Ten top tips to Reduce Stress
1) Choose. Stress is our subjective response to unwanted demand - so if we choose to do something like the washing up or shopping, it will be less stressful. Don't forget that staying where you are, omitting to make any changes, is also a choice!
2) Manage expectations. Expectation levels are usually formed in our childhood; "You should be getting 100% in that exam!" can set up unreasonably high expectation of self, which we project onto others too. We are often striving for perfection, and as a result feeling that we have been let down. Unrealistically low expectations can be protective, but set a low mood or low sense of self.
3) Be time-boundaried. "I will just finish my e-mails" can mean working beyond what is reasonable for us humans. Work to a certain time and then stop. How good is your work at midnight when you have been working all day? Use some triggers to stop work - such as a change of clothes or shutting the car door when arriving home.
4) Eat well and exercise. Remember, "diet" is just a four letter word. Eating without stressing over your food and engaging in meaningful exercise will reduce stress.
5) Join in. Isolation and loneliness can also be stressful. Feeling lonely in a crowd when you don't choose to be can be stressful. Join in your local community, a local club, or follow a passion with others.
6) Be kind to yourself. Learning to be kind to yourself and to stop beating yourself up is vital to reducing your stress levels. You can learn how to go easy on all us other humans too!
7) Avoid S.M.O.G. You may still be following the rules someone else set many years ago. If you find yourself using Should, Must, Ought or Got to, ask yourself (a) where does this come from? (b) Is it true? and (c) Is this being kind to myself?
8) Reduce caffeine. Caffeine can increase our stress levels, so try to reduce your coffee and tea intake.
9) Learn to meditate. We spend too many hours in "fight or flight" nowadays. Taking up yoga, tai chi or simply learning some breathing exercises can bring us down into a relaxed alpha state which is a great state for the mind and body.
10) Get help. If you are struggling, don't be afraid to get help. It is a sign of strength to ask for help when you need it. Watch your body for signs of stress and it will tell you when you need to get help (IBS, skin problems etc).
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