Sometimes I wonder if I stress because I think I should be stressed. You have an upcoming exam or presentation and you know you should be stressed so you work yourself into a frenzy thinking “well Im meant to be stressed, I feel stressed, oh my goodness I’m stressed” – and just like that you are freaking out! Some degree of stress can be helpful and some people find this drives them – but there can be a point when it’s no longer helpful.
So what can we do to manage stress? How do we keep the mind calm and manage that rising fiery pit of stress and anxiety in our stomach?
The truth is I can’t give you a concrete answer because we are all different but I can share some tips that I share with my patients a lot of the time:
- Regular physical activity is key – I do harp on about this a lot but the truth is regular physical activity can do a lot to manage stress. Yes, its great for your cardiac health but its also great for the mind. So despite feeling like the stress levels are climbing and you don’t have time for exercise – you always do and it will help!
- Yoga/meditation – anything that gives your body and mind some down time.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol – there can be a tendency to use these types of substances to ‘self medicate ‘ but it can worsen stress – and if you feel stress levels climbing then I tend to avoid both of these.
- Write lists and sort out the things that are stressing you – stressed because you have an exam coming up and you feel under prepared – start building in more study. Stressed because you feel like you cant balance the kids, work and life – write down things you could do to get some help- do you need to call on more family or friend support? Avoiding what is stressing you doesn’t make it go away – acknowledge it and start finding ways to deal with it!
- Sleep – make time to let your body relax – sleep abates stress.
- Accept some level of stress – remember when the cave man was chased by a lion he was most certainly stressed and ran super fast and thats what saved him. Stress is helpful so harness some of it – but don’t let it get the better of you!
So theres some of my tips – see if some of them work for you! If you’re feeling stressed just reading this then I’m sorry! But maybe its time to start managing those stress levels… Good luck!