t magic or rocket science.
As the term implies, it simply means to practice managing stress.
In truth, anything that reduces your stress is already stress management. But let’s be honest here… how often do you actually set aside time to reduce stress?
Probably less than ideal, amirite?
So let’s do something about that.
I want you to read through the techniques/activities below, and give each an honest try!
Whatever ends up working for you, keep practicing, and preferably make it a daily routine. You WILL see results.
1) Manage Your Time to Manage Stress
Here’s a quick hypothetical.
Let’s imagine, for whatever reason, that you’re given the task to prepare a speech for a room full of very important people.
On a scale from 0 to 100, how stressed would you feel if you’re informed that the speech is held in exactly a month?
How about if the speech needs to be done by tomorrow morning, and you gotta pull an all nighter?
And finally, what if you’re given a decade to prepare the speech?
Stress seems to grow out of control if time is too constrained, right?
Well that also means stress can be relieved by making time less constrained…
This is the main principle behind time management, spending the 24 hours you’re given every day more effectively!
Essentially buying yourself more time to do what’s most crucial.
I’m somewhat of a self-taught expert procrastinator myself, so I know exactly how important good time management can be.
That’s also why I love scheduling all my important tasks through daily to-do-lists. I get next to nothing done if I don’t.
I recommend you try the same. Start every day by writing down one or more tasks that absolutely have to be completed before the day’s end.
If necessary, carve out whatever amount of time you need by down-prioritizing or cutting less important activities.
Remember that spending time doing anything other than the most important task on your to-do-list is simply procrastination, even if it makes you feel busy and productive.
Always think first things first!
2) Stressors Should Be Cut
Sometimes stress isn’t related to time, and no amount of time management is going to make a difference.
In these situations you’re left with one of two options.
You can change the situation or you can adapt to it by changing yourself.
The former typically boils down to cutting the stressor out of your life entirely, and unless there’s a good reason not to, it’s probably the more efficient way.
After all, if something causes you more harm than good why would you want to have it around.
And keep in mind this applies to everything, even if the stressor is a person or an entire career choice.
It’s simply not worth it to stay around if something or someone doesn’t enrich your life.
3) When’s The Last Time You Rejected Someone?
I hate conflict and don’t like to disappoint people, so I’ve always had a difficult time saying no.
But I’m working on changing that.
The stress gain and time loss from always trying to please everyone and their mother simply isn’t worth it.
It’s not even true that rejecting people makes them bitter or disappointed, if anything it has the opposite effect.
Not selling yourself short, by sometimes saying no, makes you and your time more valuable, something other people will notice.
They’re going to like you more than before, not less.
Remember, standing up for yourself doesn’t make you an asshat, it makes you a well-adjusted and respectable person.
4) Give Yourself Some Deep Relaxation
Relaxation techniques are seriously undervalued.
I used to read and write a lot about it back when my main focus was treating anxiety, and even made an entire course to teach it, simply because it’s really really effective.
It doesn’t just cause some temporary feeling of calm either, done correctly it has crazy long-term benefits to mental health and health alike.
Abdominal breathing can shut down most anxiety, panic, and stress in a matter of minutes.
Progressive muscle relaxation reduces pent up tension in the body, something that builds up during stress and anxiety.
If not released, this tension can lead to really bad aches and pain, as well as increased anxiety levels.
And when released… you’ll feel like you’re floating on a cloud.
Meanwhile, mindfulness meditation whips your mind into shape and with practice gives you incredible control over your emotions and thoughts.
And that’s only a fraction of the various relaxation techniques available.
5) Trust In Your Ability to Cope
One aspect of stress is your perception of your own ability to cope.
Basically if you feel like you can’t handle something, you will feel stress.
But who’s to say your assumption is correct? And what good does it do to beat yourself up mentally?
The fact of the matter is that you’re capable of a lot more than you believe.
You just need to have some faith in your own ability to make mistakes and learn from them.
There’s Many Ways to Lower Stress
In the end, there’s no one path to stress management, but try, give it some time, be patient, and integrate what works into your life making a habit
As stress levels decrease, you should get more energy, feel much better mentally, sleep better, making you better able to manage stress, it’s a reinforcing cycle.
What do you usually do to manage stress? Let me know by leaving a comment below, I’d love to hear.