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10 Things You Shouldn’t Do If You’re Stressed Out

10 Things You Shouldn’t Do If You’re Stressed Out

Stress can wreak havoc on your decision-making skills. Everyone has made a poor decision at some point because they were overwhelmed by life. Sometimes, those decisions pay off. More often then not, though, we’re prone to doing crazy things when we’re feeling stressed that only adds more stress later. Take a look at 10 things you absolutely should not do if you’re stressed out.

Rehash the issue with anyone who will listen

Do yourself and your friends a favor: don’t beat the proverbial dead horse. You’re stressed, they get it. Really, how many times can you discuss the same problem with the same people? Find one person who can be your sounding board and lay out the issue one time. Only go back to it if you’ve found new insight. By discussing it repeatedly, you’re not only driving your friends bonkers, you’re keeping the source of stress at the front of your mind. This makes it difficult for you to focus on new ideas.

Drown your troubles in a bottle

Alcohol is rarely a good answer to your woes. You can’t run away from your problems by forgetting them through a booze-induced blackout. The stress will still be there in the morning, along with nausea, a headache, and the sinking feeling that you did something you’re glad you don’t remember. This goes for drugs and over-eating too. Just say no.

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Dwell on it all night

Sleep is a precious commodity when you’re stressed out. It’s too tempting to lay in bed worrying all night long. Missing out on sleep can actually make you feel more stressed. Sleep deprivation can interfere with your ability to think clearly. You need your brain in optimal working condition to find the answer to resolve your stress.

Be afraid to say no

When you’re already stressed out, taking on more than you can handle makes it worse. Don’t be afraid to say no to a new project or a major favor. Give yourself a break to explore your own ideas. If you feel really bad about it, you can always resolve to help out later.

Take it out on others

Snapping at friends and family isn’t going to help reduce your stress. In fact, it will likely add to it. If you feel yourself gearing up for a fight, walk away. Friendships can recover from time apart a lot easier than they can from a harsh fight.

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Make major life decisions

Good life decisions rarely come from rash actions. While packing up all your belongings and running away to Madagascar may seem like a dandy idea at the time, you’ll regret it later. The only exception to this is making decisions that directly impact your stress level, like taking a new job or ending a toxic relationship.

Let yourself go

As tempting as it is to give up showering, shaving, and getting dressed, avoid letting yourself go. Taking care of your basic hygiene needs not only makes you more pleasant to be around, it gives you a sense of control over your routine. You may not be able to control the stock market, but you can choose which shampoo you’ll use in the morning.

Procrastinate

Don’t put things off because you are too stressed out to focus. Instead, force your mind to hone in on each task on your to-do list. Getting things done gives you a sense of accomplishment, which helps reduce your stress a bit. On the flip side, putting things off creates a backlog that adds to your stress.

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Forget to relax

You can’t focus on your stress every minute of every day. Force yourself to relax for at least an hour each day. Watch TV. Read a book. Meditate. If you find yourself going back to your problems, push it out of your mind and promise yourself to think about it later. Spending 24-7 trying to resolve stress is just going to cost you an expensive trip to a padded room.

Keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing

Face it, your methods of dealing with stress apparently aren’t working if you’re still feeling stressed out. The colloquial definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Don’t be insane. Try something different. If it fails, try something else.

Avoiding doing these things when you’re stressed out will go a long way to getting you out of your rut. Even better, it will ensure that you don’t completely burn bridges that you may need once you’re back on track.

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Featured photo credit: thornypup via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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