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Published on February 26, 2020

11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely

11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely

As the number one killer of men and women, stress is the root cause of many diseases, from cancer to heart disease. Left unaddressed, stress has a crushing force that, over time, can lead to ugly repercussions. From frequent headaches to regular fatigue, symptoms will come pouring in if you don’t learn how to handle stress wisely. [1]

We can’t always prevent or avoid stress, but how you conduct your lifestyle can radically reduce it. Instead of viewing every problem as a massive explosive strapped to your body, it’s worth it to slow your thoughts down and recognize that nobody is a superhuman.

If your stress is coming from your job or career, try to find ways to appreciate the little things as opposed to viewing everything as a puzzle to solve. How you approach communication and problem solving will make an enormous difference.

It’s easy to be absent minded in tense moments and act or respond impulsively when issues arise. Stress accumulates because we allow things to fester and don’t effectively sort out various dilemmas in our daily lives.

Mindfulness is the key to successfully navigating stressful situations. While stress fogs our brains, an open mind leaves room for new insights we otherwise might not have considered, so it’s important to keep our minds free of unnecessary mental clutter.

Every system of the body responds to stress, so learning how to respond positively can have numerous benefits. With that in mind, here are eleven ways to handle stress wisely.

1. Ease Into Your Day

Before you even get out of bed in the morning, give yourself some time to meditate. Focus on your breath and get unnecessary thoughts out of your head to change the way you think and perceive situations or events.

Beginning your day by easing into it in utter silence will enhance your performance at work and keep you calm enough to adequately process chaotic or busy moments.

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Avoiding a muddled mind will improve your ability to accomplish tasks and execute them to completion at an optimal level. A clear mind promotes effective cognitive processing and assessing, so if you work in a hectic environment, it helps if your thoughts and actions naturally calm you down.

2. Consider Self-talk

Self-talk, when done correctly, can give you just the confidence you need to tackle any hardships you may encounter at work or home.

Affirmations are a form of self-talk and include reminding yourself that you are where you need to be, that you can handle anything that comes your way, and that you’re a fast learner. If everything feels difficult, remind yourself that, with time, what was once so challenging will become second nature.

Self-talk can serve you as a remedy for boosting your mood when you’re feeling low or like you just can’t cope. How you speak with and interact with yourself should align with how you interact and speak with others.

Anxiety is often self-induced by our thoughts and internal dialogue. What and how you think creates a ripple effect in your communications with others. Self-talk may be just what you need to overcome challenging obstacles in your day-to-day life.

3. Be Honest With Yourself

Being honest with your friends, peers, and colleagues is one thing, but being honest with yourself is quite another. Telling yourself the truth when you’ve goofed up or made an already difficult situation worse might be a tough hurdle to overcome, but doing so can help your mind handle stress more efficiently.

If you’re prone to worsening your own stress, be honest with yourself about it and determine to work on it. Using mindfulness and grounding techniques, you can overcome your tendencies toward stress before, during, and after life events and difficult situations.

4. Omit Unimportant Details

Unimportant details might include worrying that a friend, colleague, or boss has it in for you, that you could have done this or that better, or that you’re not exactly where you want to be in any given moment. All of these nagging thoughts are just your mind entertaining unimportant details that you don’t need to indulge.

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Our own thoughts have the power to completely inundate us with pointless or even silly concerns, so omitting them can be key when learning how to handle stress.

Have you ever found yourself in a stressful situation at work and later found yourself ruminating until your head ached? This needless mental torture is a surefire way to drain all of your energy. Instead, omit the ruminations and focus on the positive aspects of your day.

5. Become a Pro at Assessing Situations

When things get chaotic, it can be difficult to appropriately assess all that’s going on. One way individuals exacerbate their stress is by acting impulsively or doing something absentmindedly. It’s not uncommon to misinterpret rapidly unfolding situations, so moving and responding mindfully and slowly can be beneficial.

Even in the core of chaos, pull yourself together and create a system. Find ways to be skilled in assessing situations in the moment by slowing your mind and thoughts down with your breathing.

Being mindful not to throw fuel on an already raging fire will allow you to find the next best thing to do. If we can do that, we can drastically improve our ability to handle stress.

6. Learn How to Self-compromise

Practicing self-compromise means that you are willing to accept stress as an unavoidable part of life that you can work with without being overthrown or dictated by it. A wise mind knows that stress doesn’t have to hold the reigns.

Self-compromise is an empowering skill to acquire — you’re accepting something as is while deciding not to be controlled by it.

7. Visualize Scenarios to Apply in the Present and Future

Visualization is a great resource for those struggling with anxiety or stress. Before going to work, visualize yourself having a successful day and create a plan for yourself.

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Fear of failure often contributes to stress and anxiety, so visualizing situations of success has the ability to change how you function in your day-to-day life. It can be a weapon for combating stress before its onset.

Before you have to perform at work, visualize yourself reaching your desired outcome. [2]

8. Maintain a Problem-solving Mindset

In difficult matters at home or work, maintaining a problem-solving mindset will keep your creative juices flowing, and you’ll be quick and effective in your responses.

You will also set yourself up for success by not viewing issues or problems as if they are large mounds of tangled thread. Instead, when something comes up, imagine yourself solving the problem quickly. Maintaining this frame of mind will put you in the driver’s seat as opposed to stress driving over you.

9. Let Go of What You Can’t Control

Another way stress accumulates is through our desperation to steer the ship of our circumstances and outcomes. The only thing you have control over is your behavior, responses, and how you navigate life in the right direction.

Train yourself to let go of the things you have no control over. Instead of trying to make problems disappear, take control of how to handle stress when you face those problems. This will naturally point you in a better direction.

10. Seek Simplicity

Every aspect of life has its complications, from relationships to work to how we spend our free time. Our thoughts naturally spiral and blow everything out of proportion, causing us to over-analyze situations, so learning how to reign this in and handle the stress it causes is crucial.

The simplest thing to do when this happens is to breathe. Relaxed breathing can intervene and bring your thoughts back to a more concrete and accurate place from which to work. [3]

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11. Don’t Internalize Stressors

It’s not uncommon to take someone else’s worries, burdens, fears and make them our own. On the other hand, we regularly keep our own stressors locked away and baking on high temperatures, which creates a quick route to burnout.

If you notice yourself holding on to a stressful situation, try an activity such as writing in a journal or completing a “brain dump,” the act of emptying the mind of troublesome or recurring thoughts by putting them into a different medium.

Drawing boundaries with those around you can also help to avoid internalizing stressors. If you don’t want someone handing you their problems, create some distance or vocalize your concerns.

The Bottom Line

Stress can be far more destructive than we realize. More importantly, it can kill the joy in our work and hobbies and destroy our overall well-being if left unchecked. You have the power to take back control and not be consumed by stress. Maintaining a wise, open mind can eliminate stress from your life and allow you to take back control.

Learn to quiet obsessive or unnecessarily repeated thoughts using meditative breathing and grounding techniques. Focus on the present moment and do so with the goal of keeping things simple.

Instead of letting stress consume you, learn how to handle it wisely and experience the benefits of a life lived with less worry.

More Tips to Restore Energy and Reduce Stress

Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Tessa Koller

Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

More Health Tips

Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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