Reduce Stress

Feeling stressed is something many people deal with. However, what most people don’t know is that they can control it. What is stress? Psychology Today describes it as “a reaction to a stimulus that disturbs our physical or mental equilibrium. In other words, it's an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body.” So how exactly can we reduce or control our stress?

You can reduce your stress level by doing just 5 things daily, according to this article.

  • Breathing
  • Meditating
  • Listening
  • Questioning
  • Purpose

Breathing, something everyone does every single day multiple times a day, so why are there so many stressed individuals? They key is deep breathing. Go ahead and take three deep breaths. In through your nose and out through your mouth. After doing that, a sense of calm washes over you. When you feel the stress starting to creep up, just stop and breathe.

Meditating is defined as thinking deeply or focusing one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. It doesn’t have to be anything religious, it’s just simply sitting in silence and silencing your mind. Once you can clear your mind for a brief time, you will feel the load lifted off your shoulder. The thing with meditating is being consistent. You have to do it everyday to get the full benefits, and just like learning anything new, it takes time to learn to quiet your mind. Be patient with yourself.

Listening, we all know what listening is, so why is it so hard to really listen to other people at times? It is defined as making an effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear something. Be alert when you are listening to someone talk, be present and value what they’re saying. Mckeown said “As professor Graham Bodie has empirically noted, listening is the quintessential positive interpersonal communication behavior.”

Questioning, not questioning other people, but your own thoughts. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. You are in control of your thoughts and you ultimately get to decide if what your mind is saying is true or false. Once you are aware of this, and start questioning your thoughts, little things won’t make you stress out.

Purpose, live with a purpose. Whatever you decide to do, really do it, be in the moment and be present. So if you want to read a book, just read the book and focus on only that.

That may seem like a lot of information to start doing, but it starts with our daily habits, just change one thing at a time so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Although these five things pretty much go hand-in-hand, I suggest starting with breathing and meditating. There are many apps to help you meditate, Headspace is my favorite. Also, here is a great article on meditation for beginners.