Stress isn’t called the silent killer for no reason! Stress, if left unmonitored, can be absolutely deadly and has the power to cause high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, negatively impact your memory and even your perception of time, and much more.
In a world of ever-growing worries and ever increasing stress-levels, it’s more important than ever to cultivate healthy habits and implement strategies that help you effectively manage your stress levels.
Personally, having had a stressful childhood, I constantly find myself battling extreme stress, and these are 5 strategies that have greatly helped me lower my stress levels and come to a mental space of peace and serenity. Here they are:
Decluttering and Organizing a Small Area of Your Space
Stress often stems from a feeling of lack of control. Maybe your finances are suffering or you’re surrounded by toxic family or you’re not reaching your personal goals. In every stressful situation, the common denominator is feeling like you don’t have any control over your circumstances.
By taking 30 minutes to declutter and organize a tiny section of your space, such as a tiny portion of your closet or a single kitchen drawer, you help lower your stress in 2 ways:
Firstly, you take back that sense of control. You may not have control over everything right now, but you do have control over some of the things in your life. Secondly, you offer your brain a good distraction. When you’re organizing or decluttering, your brain is forced to focus on the task at hand, giving you that small reprieve from agonizing over your worries.
When you’re finally done organizing, you’ll feel so much better than when you started and you might even see new solutions to your problems that you couldn’t see before.
Before moving on, there’s an important statement I want to make.
You are NOT your circumstances.
Read that again. You are NOT your circumstances. Always remember that no matter what is happening in your life, those circumstances are not your identity. You’re not a failure and your personal identity should NOT be rooted in your circumstances.
Working out is a powerful technique to manage stress. Not only can you zone out and temporarily avoid focusing on your problems, but additionally, working out releases a cocktail of endorphins and feel good chemicals that reduce your perception of pain.
These endorphins give you a much-needed physical, mental, and emotional boost that translates into lowered stress levels.
There are a million and one ways to get your body moving. Next time you’re experiencing a lot of stress, head to the gym for a workout session, or go for a long intense bike ride. Choose something you enjoy and let your body do the rest of the work.
Singing, Dancing, and Listening to Music
Music is an excellent gateway to connect to your emotions. Music forces you to feel deeply. Part of the reason why we can experience such high stress levels, is because we simply can’t accept what’s going on in our lives and around us. But, through music, you can allow yourself to sink into your pain, to feel deeply and really connect with your own emotions. Once you do that, it becomes easier to accept your circumstances, and with acceptance come feelings of peace and freedom.
When you add a physical aspect to this technique by dancing, you further immerse yourself into the present moment where regrets from the past and worries from the future simply don’t have the power to touch you.
When you’re feeling like things are out of control next time, let music take care of you. Sink into the music, and let the music sink into you.
All of our problems exist in the past and the future. It’s the regrets and self-admonishments from the past that we constantly dwell on. It’s worries of the future that plague every minute of our lives. Conversely, in the present moment, when you’re meditating, none of that exists. It’s just you, your breath, and the silent observation of your thoughts. You become an entity separate from yourself, just an observer of what your mind is thinking. Through this, all your worries are put into perspective and you can simply let go of your stress.
Meditation is an immensely powerful practice. It’s been used by cultures all around the world for centuries to center themselves and find the peace within that we all possess. Meditation has numerous proven benefits, the most important one being that it has the ability to calm you down within minutes.
Give this mindful practice a try next time things are not going quite the way you’d like them to.
Writing and Planning Things Out on Paper
This is a technique that I’ve just recently discovered and it’s my favorite method yet! This exercise is action-oriented and involves making a clear and concise list of all your problems and then brainstorming all possible solutions.
Sometimes, our problems can pile up to the extent where we almost forget where they begin and where they end. By taking the time to clearly write out every single problem you have, you can often be left surprised by the actual content of your worries.
You can download my free worksheet right here, or follow along to use this method.
Start off by grabbing a piece of paper or a notebook. Label it, “All My Current Problems” then start compiling a detailed list of every worry. Make sure to leave a block of space between each problem as you’ll be coming back later and filling in each section with more stuff.
Once you’re done with the entire list, take a minute to tune into how you feel. You’ll probably feel way better already! There is something incredibly cathartic about emptying your brain of all your worries and putting them out in the world on paper instead.
Now, go back over each problem and start making bullet points about what caused the problem, and then, what solutions you have at your disposal.
Go through this process for each problem. I guarantee that by the end of this exercise, you’ll feel loads better and be ready to deal with your worries head-on because you’ll now have a detailed action-plan!
You might also find during this exercise that some of problems were far smaller than you thought or maybe didn’t even exist outside of your head, allowing you to finally fully let go of them.
Give this exercise a shot and download my free printable worksheet if you want to save yourself some time!
Stress isn’t something that should be taken lightly. It’s a deadly disease that we should constantly strive to keep clear of. I hope these strategies will help you effectively deal with your stress as much as they’ve helped me! Let me know what your favorite stress-busting method is in the comments below!