8 Steps to a Stress-Proof Day
8 Steps to a Stress-Proof Day
by Monica Rosa for GoingHappier.com
It’s 6:05pm, you’re still at work, and you’re about to pack up to go home when your phone unexpectedly rings. It’s your boss asking for another report that is needed as soon as possible. After a grueling day at work, you walk through the door to cook dinner, help the kids with homework, do laundry, and pay bills, knowing that your weekend will be filled with a birthday party, children’s athletic events, family dinners, and perhaps some unexpected emergency. Does this sound like a stressful day? It doesn’t have to be. There are a number of ways to reduce the stress that comes with a busy lifestyle. Here are some tips given recently by Thea Singer (in the March/April 2012 issue of Psychology Today) that will help you to “stress-proof” your day:
- Reinterpret a negative experience – See the glass half full, rather than half empty. If you left your phone in the car or the elevator is broken, for example, see this as an opportunity to get in an extra walk or a quick daily workout.
- Help someone else – Studies show that doing something for someone else can be calming, make you feel good, and result in stronger feelings of happiness.
- Set short-term goals – Instead of focusing only on potentially stressful long-term, difficult goals, set short-term attainable daily goals. Completing these short-term goals can help you accomplish future goals in a less stressful manner.
- Build Social Support – Make sure you have a friend to whom you can always reach out to discuss stressful experiences. Research using brain scans has shown similarities in how the brain reacts to emotional pain as compared to physical pain. However, such reactions are slowed down for people who have more social support.
- Stop and Notice – Take the time to notice at least one good thing that happened in your day. This could be as simple as not spilling your coffee or making it to an appointment on time.
- Meditation – Meditation has been shown to actually alter the physical construction of our brains, building up gray matter in brain regions associated with emotional regulation and slowing down brain activity in regions associated with fear.
- Sleep, sleep, and sleep – Our society doesn’t get enough sleep. It’s the first thing out the window when we become stressful and begin to worry. Sleep deprivation can cause a spike in stress hormones and cause an imbalance in other hormones.
- Get out and run! – Exercise can raise the “good” stress hormones. It increases endorphins and in general makes you feel better about yourself. It helps boost your immune system, which stress can affect. So, instead of going straight for an unhealthy stress relief (like a cigarette or a trip to the bar), take a walk or go for a bike ride instead.
Stress is inevitable, whether at work or in our personal lives. The key is not only to manage it but find ways to relieve stress. Taking the time to exercise, sleep, and meditate are just a few of the ways to do it. Find what best works for you and practice it daily. Nothing is worth your health and happiness!
Want to learn more? How about “The perfect amount of stress” by Thea Singer in the March/April 2012 issue of Psychology Today.