Help for staying calm, cool and collected
There are many techniques that can help you de-stress. Relaxation techniques are often used, and they're easy to learn.
You can also take some practical steps to help ease anxiety.
Remember: However you choose to reduce your stress, practice makes perfect!
1. Say "ohm"
Harvard's Herbert Benson, M.D., developed a simple way to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Here's his method:
2. Relax those tense muscles
Learn to relax your entire body.
3. See it, be it
A technique called "visualizing" is a good way to remove yourself mentally from a stressful situation.
4. Practice relaxed breathing
When sleeping, we usually breathe from our diaphragm. (That's a muscle separating the stomach and the chest.) This type of breathing takes less effort and is usually more efficient than the breathing we do while awake. As a result, it is more relaxing.
How can you practice relaxed breathing?
5. Deflate your fears
Examine your thoughts to see whether the situation deserves as much stress as you feel. Ask yourself some questions:
You might find this technique can help reduce stress to a more manageable size.
6. Learn to say "No"
Do you already have more responsibilities than you can comfortably handle? If so, you might need to set some limits.
Stop promising more than you can handle. Be polite, but just say, "No. With the current responsibilities I have, I cannot take on more at this time."
Practice makes perfect!
7. Manage your time
Planning helps reduce stress. One way to manage your time is to set priorities. Write a to-do list and schedule time to work on top priorities first. This can help you get the most important tasks done, while controlling the stress you feel about them.
8. Eat right
Many of us reach for a favorite comfort food when we are stressed. Chances are, it's high in fat, sugar or salt. From a health perspective, your comfort food can be bad for your health.
Several studies suggest that a good diet may reduce stress. And eating right might also help you feel better about yourself!
9. Get active
Many studies show that exercise can reduce stress. For maximum effect, try an aerobic exercise, such as running, swimming or brisk walking, for 20 minutes or more. If you can't do that, even a 10 minute walk can help.
How does it help?
10. Reach out
Talking about problems with someone you trust helps relieve tension. You may prefer a larger community, such as a spiritual group, an interest or hobby group, or a sports team.
Happy hour might not be the best way to reduce stress. Having a glass of wine with dinner might have health benefits, but excessive alcohol consumption can make matters worse.
And stay away from situations that make you feel uncomfortable or that reinforce unhealthy habits. Those might add to your stress.
11. Give therapy a chance
You might continue to feel overly stressed. Consider talking with a therapist about how to:
A therapist can help you to understand how thoughts influence your stress level. You can learn to change your thoughts and your experience of stress.
If anger is a problem, a therapist can teach you to be more aware of its cause. You can work with a therapist to learn how to express your anger more constructively.
And if your chief source of stress is a relationship at home, try couples therapy or family therapy.