11 Ways to Reduce Stress and Decompress

Do you feel overly stressed out on a daily basis? The fact is, everyone has to deal with some stress on a regular basis, no matter what our lifestyle is. The challenge then becomes how to manage it effectively to significantly reduce it.

Here’s some common symptoms and how this affects your body. Myself, I’ve had to deal with headaches and grinding my teeth throughout the years.

  • Fatigue and loss of sleep
  • Headaches and back pain
  • Digestive and stomach problems
  • Acne and/or Skin problems
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Weight loss and gain
  • Irritability, forgetfulness and more
  • Depression

For the majority of people, money, the economy and work are the most common sources of where our stress originates from. So, it’s important that individually, we do all we can to reduce stress on a daily basis.

OK, here are 10 tips to help your cope and deal more effectively with stress throughout your day.

1. Exercise – This is one of the key things you should be doing almost every day to manage your stress levels. When I’m feeling overly stressed, I will normally go for a long run. This will not only help you to stay in shape, but significantly reduce your stress.

2. Breathe – This is something that I learned many years ago. Take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds. Then exhale slowly on a count of 10 seconds. Rinse and repeat the process 3 – 10 times. You can do this throughout your day as needed.

This is really effective at night time when going to bed. It helps to slow down and clear your mind. If you have ever listened to relaxation CD’s, one of the very first things they will have you do, is take several deep breathes.

3. Self-Massage – OK, this can be a little more difficult if doing it yourself. One technique that I learned listening to a relaxation CD a few years ago, tense up each muscle group for a few seconds, then release. Repeat that for your entire body, starting with your toes and working up to your head. See how that feels afterwards. Of course, if your significant other will massage you or getting a professional therapeutic massage can do wonders too.

4. Deal With Conflict Right Away – Since this can be source of stress for many people, if you are having problems or issues with a loved one or a colleague at work, then the best approach is to deal with it and eliminate it.

5. Go For a Walk – Although exercise was mentioned above, I will say that if you are feeling stressed, but don’t have time to go for a full workout, a quick 10 minute walk outdoors can be really effective. Make sure you are doing some deep breathing exercises too. Plus, the added benefit, you get some vitamin D from the sun.

6. Take time off – OK, this may sound obvious. However, think about all the times you are away from the office, yet you find yourself thinking about a project that you need to get done next week. Most of us are probably guilty of that. However, it’s really important to decompress and reduce stress, to take both a day off physically and mentally.

It’s OK to turn your cell phone, computer and email off because the world will not come to an end if you miss a few calls or emails. This reminds me of several conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues at work regarding vacations. Some will tell me that they love spending a few hours each day just sitting by the pool or on the beach relaxing.

Others have told me they go stir crazy just sitting around relaxing and are always on the go. I’ve personally never understood the need to be busy all the time on vacations. The entire point of a vacation should be one of recharging your batteries.

7. Learn to delegate – This might be hard for some of you to let go of certain tasks. It’s critical that you learn to delegate your work load. This applies to work and in your personal life. Last summer, my wife and I decided that it’s time to get someone to do the lawn. Hey, some people love spending the outdoors doing yard work as a way to decompress.

Personally, it’s just more work in my mind. Doing that one little simple step of having someone come each week to cut the lawn was right for us and reduced my stress of not thinking about cutting the lawn.

I see far too many people in our society working 6o – 80 hours per week. Seriously, if you can’t get your work done in about 40 – 45 hours per week, then you have a serious problem at your job. You actually become less effective working that many hours. I recall talking to a good friend of mine who’s a CEO and president of a company. His philosophy has always been to delegate and keep his workload to no more than 45 hours.

8. Eat Healthier – Many of us, know the importance of eating healthier. What you eat will have a direct impact on your stress levels over time. If you get stressed and find yourself drinking more or using drugs to cope, then you may have a real serious problem that requires professional help. Your body will be able to cope more effectively with stress with a healthy diet.

9. Nurture Yourself – It’s really important to take time for you. That could include spending quality time with your family, exercising, getting your nails done and just having fun. Myself, I really enjoy going to movies in the middle of the afternoon since I do shiftwork because the movie places are nearly empty. For others, it might involve taking a quick power nap for 30 minutes.

10. Stay Positive – What you think about does affect your stress levels. Having a more positive attitude can make the difference. If you find yourself thinking negatively, mentally say to yourself – stop and move onto something positive.

11. Meditate – This can be a really effective strategy. Go to a quiet place in your home, close your eyes, relax and take some deep breathes like I mentioned above. Don’t try and think about anything else. Be in the moment when meditating.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to incorporate everything in a single week. Try and do 1 of the above mentioned activities each week. Before long, you will have incorporated all 11 activities into your lifestyle.


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