Life gives us plenty of reasons to be stressed. Whether its relationship problems, child-rearing issues, money problems, life complications, or a number of other factors, the average person experiences a significant amount of stress throughout their life.
“It’s difficult to stay healthy and energized when stress is a daily reality,” says Greg Wells, Ph.D., author of The Ripple Effect: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think Better. According to Wells, stress can actually have a huge impact on how you live your life and can be damaging to your body and mental health. Here, Wells suggests seven techniques that can help you have a healthier “thought life” and recover from chronic stress:
- Move your body: Repeated motion is very soothing to the mind and body. It’s important to remain active. Activities such as walking, cycling, swimming, and running are great ways to relieve tension, improve circulation, and clear the mind.
- Get into nature: Going to the park, the garden, the woods, or anywhere outdoors is a great way to strengthen your immune system, reduce tension and depression, and boost your mood. "It’s stunning how good it is for your health to be in nature,” Wells says. “And I recommend you leave the cell phone and earbuds at home.”
- Practice Yoga or Tai Chi: Yoga, therapy, and Tai Chi are all great ways to decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost your immune system. They will also give you more stamina and improve the quality of your sleep.
- Have perspective: It’s important to not jump to quick conclusions like, “I can’t handle this.” Having a positive mindset is imperative when trying to combat stress. “This is truly a mind-over-matter opportunity,” Wells says. “Believing that you are strong and resourceful actually makes you stronger and more resourceful.” Another tip — Don’t give in to negative self-talk about not having what it takes to manage life.
- Change the nature of your response: Research indicates that taking an active, problem-solving approach to daily challenges helps to relieve stress and in turn, transform it into something positive. If you withdraw, deny the problem, or spend all your time venting, you’ll feel helpless. Instead, Well says, be determined to make a change, put effort into it, and plan for better results.
- Practice slow, deep breathing: You have probably already heard about the importance of breathing when it comes to high stress situations — breathing can actually make a huge difference. Wells recommends you start small by taking three deep breaths each time you sit down at your desk through out the course of your day. It will help you become more patient, calm, and relaxed.
- Focus on one task at a time: Each day, you should schedule time to focus exclusively on one task. Although people love to multi-task, taking things one-step at a time is much healthier. "People love to talk about multi-tasking, but while doing several things at once might make it seem as if you are working hard, it’s an illusion,” says Wells says. "Your body and mind are not designed to work that way and it causes extra stress."
For more tips on how to combat stress, visit Wells' official website.