Does life seem like an overwhelming chore that brings you little joy, but plenty of aggravation and grief? You are probably one of the millions of people who have let stress take control of your life. If you struggle with excessive fatigue, stomach upset, headaches, muscle tension, and poor sleep then you may be one of the 77% of all Americans who suffer from physical symptoms of stress. Nearly 73% of Americans experience psychological difficulties related to stress, including nightmares, panic attacks, and depression. Work, home, relationships, and other daily stresses can take their toll on you, but there are practical, easy, and effective steps you can take (Photo by Nathan Cowley).
Yes, stress is a fact of life, just make sure it doesn’t take precedence over everything else. Manage it by thinking about what brings you joy and take measures to allow more of it into your life. A new work out, a coffee break with a supportive friend, having a home cooked meal at home with your boyfriend or husband, are all great ways to enhance your life. Life is too short to skimp on the experiences that bring genuine joy to your heart. On the flip side, reflect upon what you need less of in your life, so you can become more peaceful. Less time nursing hangovers, curtailing useless, time- consuming meetings, are all things you can happily kick to the curb.
Don’t start off too grand. You can’t simplify your life and manage stress overnight. Take baby steps. Take a walk on the beach instead of blowing-up when friends or family members upset you. If you feel overwhelmed on the job by uncontrollable forces, choose one drawer of a file cabinet and reorganize it. Try some simple self-care techniques to calm and relax you. Have a cup of hot tea or take a whiff of essential lavender or peppermint oil to soothe your frayed nerves. When you feel like you’re going to “lose it”, change the rhythm of your breathing by inhaling deeply, relaxing your shoulders, and exhaling slowly. Breathe deeply five or six times until you regain composure.
Always make room for exercise. Physical activity, whether it’s walking the dog or taking a group fitness class can make you feel more creative, alive, and better about life in general. Working out, doing cardio, playing sports are dynamite ways to build a great body, blow off steam and burn calories! Exercise is the only real fountain of youth available and it’s here for everyone. Don’t forget to stay mentally fit by working out your mind. Reading, travel, bridge, and crossword puzzles can keep those wheels turning and sharp as you tune out needless stress and anxiety that age you.