Reduce Your Stress: Your Longevity Depends On It
Your CHRONIC Stress Is Killing You
Determine what is causing your stress right away.
Writing can help because your stresses will affect your body in a different way when you read them. Getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a great 1st step. It won’t solve all your problems related to stress but it will help your mind begin to organize a plan to combat it.
While some mild stress can keep you on your game and remind you about what is important, chronic and uncontrolled stress can cloud your mind and take you off your game. It can cause you to be more irritable and prevent you from having a good night’s rest. In some cases, stress can cloud your memory to the point that you cannot remember simple everyday things. And, memory loss can creates additional frustration and stress.
Stress Identification isn’t enough, however. Monitor your state of mind throughout the day. If you feel stressed by things that don’t normally bother you, that’s usually a sign that you have bigger issues not yet resolved.
You need a plan
Once you know what’s bothering you develop a plan for addressing it. That might mean setting more reasonable expectations for yourself and others or asking for help with household responsibilities, job assignments, or other tasks.
It can help to create a list.
Not everything ON YOUR LIST deserves your equal attention.
Lists can help you prioritize what requires your immediate attention. Ask for help and delegate tasks. You are not magical; others have the ability to help you get tasks done. Stop telling yourself you have to do everything; not only is it unhealthy but it is unreasonable.
If you aren’t used to asking for help, start small. Allow others to do the tasks that have got you stressed out. You have no special powers to do all the tasks on your own. List all your commitments, determine your priorities, delegate what you can, and then eliminate any tasks that are not absolutely necessary.
- Build strong relationships. Relationships can be a source of stress. Research has found that negative, hostile reactions with your spouse or partner cause immediate changes in stress-sensitive hormones, for example. Your greatest sadness and happiness usually come from your life partner. But, relationships can also serve as stress buffers. Reach out to family members or close friends and let them know you’re having a tough time. They may be able to offer practical assistance and support, useful ideas, or just a fresh perspective as you begin to tackle whatever is causing your stress.
- Eliminate the need to do for others what they can do for themselves. When you continue to do this, you rob the person of the ability to master the skill and you are enabling their helplessness.
- Walk away when you’re angry. Your body will signal to you that you are being triggered. It is okay to let the offender know that you need to walk away and you will return in 60 minutes to continue discussing the issue. When you return, it is you honoring and respecting the relationship. Walking or other physical activities can also help you work off steam and give those stress hormones something to do. Plus, exercise increases the production of endorphins, your body’s natural mood booster. Incidentally, committing to a routine of a daily walk or other form of exercise is a small step that can make a big difference in reducing stress levels.
- Rest your mind & body. To help ensure you get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye, cut back on caffeine, remove distractions such as television or computers from your bedroom, and go to bed at the same time each night. Fiercely guard your sleep time. Research shows that activities like yoga, stretching and relaxation exercises not only help with getting you to sleep but also serve as immune boosters and stress reducers.
- Get help. If you continue to feel overwhelmed and don’t see any relief in sight, seek professional help. One way to filter for a mental health professional is to use www.PsychologyToday.com. Learning how to manage stress can not only lengthen your life but provide you with a more enjoyable life overall. A mental health professional can help you identify situations or behaviors that contribute to your chronic stress and then develop an action plan for changing them.