Stress! Not the first time you have heard the word, and definitely not the last. Everyone experiences stress and anxiety from time to time.
Some people even report that they feel stressed out every single day. So, I decided to write a guide on five stress management techniques that will help you on your journey to living a stress-free life.
What Causes Stress?
Before we dive into the strategies for relieving stress, it is important to understand where the stress is coming from and why it occurs in the first place. Although everyone has different levels of stress, there are a few main causes:
I chose to use the word academics here because of how broad it can be. Stress can derive from elementary school, secondary school, university, or college.
It doesn’t matter what level of education you’re in because everyone is impacted in different ways. It is important to maintain effective study habits that will prevent you from falling behind.
With the world moving at lightning speed, students feel the need to achieve and maintain perfect marks.
Failing to do this seems like the end of the world and dramatically impacts the drive and motivation of any individual.
As a student myself, not achieving the highest possible mark makes it seem like my future career and life could be in jeopardy.
There is a ton of outside pressure to do well and sometimes it can get the best of you. As a result, some people might experience mood swings, anxiety, or even early signs of depression.
This one is likely an obvious trigger for many people. Whether it’s a bad manager, a poor work environment, or a heavy workload, stress in the workplace is extremely common.
Choosing the wrong major in college can lead you to be forced into a position where any of these problems may occur.
Work stress can take a large toll on your health and well-being. It usually has a greater impact and affects other areas of life outside of work.
This could be anything from your sleep quality to your relationships (more on this in a minute).
Financial independence is one aspect of life that almost all individuals strive for. However, this also means that it does not usually come easy.
Expenses are always rising, whether its food, shelter, or clothing. This makes it extremely difficult to keep up.
Hundreds of thousands of people rely on their bi-weekly or monthly paychecks to cover their bills and live independently.
Imagine the stress impact that this can have on your body over time!
If you are always worried about how to cover your expenses, your mind will never have a chance to relax.
Your productivity will decrease and your body will become very tired and weak.
If this sounds like you, continue reading because these techniques should help to relieve your financial stress (or at least take your focus elsewhere for a bit).
The last common trigger I’ll talk about is relationships. This could be with your significant other, friends, and family. It also applies to those who are searching for a partner to spend their life with.
Emotional stress is the biggest aspect of relationships. Having a fight with someone you care about can lower your self-esteem and cause you to feel lonely and sad.
A tense relationship with another person might also affect your sleep at night and control your everyday thoughts.
5 Techniques to Manage Stress
Okay, now let’s get to the helpful section of this article. The techniques I will share with you are going to help immensely when it comes to preventing, coping with, and relieving stress.
My goal is to help everyone remove their stress and live a happier life. Although there are hundreds of ways that people choose to deal with stress, these are some of the strategies I like the best:
One of the most important ways to tackle stress, and also one of my favourites, exercise.
Why do I love this technique?
Because of the unlimited number of forms in which exercise can be performed. Here is a list of them:
- Weight Training at your local gym
- Jogging or Running (indoors and outdoors)
- Yoga (this one is a perfect stress buster)
- Martial Arts
- Walking (go on a nature hike)
- Rock Climbing
- Shopping (believe it or not, this involves a lot of walking)
- Sports (my favourite)
I just listed 11 ways to exercise in 30 seconds. Do you see what I mean now?
It doesn’t always have to be your typical running or weight training routine that you hear most often.
There are so many ways to exercise, allowing you to tailor it specifically towards your own personal interests and hobbies. If you are the adventurous type, rock climbing or martial arts might be best suited for you.
And on the other end of the spectrum, if you are more of the relaxed type, yoga or dancing would be perfect for you.
Exercising can not only take your mind off of the stress, but it also has substantial impacts on your health (positive effects).
People who do this regularly will automatically become more tired at night, therefore improving their sleep quality.
Stress can often keep you awake at night, but if you are always tired, your mind and body will no choice but to shut down for the night.
If you didn’t already know, stress hormones (like cortisol), are lowered when you exercise.
This, along with the release of endorphins, a chemical that improves your mood and acts as a painkiller, combine to combat the stress in your life.
Try to find an activity from my list, or your own, and create a simple routine that you can follow every week. And who knows, you might even find a new hobby or passion while you’re at it.
2: Immerse Yourself in a Relaxing Environment
Environment is everything! Your stress level is directly impacted based on your surroundings. This is why it‘s critical to find the right environment that allows you to stay calm, relax, and escape from reality.
There are a few different ways to improve your environment, whether you are at a work office or at home.
The first one is the smell. Aromatherapy has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for all sorts of health-related issues, including sleep, stress, and anxiety,
Have a candle that you love the smell of? This is the perfect time to light that candle and place it nearby. The soothing light from the flame and the scent will help you to stay focused on your tasks and reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety. You can also invest in a diffuser that purifies the air using essential oils.
Not sure which scents are the best? Or maybe you just don’t have a favourite in particular. Don’t worry, I have provided you with several different scents that you can use to get started:
- Roman chamomile
- Ylang ylang
- Orange or Orange Blossom
All of these scents can be purchased as a candle or essential oil, depending on which one you choose to buy.
3: Meditation & Yoga
My third technique is one that I previously mentioned under Exercise… Meditation & Yoga. If you’re a guy, you might be thinking that yoga is only for girls, but I promise this isn’t true.
Believe it or not, there are hundreds of professional athletes that actively practice meditation and yoga to improve their mental and physical health. If you have never tried either one before, I HIGHLY recommend you start as soon as possible.
Firstly, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as mindfulness, or focuses the mind on a particular object, thought or activity.
They do this to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm or stable state.
Meditation has been around for centuries as a method of self-healing, but it also has a substantial impact on relieving stress.
The second component of this technique, yoga. Along with practicing mindfulness, yoga is a form of stretching your muscles and learning to control your breaths.
When you are in a state of extreme stress, it is important to know how you can calm your mind to focus on what matters.
Yoga is the perfect solution for this!
Here are a few common yoga stretches that you can perform to relieve stress:
- Easy Pose (Sukhasana)
- Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
- Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)
- Thunderbolt Pose (Vajrasana) with Eagle (Garudasana) Arms
- Side Stretch
- Plow Pose (Halasana)
- Corpse Pose (Savasana) with Blocks on Head.
4: Effective Time Management
Now for your favourite technique, effective time management (just kidding, it’s probably your least favourite)
What better way to manage your stress than preventing it in the first place. Time management can have a massive impact on stopping stressors from happening. The first key tip is: Don’t Procrastinate.
As you know by now, stress most often occurs when you have a ton of things to get done and no time to do it.
This problem is only enhanced when you choose to procrastinate and avoid completing your tasks. So, if you tend to procrastinate and get distracted easily, STOP!
My second tip is: Make a Schedule. But, not your simple schedule where you list out your tasks… I’m talking about one that has reminders that alert you prior to your deadlines.
This will ensure you always have ample time to plan out your days based on what you have to get done.
You can take advantage of your devices and use a calendar app, or write it out the old fashioned way (but, this way won’t give you alerts).
The last technique I’m sharing might sound stupid, but I promise it works effectively. Stress levels are dramatically heightened when you feel like you are fighting alone.
Chances are that there is someone else facing the same stress as yourself.
Find that person! Work through your problems together until you can assure yourself that you’re not alone.
Friends! It doesn’t matter if you have a million friends or only a small circle of friends… talk to them! Many people tend to block out their friends, and anyone for that matter, when they feel stressed.
If this sounds like you, STOP! Your true friends are going to be there for you no matter what and will try to help you get rid of your stress.
If you have a long list of tasks to complete, maybe they will take some time to help you get it done.
Even if it’s just to have someone to talk to, your friends can really relieve some of your stress.
Family! Yes, family can go under socialization. If you are lucky, your family should be the biggest and most important group of support you have.
They love you, care about you, and want you to be safe at all times. Do NOT be afraid to talk with a family member you trust when you’re feeling extra stressed. Usually, family members also know the best things to say to make you feel better.
I know most of you end up mindlessly scrolling through social media when you feel stressed!
While social media comes directly from the word socialization, I recommend you actually stay away from social media as much as you can.
Seeing other people posting about the good things in their lives will only make you feel worse than you did before.
You can, however, use social media effectively as a method of communication with people who want to help you, so don’t think you have to stay away completely.
The moral of this technique is that socialization essentially helps you to maintain a sense of connectedness to others, therefore reducing stress levels and increasing your ability to cope with your stressors.
Feeling less stressed yet? I sure hope so.
Even if you aren’t, now is the time to start incorporating these tips in your life.
I promise that they will help to not only relieve your stress but also prevent it from happening in the first place.
If you have any techniques that you love using, share them in the comment section below.
Together, we can live a stress-free, happier life!