Stress is really a funny thing because when it is working well, it helps make us better able to handle our responsibilities and solve concerns or confront issues as we travel through life. In fact, we would be in trouble without useful and properly operating stress responses. But stress can, and often does, become a concern when it occurs at levels that are too high for too long. And also when the chemical reactions associated with the stress response are ongoing instead of on call when we need them. Learning how to stress less becomes very advantageous in our over-stressed society.
Studies have found many health issues related to stress. Stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma.
Stress also creates pressure, and a controlled, appropriate amount of it is a needful and useful tool. When your stress response is operating normally, it will activate when you need it in order to handle a task or situation. It will then return the nervous system to its normal state once the danger or challenge has passed. However, when you are consistently exposed to abnormally high-stress levels over long periods of time, it takes a cumulative toll on your health, and the effects of the stress response, such as elevated blood pressure or increased metabolism, may become a chronic health concern that is a curse rather than a blessing. Ongoing stress can also cause mental and emotional concerns that, like a vicious cycle, only lead to more stress and related problems. The term for dangerous amounts of stress is “stress overload.”
Below are some recommendations to consider to help you stress less. Since stress is scientifically proven to be the foundation of many illnesses, I personally believe that stress overload can be extremely harmful not only to your physical health but also to your emotional health. The good news is that those who decide to stress less by habitually implementing stress reduction techniques are more likely to help their body divert serious illness and/or disease.
50 Ways to Stress Less
- Pray about everything.
- Talk less; Listen more.
- Go to bed before 10:30 p.m. Sleep in a cool dark room.
- Get up on time so you can start the day at your own pace.
- During your morning shower/bath, think of at least five blessings in your life.
- Learn to politely say “No,” to projects/activities that do not fit into your time schedule.
- Learn to delegate tasks to others.
- Simplify and declutter your life. Keep your home, your car, and your office organized.
- Remember that less is often more.
- Allow extra time to accomplish tasks and to get to appointments. Constantly being late is fertile ground for stress.
- Respect other people’s time just as you want them to respect your time. If you are held up in traffic, call ahead and/or be willing to re-schedule the meeting, appointment, etc.
- Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time. Try not to lump difficult things altogether. Don’t procrastinate.
- Take one day at a time. As much as possible, live in the “now”.
- Separate worry from concerns. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety. Remember that there are always solutions and answers to every situation and concern. Worry will definitely rob you of your joy and peace.
- Live within your budget and means. Save some money from every paycheck, even if it is only $5.
- Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet, an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, extra sunglasses, an extra garage door opener, etc.
- K. M. S. (Keep Mouth Shut!) This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble and stress. Practice it regularly.
- Do something for the child in you every day.
- Carry an inspirational book with you to read while waiting in line or waiting for an appointment.
- Get daily exercise and sunshine. A daily walk in the sunshine is not only healthy but will help with Vitamin D3 production, which can help minimize life’s stressors.
- Eat healthy at every meal. Pass on the fast food and sugary drinks/snacks.
- Organize your desk/work area so that everything has its place.
- While driving, listen to a self-help or inspirational CD that can help improve your quality of life.
- Write thoughts and inspirations down. Keep a Blessings List or Notebook and add to it every evening before bed.
- Every day take 20 minutes to be alone. Practice deep breathing exercises, take a hot bath, read, meditate, pray, sip a cup of herbal tea, listen to soothing music or just close your eyes and relax. Set up a comfy chair with a nice throw/blanket in your bedroom or den. Include a side table to hold a lamp, books, iPod, CD player, etc. Let your family know that when you are in that chair, you are unavailable unless someone or something is on fire.
- When concerns arise, talk to God on the spot. Try to nip small concerns in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to pray – most of us are too tired.
- Cherish your friends and acknowledge their special days (birthday, anniversary, etc.)
- Keep a folder of favorite scriptures and inspirational quotes on hand.
- Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good “Thank you, God!”
- Flash a big smile at two people (that you don’t know) every day…just for fun!
- Remember to laugh!
- Learn to control your temper. Harsh words said in anger can never be taken back. They have a negative effect on every cell of the body and actually bring the immune system down.
- Take your work seriously, but yourself not at all. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Develop a forgiving attitude and spirit (most people are doing the best they can). We all make mistakes. Practice forgiveness, and soon it will become a habit!
- Be kind to unkind people (they probably need it the most).
- Sit on your ego. Don’t talk about yourself and your accomplishments all the time. Always be honest.
- Slow down and enjoy each moment. Have an attitude of gratitude for everything – flowers, refreshing rain, dew drops on trees, deep colors of nature, cool breeze, the aroma of cookies in the oven, etc.
- Take an organic multi-vitamin/mineral supplement every day. Include a natural sourced B-Complex to help your body manage stress. It’s a proven fact that vitamins and minerals can help with stress.
- Eliminate EMF (electromagnetic frequency) stress by using EMF protection. Research now links long-term exposure to man-made EMFs with chronic health issues — from stress and fatigue to cancer.
- Be positive! Look for the good in every event and situation that comes your way.
- Be teachable and desire to learn. Know-it-alls are tiresome to the spirit.
- Eliminate negative TV, radio, websites, and movies.
- Decide to do more reading, more listening to good music, more outdoor activities, more family night game playing, more crafting, more evenings with good friends, etc.
- Invest in family relationships. Give your spouse and children your undivided attention, support, and love. Tell them you love them every day!
- Get a weekly massage.
- Always write things down. Don’t rely on your memory.
- Work on yourself. Stop trying to “fix” other people.
- Always have a plan B.
- Keep a list of goals and revisit that list often – checking off the ones you have accomplished and adding new ones.
- Remember that the universe does not revolve around you, nor are you the general manager.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.