By Henry S. Miller, Author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive
Got stress? Stress is a part of a normal life that you can’t really avoid. The good news? You have more power than you realize to control stress before it prevents you from living the life you want to lead. Here are 8 simple stressbusters to help you:
1. Breathe Slowly and Deeply
Before you react to the next stressful event, first take 3 deep breaths and consciously release each breath slowly. If you have more time, try a relaxation technique, such as meditation or guided imagery, before deciding how to handle the situation.
2. Speak More Slowly
If you feel overwhelmed at any time, deliberately slow down the pace of your speaking. You will appear less anxious and more in control of the situation. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly. If you slow down, you’ll find you can think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.
3. Take a Break Outdoors
Take advantage of the healing power of fresh air and sunshine. Just 5 minutes outside on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating. If you have more time, 30 minutes of sunshine has proven positive benefits.
4. Check Your Posture
Hold your head and shoulders upright. Avoid slumping or stooping: bad posture leads to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress. If you are behind a desk during the day, avoid repetitive strain injuries and sore muscles by making sure your workspace is ergonomic, and take 5 minutes every hour to walk around or stretch.
5. Drink Plenty of Water and Eat Small, Nutritious Snacks
Fight dehydration and hunger—they can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Drink plenty of water always have small and nutritious snacks available on hand, such as fruit, string cheese, or a handful of nuts.
6. Do One Thing Today
Take control of your time. Every day, do at least one simple thing you’ve been putting off: return a phone call, make a doctor’s appointment, or file the paperwork piling up on your desk. Taking care of one nagging responsibility will energize you and improve your attitude! You might even find that completing one task inspires you to move on to the next one. At the end of each day, try planning your schedule for tomorrow using a calendar or day planner that works for you.
7. Reward Yourself after a Stressful Day
At the end of the day, set aside any work concerns, housekeeping issues, or family concerns for at least a few minutes. Allow yourself a brief period of time to fully relax before bedtime each day—even if it’s only taking a relaxing bath or spending 30 minutes with a good book. Remember, you need time to recharge. Don’t spend this time planning tomorrow or doing chores you didn’t get around to during the day. You’ll be much better prepared to face another stressful day if you give yourself a brief reward of some free time.
8. Practice Letting Go
When your next inevitably stressful situation comes up, make a conscious choice not to become upset. Just let it go. Don’t waste your energy on situations where it is not deserved. Managing your anger is a proven stress reducer.
There’s no way to avoid stress, but you can be proactive in managing it. Here’s wishing you a happy life with less stress!
About Henry S. Miller
Henry S. Miller is the author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness: Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life. He is also the creator of the online membership program Get SERIOUS About Your Happiness: 20 Transformational Tools for Turbulent Times. As President of The Henry Miller Group (www.millergroup.com), he is a speaker, trainer, and consultant helping organizations improve engagement, performance, and productivity specifically by increasing employee well being. In prior careers, Henry was a Senior Consultant for the Tom Peters Company training and coaching senior management teams worldwide in leadership and his initial career in corporate America was with IBM.