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Simple Steps to Stress Less and Accomplish More

Stress is the culprit behind many of today’s illnesses, diseases and overall poor health. But learning to stress less or cope with stress can go a long way to help you stay sane and healthy in today’s world.

Stress Less

Learning to reduce stress is the first step in taking control of your life. It may take practice, but well worth the efforts. Here are some tips to help:

· Reduce your commitments. Balancing your workload and social commitments can go a long way in reducing the feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. If your workload is too much to bear, consider asking for help or reorganizing your time so you can better control it. If your social commitments are too much, learn to say no. And try to keep the balance between healthy activities and social activities because physical health is intimately linked to mental health.

· Let go of any guilt. Many people overextend themselves in work and their social life as they feel obliged to do it all. But sometimes work can be shared and often will not fall apart if someone else shares the load. At the same time, social activities should be a fun way to enjoy family and friends, and help reduce stress.

But if you are committing because you feel guilty, it is time to let go of the guilt and inform your loved ones when you need time to stay home and relax.

· Turn off the gadgets. Cell phones, laptops and other gadgets offer plenty of apps for social media, that can be very distracting. Social media can interfere with work, as more time is wasted leaving less time for commitments or responsibilities. In the end, this can greatly increase stress unless you get it under control.

Leave your phone off when you are busy with other tasks or turn off notifications, so you don’t get distracted. Try timing yourself to just 30 minutes of social media, and you might be surprised at how much time you truly have to make deadlines or do things that are truly enjoyable.

While learning to reduce stress can help lighten the load, using practices that help you cope with stress are also beneficial. Here are some tips to help.

· Deep breathing exercises help dispel negative feelings and instill a sense of calm. One of the symptoms of stress is shallow breathing, which can create feelings of anxiety. Pay attention to your breathing and when you feel stress coming on, try stopping and taking a few deep breaths to help calm your body. Deep breathing exercises can be practiced at home for just 10 minutes each day, making it easier to use the practice as a stress reliever any time you need it.

· Exercise is a great stress reliever. It not only helps you feel stronger, but literally increases the production and release of chemicals that are associated with calm feelings and happiness. Regular exercise can improve your mood as it raises self-confidence and lowers symptoms of mild depression. And it can help you feel empowered as it takes your mind off the stress of the day, while you focus on fitness.

Using a workout app like Yes.Fit can keep you motivated and you get a great reward when you finish.

· Meditation is an effective and safe form of stress relief. During meditation, you train your mind to clear the busy talk that can add to daily stress. The benefits may include less symptoms of anxiety with more calm, as well as an ability to better relax the body.

· Qi Gong is a practice that many people call meditation in motion. It involves slow, fluid movements of the body in a controlled manner. It can help you focus on the bodily movements, thus removing your mind away from stressful thoughts. Advocates of Qi Gong claim the practice loosens muscles and joints, thus releasing stress, and can improve heart and nerve function.

Many who practice it do so in a park or other outdoor, relaxing setting to promote even more stress relief.

· Tai Chi is similar to Qi Gong in that it involves focusing on postures, movements and breathing. However, Tai Chi is considered a martial art as opposed to Qi Gong, which is considered a wellness system. This system of martial arts involves a series of choreographed, fluid movements that incorporate attack and defense principles, and helps condition the body while training your mind.

Altogether, one can develop a sense of peace and tranquility with practice.

· Yoga has many physical and mental health benefits from uplifting the mood to building core strength. Some say it is a way to connect with a higher power and help them feel more connected, which is important in today’s busy lifestyles. Yoga also takes advantage of breath work and can have similar relaxation benefits like deep breathing. This is because during the poses, you are instructed to also pay attention to how you are breathing.

Between focusing on the body and breathing, thoughts that create stress are set aside, so you can relax and enjoy your mindfulness practice. Here is a Yoga challenge to get you started.

· Eat well to maintain a healthy mindset. It is no secret that processed foods are high in added sugars and salt, which can interfere with healthy hormones that make you feel well. Some ingredients used in junk or highly processed foods can interfere with healthy brain development as it drains important nutrient resources from your body. This leaves less nutrition for your brain. To make matters worse, an insufficient diet will not provide the healthy fats and other nutrients that your brain needs for healthy functioning.

But a healthy diet will support high energy, health and feelings of well-being, so you feel your best all the time.

There are many simple steps for stress relief that you can do at home or on your own. Learning to cope with stress can help you not only feel better, but allow you to accomplish more as you put your energy into taking care of yourself instead of worries.

So, begin practicing today and you can experience a better tomorrow.

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