Does your life sometimes feel like a never-ending series of chores that brings you plenty of aggravation and grief but precious little joy? If so, you’re one of the millions of people who have let stress take control of their lives.
Almost 77% of Americans suffer from physical symptoms of stress. If you struggle with excessive fatigue, stomach upset, headaches, muscle tension, or poor sleep, you may be one of them. Nearly 73% of Americans experience psychological difficulties related to stress, including nightmares, panic attacks, and depression.
Stress at work and at home can take a daunting toll, but there are things you can do to beat stress before it beats you!
Manage stress by figuring out what brings you joy — and then taking measures to bring more of those joyful things into your life. A new workout, a coffee break with a supportive friend, enjoying a home-cooked meal with someone you’re dating or your spouse: These are all great ways to enhance your life. Life is too short to skimp on the experiences that bring genuine joy to your heart.
On the flip side, reflect upon what you need less of in your life, so you can become more peaceful. Days lost nursing hangovers, quality time wasted on relentlessly negative friends, hours spent beating yourself up over things you wish you had done differently: These are all behaviors you can happily kick to the curb — or at least curtail.
Don’t start off too grand. You can’t simplify your life and manage stress overnight. Take baby steps. Instead of blowing up when friends or family members upset you, take a walk on the beach. If on the job you feel overwhelmed by forces beyond your control, choose one drawer of a file cabinet and reorganize it.
Try some simple self-care techniques to calm and relax you. Have a cup of hot lavender or peppermint tea or use the scent of a little essential Mandarin or bergamot oil to soothe your frayed nerves. When you feel like you’re absolutely going to “lose it,” pause and change the rhythm of your breathing: Inhale deeply, relaxing your shoulders, and then exhale slowly. Repeat this five or six times to regain your composure.
Always make room for exercise. Physical activity, whether it’s walking the dog or taking a group fitness class, can make you feel more creative, more alive, and better about life in general. Working out, doing cardio, and playing sports are dynamite ways to build a great body, burn calories, and blow off steam! Exercise is the only real fountain of youth we’ve got, and it’s available to everyone.
Finally, don’t forget to work out your mind. Reading, travel, playing bridge, solving crossword puzzles, visiting a museum, and attending a concert are all activities that sharpen your cognitive skills by challenging you — and can help you tune out needless stress and anxiety that age you.