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4 ways to help reduce stress

Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but how you cope with it makes all the difference. Coping mechanisms vary from person to person so it’s important to find what works for you. If you struggle with finding ways to relax or are just looking for new ideas, consider some of these options. 

1. Journal
Writing down your thoughts, feelings and the details of your day is a great way to relieve stress when you feel overwhelmed. Journaling is especially helpful if you feel uncomfortable speaking to another person or if you struggle with vocalizing your feelings. If you don’t know where to start, try using one of these prompts:
  1.  Write about two good or bad things that happened today.
  2. What is something that scares you?
  3. Describe something that brings you joy.
2. Meditate
Meditation is known for its mental and physical health benefits. Most people have an idea of what meditation is, but there are a few variations — guided meditation, mantra meditation and mindfulness meditation. 
  1. Guided meditation may or may not be facilitated by an instructor and involves imagining yourself in specific place using your five senses.
  2. Mantra meditation is practiced by silently repeating a positive word or phrase to yourself with the goal of resisting distractions.
  3. Lastly, mindfulness meditation focuses on bringing your thoughts and awareness to the present moment. 
Whichever method sounds up your alley, all three can help to provide inner peace and calm.1 

3. Exercise/ Practice Yoga
Physical exercise is a great way to release pent-up, anxious energy. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which are our “feel-good” hormones.2 Whether it be taking a brisk walk, lifting weights or doing high-intensity cardio, physical activity can do wonders not only for your body, but for your mind. Specifically, if you’re looking for a calming form of exercise, yoga is known to be a helpful stress reliever as it combines body stretches with mindful breathing and meditation. To get started, you can try a beginner’s class or go online for guided videos.  

4. Delegate
Shouldering responsibilities is a part of life, but oftentimes there are tasks that can be delegated to family members, roommates or co-workers to ease the load. More often than not, the people closest to you are happy to help and you can return the favor when they’re the ones feeling stressed. It’s important not to put too much on your plate at work as well, so don’t be afraid to say no to projects or tasks outside of your bandwidth. Otherwise, explore the possibility of dividing a large project into smaller tasks to distribute among your team.  

As you try these methods, you may discover that some strategies work better than others. The goal is to find what works for you in reducing your stress levels. If you feel chronically anxious and struggle to cope, consider consulting with your doctor or a mental health professional. Otherwise, if you simply find yourself feeling run down from time to time, take a moment to sit back, relax and always remember to breathe! 

“Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress.” Mayo Clinic. Oct 2017.
“Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress.” Mayo Clinic. March 2018.

Posted on April 01, 2019

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