Stress is a collection of physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that can occur when your body’s demand for adequate resources exceeds your available supply. The word “stress” has been overused to the point that it can be a confusing term.
For our purposes, a more precise definition might be: Stress is a natural physical response to situations where your body perceives it might be at risk. A stressor can be either external, such as a car accident, or internal, such as an illness or injury. The degree of stress you experience is directly proportional to the severity of the situation you face and your ability to cope with the situation.
What are Stressors?
Stressors are the situations, events, or circumstances that create the need for your body to respond. External stressors can be anything that has an influence on our physiology or psychology, including workload, time constraints, emotional challenges, and environmental factors such as heat or noise.
Regardless of the type of workplace stressor you are facing, there are ways to improve your situation and minimize its negative impact on your work performance and overall mental well-being. You can easily manage and handle stress if you can take the following simple step.
How To Manage Stress Easily
So If you want some ideas on how to better deal with the stresses in your life, here’s what we recommend:
1. Know Your Role (and Act Accordingly)
It can be very easy to lose yourself or your identity in a large company or bureaucracy. When you feel that you have no control over your situation, stress is likely to follow. According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, “Having a sense of autonomy and a focus on bigger-picture thinking—the ability for employees to focus on the big picture rather than just their individual, day-to-day duties—were strong predictors of work satisfaction.”
The ability to see yourself as just one small piece of a much larger puzzle can help you feel more connected and invested in your work. Having said that, it is important to remember that while you are an integral part of your organization, you are not the entire company. Respecting your role while fulfilling your obligations will help you feel more confident in the decisions you make.
2. Make a List (and Check It Twice)
When life is busy and stressful, it can be easy to forget things that are important to us. However, this can lead to increased stress when you realize that something was left undone. During times of high pressure, it is important to prioritize the tasks at hand so that nothing falls through the cracks.
One way to help yourself maintain perspective is by making a list of your top three work-related responsibilities and checking the items off as they are completed. This will help you feel more in control. Furthermore, the act of writing down your goals can be very empowering. If you are feeling really ambitious, make a list of your daily goals as well as your long-term goals.
3. Get Some Rest (It’s Good for You!)
Interruptions and long hours at work can leave you feeling drained. In addition to affecting your physical health, lack of sleep can have a negative effect on your work performance and mental clarity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “When people are under-rested or fatigued they exhibit problems with their mood, ability to focus, memory, and access to vocabulary.”
Taking a mental health day once in a while can be a good way to recharge your batteries. Taking a break of a few hours or even a couple of days can help you maintain composure and get through stressful times with the energy you need.
Furthermore, prioritizing sleep will give you more time during the day for things that matter.
4. Don’t Forget to Breathe!
Many of us are guilty of holding our breath while we work. This can increase cortisol production, which is the stress hormone that causes you to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Learning how to relax and breathe deeply will help you maintain perspective intense situations.
You don’t have to be a yogi to reap the benefits of deep breathing. All you need is a few minutes and some patience. According to Yoga Journal: “By lengthening and slowing your breath, you can reduce stress and anxiety while increasing oxygen intake.” This will also help align your mind and body, making it easier for you to stay in control during high-pressure situations.
5. Be Positive (It’s a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy)
In life, one of the biggest challenges is changing our perspective when things don’t go the way we hoped they would. In terms of work, negative thoughts can get in the way of having a productive day and lowering your stress levels. Furthermore, when you think in a negative way it can be easy to lose motivation and energy.
One of the best ways to maintain perspective during times of stress is by thinking positively. Optimism has been shown to increase productivity and help employees recover from stressful situations.
In addition to having mental benefits, positive thoughts will boost your immune system. According to a study published by Cambridge University Press, “The stress hormone cortisol tends to suppress the immune system whereas positive emotions such as happiness seem to promote immune function.” This will help you combat physical and mental health issues that can affect your work performance.
6. Get Active (Exercise is Your Friend)
Stressful workdays can leave you feeling drained and even depressed. Therefore, it is important to get some physical activity when you have the chance.
Exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health by increasing serotonin production. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that helps regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and memory.
In addition to serotonin, physical activity has been shown to increase the number of neurotransmitters that keep your mind sharp. As a result, you will be more focused and have better memory retention.
In addition to being good for mental health, exercise is also helpful because it can give your body a boost of energy. According to Henry Emmons, M.D., author of The Chemistry of Calm, “Exercise can relieve stress because it provides a distraction from the current focus on work and family.”
In other words, when you exercise you will be less preoccupied with what is going on at home or in your office.
7. Tune Out Negative People (They Can Make You Crazy)
Not all stress is created equal. Some days are high-pressure, whereas other times you may feel like the world is out to get you. Regardless of your situation, dealing with difficult people can be one of the biggest challenges in life (at work and at home).
Having a stressful coworker doesn’t mean that you have to put up with the drama, though.
One of the best ways to manage tough relationships is to eliminate them when possible. For example, if you work in an open space setting there may be people who are hard to avoid.
However, if your coworker’s cubicle or office happens to be next door, try telling your manager that it is a violation of privacy to have this individual so close. In addition, you can also try creating boundaries by establishing a policy for open-door policies and conference room usage.
8. Spend Time with Friends (They Know How to Calm You Down)
Stressful situations not only affect your physical health but they can impact your mental health as well. A study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley found that friends play a vital role in helping people cope with stress. According to lead researcher Megan Robbins, “One thing that surprised us was how much having social support mattered even when things are going badly.”
Having good relationships is essential for mental health, which is why it’s important to find healthy ways to communicate with your friends. For example, spending time with family members or venting about a bad day can help you release stress.
Furthermore, listening to what others have to say is just as important because it boosts self-esteem and helps you maintain positive relationships.
9. Get Some Sleep (You’ll Be Much Happier)
It is never easy trying to balance work, family, and friends. However, lack of sleep will only make matters worse because it can lead to reduced productivity levels, which in turn will increase stress.
According to studies conducted by the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have difficulty managing their emotions.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, if you feel like your body is suffering from a lack of sleep take a moment to look at what you are putting into it.
For example, caffeine can prevent sleep because it is a stimulant that will prevent you from relaxing once the sun goes down.
10. Meditate (You’ll Think Clearly)
Although some might think of meditation as a new-age practice, it has been used by various cultures for centuries to find inner peace and relieve stress.
Today, many people still use meditation as a way to relax and reduce anxiety. In addition, studies have shown that meditation can also help people conquer fears and anger by allowing them time to appreciate the wonders of life.
If you are interested in giving meditation a try, there are some simple steps that can be taken to get started:
- Find a quiet environment or space where you can sit down and relax for at least 10 minutes.
- Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Take deep breaths in through your nose and exhale out of your mouth.
- When your mind starts to wander, simply bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing again on your breath.
11. Spend Time with Your Pets (Studies Show That They Know How to Calm You Down)
Psychologists and researchers at Miami University and St. Bonaventure University found that people who own pets are less likely to feel stressed compared to those who do not have a pet because pets offer non-judgmental unconditional love.
According to the studies, spending time with your pet can help reduce stress and anxiety because they comfort you by listening to your issues without judgment.
If you do not own a pet, but would like to spend time with one, try visiting an animal shelter or bringing home a stray cat or dog that needs a place to stay. You will be surprised how much of a difference spending time with an animal can have on your mental health.
12. Limit Your Caffeine Intake (It’s Linked to Depression)
Caffeine is a popular stimulant used by millions of people because it has the ability to enhance one’s mood, concentration level, and energy levels. Some claim that caffeine can also help with weight loss, reduce the risk of neurological diseases and improve short-term memory.
However, using caffeine to boost your mood or focus comes with some risks because they are linked to negative effects on mental health.
According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, people who drink caffeinated beverages are two times more likely to suffer from depression than those who do not.
With that said, it is still unclear as to whether depression causes people to drink more caffeine or if it is the other way around.
In addition, research published by Johns Hopkins University claims that people who frequently suffer from insomnia are twice as likely to develop depression compared to those who sleep well.
Other studies have also found that people who drink several cups of coffee or soda throughout the day are more likely to suffer from depression because their brains are constantly stimulated by caffeine.
This means that you should limit your intake of caffeinated beverages, especially if you frequently suffer from depression. If you are unable to stop drinking caffeine, at least try drinking them in the morning or early afternoon so you avoid insomnia at night.
13. Get Some Sunlight (It Helps to Keep Your Mood Up)
Many people are aware of the dangers associated with being exposed to the sun for too long without protection, but they do not realize that getting enough sunlight can help boost your mood and improve your mental health.
Studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between sunlight exposure and depression, which means that if you spend more time outdoors, you are less likely to suffer from depression.
That said, it is important not to overdo it because being exposed to the sun for too long can be dangerous as well. According to the American Cancer Society, you should not spend more than 15 minutes in direct sunlight without protection because it can cause your body to become overheated and increase your risk of skin cancer.
In addition, make sure that you apply a lotion or sunscreen on every exposed area before going outdoors to protect against sunburns. Never go outside without wearing sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes and head.
14. Write What You’re Feeling (It Helps to Express Emotions)
Many people suffer from mental illness because they feel guilty, ashamed, or depressed about their condition and do not express how they feel. This can be detrimental because bottling up emotions will only worsen their condition and prevent them from recovering faster.
In order words, the best way to improve your mood or mental health is by expressing how you feel without holding back.
To do this, try creating a document on your computer and start writing about how you are feeling. By writing down your emotions, you will be able to express yourself in a safe and non-judgmental way.
This can be helpful because doing this on a regular basis will help you learn more about the root cause of your mental illness and become better at dealing with your stress. If you feel like writing is too difficult, do it with a friend. Not only will this make it easier to express yourself, but it will also give you someone to talk to.
15. Get Rid of Toxic People (They Only Make Things Worse)
People who suffer from mental illness are usually sensitive and can easily pick up on other people’s emotions without even trying. As a result, they might feel the need to spend more time with certain people to protect themselves from their negativity. While this is a good idea, in theory, spending too much time with negative people can make your condition worse and prevent you from recovering as quickly as possible.
For example, if you spend time with someone who constantly tells you that there’s no point in trying or that you will always be bad at something, you might start believing that this is true and give up on your goals.
Therefore, if you want to improve your mental health, it is important to spend time with positive people who will help motivate and inspire you instead of dragging yourself down.
Try spending more time with family members or friends who make you feel good about yourself and avoid toxic people at all costs. If you feel like the people close to you are negative, try talking to them about it or spending less time with them if they refuse to change their habits.
16. Set Goals (It Helps You Stay on Track)
Depression is often associated with feeling lost and not knowing what your purpose in life is. The good news is that you can improve your mood by setting goals and feeling like you are living for something. Even if the goals you set seem unrealistic, it is important to start small by simply working towards achieving them.
For example, you might want to become healthier or earn more money, but this is something that will take time to accomplish. So, instead of thinking about the end result, you should start by setting small goals like pushing yourself to work out three times a week or cooking your own food for breakfast.
17. Stay Active (It Accelerates Your Recovery)
Mental health experts recommend staying active as much as possible because doing so will help improve your mood. If you are not used to being active, start by taking short walks in the morning or doing household chores. As time goes on, you can gradually increase your physical activities until they become second nature.
18. Give Back (Helps You Appreciate What You Have)
People who are suffering from depression will often feel like they have nothing to be thankful for. However, by giving back to others, your focus will shift towards things in your life that make you happy instead of what’s causing you stress.
Fortunately, this can easily be done by volunteering at a local nonprofit or animal shelter. Not only will it give you a sense of purpose and achievement, but it will also help fight feelings of depression by improving your mood.
19. Healthy Diet (Helps You Avoid Depression)
While there is no such thing as “one size fits all,” healthy diets have been shown to benefit people with mental illnesses because they usually result in increased energy levels and better sleep.
Not only that, but a healthy diet can also protect you from developing depression in the future. For instance, people who eat fast food and drink soda frequently are more likely to develop mood disorders than those who don’t.
Try your best to eat organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible because they contain less sugar and will make your body feel better.
20. Avoid Addictive Substances (Easier Said Than Done)
In many cases, alcohol and drugs can make you feel better in the short term, but they often have adverse effects on your mental health in the long run. Even though some individuals will improve their mood by consuming these substances, they are not a quick fix for depression.
Therefore, if you want to get the most out of life and remain mentally healthy, you should do your best to avoid addictive substances altogether or at least drink in moderation. If you feel like you need help quitting an addiction, talk to a mental health professional about treatment.
21. Drink More Water (Helps Your Body Function Better)
Everyone knows that staying hydrated is important because it helps your body function at an optimal level, but few people realize how beneficial water can be for mental health as well. Unfortunately, being dehydrated can increase feelings of depression because it weakens your immune system and causes you to become fatigued.
Therefore, if you are feeling down, make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water every day to give your body the energy levels it needs to function properly. Lastly, don’t forget that alcohol is also a diuretic and can dehydrate you in a matter of hours. If possible, avoid drinking alcohol in excess because it will only worsen your depression symptoms.
Given all the pressures of modern life, it is no surprise that so many people struggle to manage their stress levels. We have discussed a number of things you can do proactively to help reduce your tension and remain as relaxed as possible throughout your day. So keep your calm and remain healthy. Best Wishes from us!
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family to keep them away from stress.