Many, if not most, Americans are stressed out, overwhelmed, and overburdened these days. In fact, too many of them are feeling totally stressed out and exhausted. Going through the day feeling stressed has, in fact, become the “new normal.” People have forgotten how to relax, even when they are supposed to be on vacation.
We are learning more and more every day about the health consequences of stress on human beings, both physically and psychologically, and research is constantly revealing new information about the effects of stress on the overall quality of our lives. New books are coming out almost daily pointing to the problems inherent in not getting our stress levels under control.
Most of us think of stress as bad—something we would like just to eliminate once and for all. A lot of the stressors that we experience are not the result of negative events, however. Getting married, having a baby, buying or selling a house… these are all stress creators, but they are the result of positive events.
Stress isn’t necessarily good or bad. It’s created by change. Furthermore, the stress we feel is more often the result of our perception of the change as opposed to the fact of the change. One person might not be stressed by the same event that would send another person completely over the edge. So, stress doesn’t have to be “bad.” In fact, new research points to the fact that stress by itself isn’t as troublesome as our attitude about stress.
We do need to pay attention to how we respond to stress, however. A report from the American Institute of Stress indicates that (1) 40% of American adults experience negative health effects that are the result of stress, and (2) between 70%-95% of the visits made to our family doctors are the result of stress-related complaints.
As bad has this information may sound, there are practices that you can adopt as part of your daily lifestyle that will help you deal with stress more proactively and responsibly. There are, in fact, seven (7) practical habits that you could start incorporating into your daily lifestyle that would help you become stronger and more resilient. They don’t cost anything, and they are simple, if not necessarily easy, practices that you could begin right away if you were to decide to practice them as part of your own routine.
7 Strategies For Dealing With Stress More Effectively
The seven (7) habits or practices, not necessarily in any order of importance because they are all important both individually and collectively, are as follows:
- Pay attention to your breathing through the day. Developing a habit of breathing properly for optimum health and wellbeing.
- Eat well by consuming whole, unprocessed foods that contain the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs for optimum health.
- Sleep for 6 ½-8 hours each night.
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water every day.
- Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes each day at least five (5) days a week including both cardio and weight training into your routine.
- Have fun and pursue a hobby that makes you feel good. (Even if it is just going to lunch with a friend or buying flowers for yourself. Do SOMETHING that makes you feel happy!)
- Practice meditation or spend time in grateful prayer every morning for 10-20 minutes.
Please understand that incorporating these seven (7) practices into your life daily will not eliminate your stress. If you have a difficult work situation, the difficulty is going to continue even if you are drinking the minimum recommended amount of water every day, and you are getting all the sleep you need. They will improve your overall resilience, however, so you can more proactively and effectively deal with the events that might otherwise throw you for a loop. Incorporating these lifestyle changes into your life will help you. You just need to give them a try to see for yourself.
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
About the author
Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT is a Certified Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach and is an ICC at CareerHMO. Visit her coaching page here.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CareerHMO coach. You can learn more about coach posts here.
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