Stress is a natural part of life. It’s important to understand that not all stress is bad. There is stress, called eustress, that keeps us alert, on our toes, and ready to jump into action. Eustress turns to distress when a person is consistently working through issues with no breaks and no time to relax. If we are overworked, tension builds up, and stress increases. It doesn’t help that stress wreaks havoc on our eating and sleeping habits — not to mention our overall mood.
WebMD.com states that 43% of all adults have encountered health issues due to stress, and 75 to 90% of doctor visits are related to the stress we deal with daily. According to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, stress costs industries in the United States over $300 billion a year.
There are steps you can take to decrease your stress, but it’s important to understand that no method will erase stress completely. How we handle the build-up to stressful events and our day-to-day choices can go a long way to keeping harmful stress at bay, though. Continue reading to learn three easy ways to work against stress.
One of the first ways to decrease your stress is to exercise a little each day. This doesn’t mean you have to work out for thirty minutes in the gym or run three miles each morning. Sneaking activity several times a day will keep your body and mind engaged, which is key to living a less stressed life. The increased activity is good for your overall health as well. If you can add up to three hours of mild-to-moderate activity to your schedule each week, you can significantly increase your ability to deal with stress.
A second stress buster is to focus on your breathing. Take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply and engage in your surroundings. The art of being present can also help reduce stress, as well as practice meditation. All three activities pack a powerful punch against stress. They can also improve your sleep and mood when you practice them consistently. Experts say that even five minutes of meditation a day can improve your focus and outlook. You can find apps or videos online with guided meditations if you’ve never tried them before. Starting with a guided meditation is often easier than attempting it on your own.
Increasing your connections with others is another excellent way to keep your stress levels down. Choose people who make you smile and laugh. Don’t spend your time with people who exacerbate your stress and leave you feeling tenser than before. During the pandemic, the need to be social and enjoy each other was more noticeable than ever before. Set aside time each week to connect with some of your favorite people, even if it’s simply for a few minutes.
Managing stress is possible. Be mindful of doing things each day to keep your levels low. Taking deep breaths when stress hits is essential, but working on your breathing each day is even more critical. We all handle stress differently, meaning we also combat it differently. Find what works for you and make it a habit.