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Managing Stress in Daily Life

Managing Stress in Daily Life
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Stress

    How many people do you meet who complain of being totally stressed out and tired all the time? Do you also feel that you are tired and fatigued most of the times and do not have time for yourself?

    In this fast paced life, one of the highest complaints that people have is about the fact that they are tensed or disturbed about some thing or the other. The cause of stress could be deadlines at work, finances to pay the bills, catching up with colleagues in terms of lifestyle or a tense relationship at home.

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    Though it has been agreed by all experts that a certain amount of stress is required to add that little bit of spice to life and also to enable you to perform to the best of your capabilities, prolonged levels of high stress can cause physiological and mental issues. It can manifest itself in illnesses like recurrent headaches, upset stomach, rashes, ulcers, sleeplessness, high blood pressure and heart related ailments.

    But given that there is merit in a certain amount of merit the idea is not to get rid of stress completely. Which is why in most of the information that you read, people talk about ‘stress management’ and not ‘stress elimination’.

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    The first step towards managing your stress levels better is to be cognizant of the various stimuli that that stress you. These could be situations, environments, people or expectation. This initial part of managing stress is of extreme importance since there are different things that stress different people. Some people can work well under pressure and a structured and less challenging environment may cause them frustration. And then there are others who prefer to work in a company that has a process orientation. There could also be certain people who criticize you whenever you meet them and so an impending meeting could also be the cause of stress.

    Once you have identified your stress situations and people, you need to think about whether you can change the stimulus or not. For example, if your stressor is a close relative of yours, you may not be able to avoid meeting them completely. But you may be in a position to limit them to only family gatherings that may happen only a couple of times a year. If your boss at the workplace stresses you out, there may be no way in which you can avoid him on a daily basis.

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    When such a situation occurs, you should then try and evaluate if you can check your response towards the stress-causing stimuli. If your uncle is bent upon criticizing your business ventures and harps about the lack of success that you have had, you can choose to ignore the comment rather than trying to rationalize your attempts vehemently.

    Trying to change your response may not be an easy thing to do if you feel strongly about something. But this is where changing your perspective helps. Take one step back and look at the whole situation from another person’s point of view. Does it really matter whether your uncle thinks highly of your ventures? Is it so important that you try and please every person whom you meet? Expecting the moon from yourself is also not a fair thing to do. No one is perfect and each person has his or her own faults. Rather it is more prudent to be practical and expect what is possible and achievable. If you set goals that are too high to be achieved, there is bound to be frustration and stress. And even then, if you feel you have the ability to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself, give yourself time to achieve them. Minor setbacks on the way are inevitable and these should not be considered as setbacks but stepping-stones to success.

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    Lastly, if you are already stressed out due to some reason or the other try some of the relaxation techniques. Some of the various techniques that you can try out are

    • Correct breathing
    • Taking time out
    • Listening to music
    • Yoga
    • Laughter therapy
    • Meditation
    • Acupuncture and acupressure
    • Progressive relaxation
    • Exercise and stretching techniques
    • Self-suggestion
    • Diet management
    • Massage

    Last but not the least, try and be around people who are happy and jovial all the time. If you spend time with people who have a negative perspective towards life, you are also likely to find that you are cribbing all the time. But appreciate the gifts that have been bestowed on you and look at life in a more carefree way and you will realize that suddenly life has actually become carefree and easy.

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    Vishal P. Rao shares his insights and tips on stress management at Relishing Life.

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    Last Updated on November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)
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    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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