Relieving yourself of stress is an incredibly important part of practicing a healthy lifestyle. Healthy refers to more than just in terms of eating, after all — it’s just as important to have a healthy mind as it is to have a healthy body.
In order to reduce stress, we have to realize stress is something that can have many different causes. Of course, there are the more common causes such as money, inability to balance work and life and personal or professional drama. There are, however, some causes of stress that are often overlooked, and they might be causing you stress without you even realizing it.
Not Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep pays a big role in causing stress. If you don’t get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day on a regular schedule, it can have a serious impact on your stress level. It’s also been proven that high stress levels can cause sleep deprivation, due to the fact that stress often leads to anxiety and emotional tension. Quitting caffeine by noon can sometimes help, try taking a hot shower or soak before bedtime. Try a little sleepy time herbal tea, to help you get some much needed shut eye.
Learn to Say No
A big cause of stress is simply taking on too much in your daily life. Think of it like being in debt — you spend more than you have and are in over your head. It’s no different than having too big a work load or too many commitments. Learn to say no. Sometimes our plate can become too overloaded and we have to learn to say no, and take on less responsibility. Then stick to a schedule for your priorities. Prioritizing what’s most important and having a daily routine can greatly decrease the level of stress in your life. Think about what you can relieve yourself of that isn’t vitally important and take that responsibility out of your life — postpone social commitments that don’t negatively impact others and start saying no to things that you don’t need to say yes to.
On the contrary, sometimes spending time with family and friends can be an excellent way to relieve stress. Without putting too many social commitments on your plate, go ahead and plan a weekend getaway with family and loved ones. Spending a little time having fun with the people you love gives you the chance to escape from your daily priorities and workload.
Watch Your Diet
Your diet can also affect your stress level. Too much caffeine, too much junk food and sugar, not enough hydration throughout the day — these are all things that can wear you down physically and cause you to stress out more. Eating healthier is a great way to feel less tense and stressed, as is exercising. Your muscles alone can be impacted negatively by high stress levels — loose, stretched muscles won’t become as tight and painful under stress as they would otherwise.
Another big cause of stress that is often overlooked is always being connected to others. Try unplugging from the world for a little while. Log out of social media, put your phone on silent and away to give yourself a break. Taking time for yourself and not constantly being available to others is extremely important when trying to reduce stress levels.
Take time to relax. Give yourself breaks throughout the day to sit down and reflect, breathe and recharge, and clear your mind of all that’s going through it at every minute. Practicing something called thought management is a great way to do this — it involves training your brain to reject thought patterns that cause stress and anxiety.
It’s important to identify what’s causing you to be stressed, as it generally varies from person to person. Identify it and sort out how to deal with those stressful causes in a healthy way. Making little changes here and there over time is key to successfully relieve stress. You’ll certainly want to avoid doing too much at once — even if it’s implementing changes in your life to reduce stress. With simple changes and a healthy mindset and diet, you can easily reduce a lot of stress driven activities in your life, and see the positive results in no time.