Stress is a lot like the wind; we can’t see it, but it has a profound impact. The aftermath of untamed stress can manifest itself in dysfunctional relationships (even the one you have with yourself), poor lifestyle choices, defective coping skills and chronic illness. Luckily, there are many simple, attainable steps you can take to set yourself up for success in coping with the daily stresses of life.
Mindfulness looks different from person to person. For some, mindfulness is time spent on a yoga mat, while for others it means spending an afternoon poolside while sunbathing. How you choose to do it is not the most important aspect. The goal is to get grounded, centered, recalibrated and balanced.
Meditation and mindfulness are terms that can perhaps be used interchangeably. Through mediation, you learn about the impact of breath awareness and observing your thoughts as they ripple through your mind. A key takeaway from meditation is resisting the urge to control your thoughts or change them in any way. Ideally, you just focus on relaxing your body, breathing rhythmically, and getting into a state of calm.
If you’re having trouble beginning your mindfulness routine, an easy way to start is setting a 5-minute timer and counting your breaths until the time runs out. As you progress and get better, you can extend the time that you practice, as well as shifting your focus onto consciously relaxing certain parts of your body.
Move Your Body
There is a multitude of deeply studied physiological benefits regarding exercise. However, you don’t have to understand the in-depth science to know that exercise relieves stress and helps you feel good. Endorphins, the feel-good chemical messengers in your body, surge and pump through your system at a substantial rate when you engage in exercise.
This good feeling that you get from a regular fitness routine will help you recenter your mind, diminish stress, combat bad moods, elevate productivity and leave you feeling rejuvenated.
That said, you’ll truly optimize all of these benefits if you find a mode of exercise that you genuinely enjoy and/or a group of individuals that you enjoy exercising with. Working out in a group setting will provide you with accountability, support and consistency.
In addition to exercise, it’s important to get enough sleep. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re having trouble having restful sleep, try blackout curtains, drinking chamomile tea, using lavender essential oils and/or wearing a sleep mask.
Fuel Up Right
Right along an active lifestyle in regards to important is a balanced, nutritious diet. The food you eat is closely linked to energy levels, adaptability to stress, sleep quality, mood, performance and overall wellness. Thus, you can’t get away with neglecting it.
A whole foods based, nutrient-dense diet will help you feel your best. When you’re the best version of yourself, big problems seem minuscule and big stressors seem tiny. When you’re dedicated to your own self-care, health and potential, you’ll find that your foundation is more firm and you can take on more in life. In turn, you’ll be putting yourself in a better position to combat stress with more ease and grace.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Partaking in mindless chatter, banter or gossip can be something that adds stress to your day with you consciously knowing it. Also, the company you surround yourself with plays a big role in this as well. If you have the chance to spend time away from people in your life that bring you angst and stress, do it for the sake of your mental health and sanity. Surround yourself with people that emulate the balanced, positive, healthy state that you are striving for.
In your bustling everyday routine, it’s likely that you don’t take inventory of what or who is causing you stress. Even more so, you probably do not contemplate if it or they can be eliminated. However, it will help you identify ways to be a better person if you take a few moments to account for your stressors and set some goals moving forward. For example, if you regularly gossip with a coworker at work and it brings you heightened stress, set a goal to kindly disengage from that conversation the next time the opportunity presents itself.
Perhaps stress will never go away and you will never reach a monk-like state. That’s completely acceptable and human. Simply look to take steps everyday towards coping better with your daily stressors. With some daily fun exercise, nourishing nutrition, adequate sleep and good support system, you’ll make extraordinary improvements in a short amount of time.
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.