We get stressed everyday from working long hours at our jobs. Most jobs, whether offline or online, aren’t really “fun” but we try are best to tolerate it through different techniques and methods. As a result, sometimes stuff happens that are beyond our control: we don’t get work done on time, we aren’t getting paid what we think we should get paid, and the “ideal life” we want seems to be drifting further and further away. When this happens, it makes us feel stressed. But what does this word “stress” really mean? To me, it means one, two, or all negative emotions that hit us in a period of time causing our bodies to go into a break down mode. These emotions can be anything from fear, anxiety, worry, frustration, and depression; while the body can be in any state from tense, irritated, shaky, weak, and lethargic. When we feel stressed; our bodies go into a dysfunctional state. One of the most common things people do is when stress occurs, they absorb these negative feelings and continue working, or they just wallow up in these negative feelings and quit working all together to do something more pleasurable like going through their emails, surfing on the web, and watching TV. If you’ve ever experienced this, because I know I have from time to time, then you understand that when you work under stress or negative feelings such as worry and anxiety, you cannot focus on your work and you rush to get it done quicker. You don’t rush to get it done quicker because the work is hard per se, but because you think that the quicker the work is done, the quicker the stress will be gone. Sometimes the stress does go away, but that leaves quality of our work in jeopardy. Similarly, allowing negative feelings to disrupt our working ethics or actions and look for more pleasurable alternatives can not only make this a bad habit, but make our work lives rather unproductive. We get nothing done, or we don’t get a lot done during the day because we’re trying to avoid stress through indulging in other pleasures. Over time, this can lead to major procrastination causing us to beat ourselves up internally because we didn’t accomplish as much as we wanted to. So how can we cure these two things and live a healthier lifestyle? There are a couple main things that are effective in relieving stress and it’s also important to do so because it allows us to focus better in a completely relaxed state, which ultimately leads to better productively and results. Here are some tips that will help you cope with stress.
1. Turning Negative Situations into Positive Situations Try your best to turn every negative situation, even the worst possible ones imaginable, into a positive one. Whenever a negative situation happens, remember, it is how you deal with them that results in what emotions or feelings you feel afterwards. For example, if you didn’t get that amount of work done that you wanted to, don’t say to yourself, “You idiot! You were supposed to finish by 9 o’clock! Why can’t you seem to finish your work on time; stop procrastinating!” Rather, you can say something like, “Hey, I know I didn’t finish my work by 9 o’clock, but that’s okay. I got some work done and that’s better than getting no work done. I just need to remember to take it one step at a time. Tomorrow I’ll improve and can do better.” Take it one step at a time. You’ll find out that sometimes your negative situation may be impossible to turn into a positive one, but there is always a way. You can think of many, many ways to reframe a negative situation into a positive one from using logic and reasoning or maybe thinking of it from a different perspective. Being positive even in the worst times will be the first step of reducing stress, and ultimately the last one as well so keep this mind even after you finish reading towards the end.
2. The Power of Exercise The second method to reducing stress is none other but the obvious and most natural way – exercise. If you find yourself to be in a really stressful situation, give yourself a timeout to take a break and go do some exercise. It’s better to take 20 minutes out of your day to relieve yourself and get rid of stress in order to work calmly for the next couple of hours, then to pretend exercise is a waste of time and then work for the next couple of hours being irritated and uncomfortable. When you take the time to go away from the computer and go outside to do anything that gets your heart and breathing rates pumping, you’ll be able to think better, concentrate on what needs to be done, be more creative, and find ways to solve your problems. This is because about 20 percent of our blood flow from our heart to our brain is increased while doing exercise, which contributes to the overall increasing of oxygen to the brain, helping us to think easier. So, find an exercise that you like to do, whether it’s jogging around the neighborhood or riding a bike around the park. Look at the view and see other people, feel the fresh air on your skin and allow it to enter your lungs circulating through your body. It doesn’t take too much time to do this and the benefits of exercise won’t just help you reduce stress but help the body become healthier as well.
3. Eating Way Healthier The next to helping stress is something you can see because it occurs within us and that basically involves simply eating healthy. Stress itself already takes away from our nutrients; you can imagine how bad stress can be when a body lacks nutrients that it needs. If you a reading this and happen to live in a metropolitan area or fast pace lifestyle, then the food you are getting probably consists of stuff like bread, doughnuts, pasta, beef, cheese, pizza and fasts foods. All this stuff doesn’t properly give the body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at maximum efficiency, then if you add soda, coffee, or anything with sugar, it burns up minerals and vitamins that you would have gotten from eating these types of foods. The “fresh” food we are getting isn’t as fresh as it used to be; nowadays the food that we buy goes through many different types of processes along with chemicals added to them which heavily reduces its nutritional value. As a result of not getting enough nutrients, or loading it up with sugary drinks, you’re body will feel jittery, irritated, lethargic, weak, and tired. At this point, adding any more stress to the body one shouldn’t be surprised if they go into a period of mental breakdown. It does take a little bit of discipline to eat healthier, as our culture and society is bombarded with advertisements that make unhealthy food absolutely enjoyable. But just be conscious of what you’re eating next time and treat your body as a good friend. For example, instead of red meat, eat fish, instead of eating French fries, eat an orange, and instead of drinking Cola, drink some water. You’ll find this in the long run, a healthy nutrient filled body with vitamins and minerals will an important part of keeping you and your body stress-free. 4. Learning to Let Go Physically this means relaxing your muscles. From your neck, to your shoulders, to your arms, and legs, learn to relax these parts of the body when they feel tense. Do little exercises like rolling your neck, rolling your shoulders, shaking your wrists and fingers once in a while, but most importantly letting your muscles loose. This not only prevents body aches in the future, but also helps you conserve more energy to do your work. When your body is tight and tense, energy is wasted and blood flow is constricted throughout the body, but when your body is relaxed, blood flow resumes steadily and easily throughout the body and you’ll be saving more energy for when you really need it. Mentally, learning to let go means stop obsessing over the little things in life. The three of the biggest things that causes our stress is: always wanting to be in control, always needing the approval of others, and always trying to be perfect. When you do not get these things, conflict occurs in the mind and tension occurs in the body which leads to all sorts of negative emotions and feelings. Realize that you cannot control everything in life; it’s supposed to be that okay. The most important thing is to have control over yourself, that’s the one thing that you can control, rather than allowing outside factors, which you cannot control, bother you. Work on yourself rather first before you worry about anything else and when you have this part conquered, you’ll find that you’ll be less and less stressed out. The second thing is the need for approval. When people do not feel like they are not approved by others, they can get angry or depressed. You don’t anybody to approve of you, you approve of yourself. You are just as wonderful as everybody else in the world no matter what other people think, so don’t let that area stress you out either. You are capable of doing anything anyone else can do and even better without anyone approving whatever you can or cannot. Finally, it’s the need to be perfect. Everybody has flaws in the world even if you sometimes believe that your problems are so much different from the world’s; you just don’t know them. It’s not necessary to be perfect in everything you do because perfection is just an illusion. It’s how you see being perfect. When you do not achieve being perfect, there is absolutely no need to become stressed out because there is nobody’s perfect. And obsessing over every action that you feel needs to be perfect when that it is against the laws of human nature, you are setting yourself up to be stressed. Relax, make mistakes, and fail. These things are okay. I always think to myself, the result of my actions may look perfect in the end, but I know the road in getting there will be imperfect Stress is how you make of it. As stated before, if you are capable of turning a negative situation and turn it into something positive, you will most likely never be stressed out. But in case you can’t, learn to take breaks and do some exercise, treat your body right by giving it proper nutrients it needs, and learn to let go of the small things that lead to negative and emotions. It’s okay not to be able to control everything, we don’t need to seek approval from others, and it’s impossible to be always perfect. So live a relaxed and healthy lifestyle but most importantly, be stress-free. You can do it!