Stop Stress Ruining Your Life – 5 Ways

As you probably know, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, high levels of unmanaged stress can lead to very serious physical symptoms and illnesses.  But did you know that excessive stress can also cause damaging changes in your behaviors too, such as stress eating or self harming?  These are just two ways in which stress can serious ruin your life.  But there are many others.  Here are my five best tips to stop stress from ruining your life.

Tip #1 Make Everything Bite Sized

Question: How do you eat an elephant?  Answer: One bite at a time!

Just like the joke, if you are faced with an enormous task that seems just too hard to do, break it down into little achievable steps and tackle them one at a time.  It’s easier to accomplish small goals and doing so will give you a great sense of  achievement.  And as you finish each small step, you will be moving closer and closer towards your overall goal.  One day you will wake up and realize you’ve actually done the enormous task and how good will that feel?

Tip #2 Be Kind To Yourself

Have you ever heard the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”?  What this means is that everyone always looks to be better off than you (in whatever way you’re thinking about) when see from your perspective,  And “falling short” is one way to pile the stress on.  Stop self sabotaging.  Stop comparing yourself to everyone you meet.  That way you can never come off worse.  And if you don’t allow yourself to feel inferior to everyone you meet, you will soon find your confidence starting to soar.

Tip #3 Get a Furry Friend

Stroking a furry animal has been shown to have such beneficial effects on your stress levels and heart health that hospitals allow them in to help patients manage their stress,  And research has shown that during a play session with a dog, the owner’s and dog’s serotonin levels rose and stress levels fell significantly.  Pets can give your mood a much needed lift but if you are allergic to fur, don’t worry.  Any pet, even a goldfish can be a great boost after a hard day.  Just make sure you repay your pet’s loyalty by looking after it properly.

Tip #4 Laugh More

Laughter is great stress relief.  It helps the body to clear the stress hormones and helps to release serotonin. But even if you don’t feel like laughing, faking it still works because it still releases “feel good” endorphins.  One of the best ways to fake a laugh is to stand with your legs apart, inhale and stretch your arms up over your head.  Now bend down to place your hands on the ground.  As you do so, exhale, letting out a great big “Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha” sound.  Return your arms over your head and repeat.  I guarantee you’ll soon be laughing for real.

Tip #5 Do Some Spring Cleaning

Having too much clutter in your living spaces is depressing for most people.  So when you are suffering with too much stress, one of the easiest ways to make yourself feel better is to declutter some part of your home (But see Tip#1).  Choose one small area to tackle first, such as your kitchen work surfaces, your desk top, T-shirt drawer or anything that is easy to spot.  Focus on it and tidy, clean or throw out things as needed until you have a spacious and relaxing environment where you can relax and unwind and think clearly.

Remember, most daily stresses are temporary.  All stress passes in time but you can go a long way to reducing it on a daily basis if you put these stress busting tips into action.

What’s stress relief technique do you use?

Why Can’t Some People Say No?

Why do some people find it so hard to say “no”?  With our lives all spiralling out of control with the amount of stress we take on each day, one of the simplest ways to lower our stress levels is to learn to say, “no”.

Some people are scared of saying “no” for fear of giving offense or of being seen as rude and unhelpful.  And certainly, when said in the wrong tone, saying “no” can be both rude and offensive of course.  However, when said firmly, politely and couched in appropriate explanations, it is one of the most empowering and liberating words in the English language.  And it can also help to lower your stress levels – something we all need in these stressful times.

But how do you say “no” when someone needs your help? It can be tough when you know that there is no-one else who can readily help and you may feel emotionally blackmailed to help out.  In this situation, you need to be firm and explain politely why you cannot help.  be considerate and offer alternatives if you can.  Maybe you could assist in a different way which would not take up quite so much of your time?  Or maybe you know of someone else who could help instead?  Either way, you need to be true to yourself if you don’t want to end up frustrated and tense, especially if saying “yes” ultimately means that you would miss out on something else that you did want to do.

Of course if you find it particularly difficult to say no, it could be because you lack the necessary self confidence. Low self esteem can force people to say “yes” when they really want to say “no” because doing what other people want them to do makes them feel loved, wanted, even important.  But they are mistaken.  People like this are taken for granted, undervalued and used.  Eventually they realise this (even if they do not acknowledge it to themselves) and their self esteem plummets further.  They become desperate for attention and say “yes” to anything anyone asks of them, and the whole cycle starts again.  They are scared that if they say no, that no-one will notice them anymore.

However, constantly doing someone else’s bidding in this way and ignoring our own wants and needs (and the wants and needs of your self esteem) is a sure way to pile on the stress.  And if saying “yes” means that you feel a knot tightening in your stomach, then you should say “no” even if you think it will make you unpopular.

However, if you really cannot say “no”, then don’t beat yourself up about it.  Decide to do the task in good humor.  Apply  yourself.  Be diligent and enthusiastic. If you do this, time will fly and you will feel less stressed.  And who knows, you might even enjoy yourself!

Be assertive.  Learn to say “no” when you need to and notice how your stress levels fall.

What tricks do you use to help you say “no”?