Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
Avoid, or at least reduce your consumption of, nicotine and all drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it.
Swap caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and aim to keep yourself hydrated as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.
It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby or a growing credit card bill. But when you give yourself permission to step away from it, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed. It's important to not avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), but even just 20-minutes to take care of yourself is helpful.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, problems with sleeping or sex, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.
On top of that, if you handle stress with food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, overspending, or other things that don't solve the problem, you're going to end up with more stress.
☻ Chest pain
☻ Pounding heart
☻ High blood pressure
☻ Shortness of breath
☻ Muscle aches, such as back and neck pain
☻ Clenched jaws
☻ Grinding teeth
☻ Tight, dry throat
☻ Constipation or diarrhea
☻ Stomach cramping or bloating
☻ Increased perspiration, often causing cold, sweaty hands
☻ Weight gain or loss
☻ Skin problems such as hives
☛ 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
☛ Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It's better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
☛ Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
☛ Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audio books, pod-casts, or music. Many people find it's more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
☛ Recruit an "exercise buddy." It's often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
☛ Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
☛ Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
☛ Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
☛ Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
☛ Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
☛ Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
☛ Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you're feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
☛ Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you're feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
☛ Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
☛ Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
☛ Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
☛ Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
☛ Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
☛ Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
☛ Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
☛ Learn to just say, "No" occasionally. It won't hurt other people's feelings as much as you think and is simply a method to be more assertive in your own life, to better help you meet your own needs.
☛ Get the right amount of sleep. For most people, this is seven to nine hours a night.
☛ Cultivate a sense of humor; laugh.
☛ Research has shown that having a close, confiding relationship protects you from many stresses.
☛ Don't run from your problems! This only makes them worse.
☛ Talk to your family and friends. See if they can help.
☛ Make time for music, art or other hobbies that help relax and distract you.
☛ Learn to identify and monitor stressors. Come up with an organized plan for handling stressful situations. Be careful not to overgeneralize negative reactions to things.
☛ Make a list of the important things you need to handle each day. Try to follow the list so you feel organized and on top of things. Put together a coping plan step by step so you have a sense of mastery.
☛ Keep an eye on things that might suggest you're not coping well. For example, are you smoking or drinking more, or sleeping less?
☛ Keep a list of the large and little hassles in your day versus the major stressful events in your life. This helps you focus on the fact that you're keeping track of and managing those as well as you can.
☛ Set aside a time every day to work on relaxation.
☛ Avoid using caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, junk food, binge eating and other drugs as your primary means for coping with stress. While they can be helpful once in awhile, using them as your only or usual method will result in longer-term problems, such as weight problems or alcoholism.