Everyone knows too much stress is bad for the body and causes numerous negative effects. You don't get to control all of your circumstances in life, but there are ways to get a handle on your stress.
Here are 10 simple ways to reduce your stress:
1. Have control of finances
The number one cause of stress in the United States is money. Being in total control of your finances is a great way to lower your stress levels. Saving for retirement, owning a home and creating an HSA can give you financial security.
2. Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can cause much more stress than one might think. According to the American Psychological Association, 21 percent of adults feel more stressed out when they don't get enough sleep. If you are consistently losing sleep, you are turning yourself into a time bomb of stress. Take the time to recharge, and you will be able to work more effectively.
3. Plan ahead
It may seem like a no-brainer, but making time to plan out the week or a day ahead of time can be a lifesaver. Spend less time stressing about everything that needs to get done, and more time working on your to-do list.
4. Make a checklist
Along with planning ahead, writing down a checklist is a great way to visualize all you need to conquer. Being able to check something off this list allows for a feeling of accomplishment and relaxation in knowing you've gotten things done. A word of warning however, be sure the to-do list is a reasonable length to not encourage even more stress at the end of a day.
5. Set boundaries for your day
Setting boundaries such as not beginning to work before 7 a.m. or not working after 10 p.m. can ensure there is time for you to relax and unwind each day.
6. Take breaks
If your body starts to suffer from stress, take a break. During this time, use coping mechanisms or simply take a few deep breaths. While it may seem counterintuitive to take breaks, especially when there is a lot to do, doing so will motivate you and make you more efficient.
7. Have coping mechanisms
It's important to know how to cope with stressful challenges. Everyone's coping mechanisms are different, yours could be listening to music, talking to a friend, taking a power nap or do whatever helps you de-stress. Be aware of what coping mechanisms work best for you, and use them when needed.
Taking time away from stressful situations is a great method for keeping anxiety at bay. Meditation helps clear the mind, makes us aware of what the body needs and prepares the mind for challenges ahead. Meditate for at least 10 minutes at the beginning or the end of the day.
9. Know how to communicate
One of the most important things for managing stress is being able to communicate with those around you about what you need. If you feel stress at work, know how to ask your boss or coworker for direction or help. If you feel stress at home, communicate to family members about what you need.
10. Organize your home
Everyone has a closet filled to the brim with extra clothes they don't need, or a room so messy you can't even see the floor. One of the biggest sources of stress is clutter. Reorganizing a desk, donating old clothing items and throwing out expired items can help clear up the visual space, which effectively clears up mental space as well.
The less unnecessary stress you have, the happier and healthier you will be. While some anxieties are unavoidable, it is important to not let them control you. Remember, most stress can be helped with simple planning and self-care.