6 Tips to Stress Less

Stress is a fact of life, but being stressed out is not. If you feel like stress is taking over your life, it’s time to take action. Stress management is all about finding healthier ways to help you reduce the harmful effects of stress and prevent it from spiralling out of control again in the future.

Workplace related stress, in particular, is on the rise; a recent report in Ireland revealed that stress-related health issues affect 28% of workers. When we asked our very own Dr Sylvester Mooney about stress management and how we can reduce stress he outlined the following tips. Why not try one.

1. Exercise

There’s no denying it; physical activity is one of the best ways of preventing and alleviating stress. That doesn’t mean you have to turn into Usain Bolt though. Virtually any form of exercise is a great way of relieving stress and melting away tension, anger or frustration. Experts say 30 minutes is the perfect amount of exercise time but fitness levels can be built up gradually. Why not start using the stairs at work rather than the lift or put some music on at home and dance around? Here are a few more ideas to get your heart pumping and reduce your stress levels:

  • Take the dog out for a walk
  • Walk or cycle to the supermarket
  • Play football or an activity-based video game with your kids
  • Pair up with an exercise partner and encourage each other as you workout

2. Food

Alongside physical activity, adopting a healthy diet increases your resistance to stress. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Reducing caffeine and sugar will also help as they only provide temporary “highs” that often end with a “crash”. Reducing your intake of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate and sugary snacks will result in a better night’s sleep too.

3. Get Social

There’s nothing more calming than spending time with a person who makes you feel safe and understood. Effective social engagement is the quickest, most efficient way to lower stress levels and avoid overreacting to events that you perceive as threatening. The people you reach out to don’t have to fix your stress, they just need to be good listeners. Talking with friends, family or a counsellor about your feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress. And remember, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.

4. Avoid unnecessary stress

Some stress is predictable – family gatherings, the commute to work or the weekly meeting with your boss. Changing how this stress impacts on you can have a radical effect on your daily routine. You can either choose to change the situation or change your reaction; maybe the situation can be eliminated altogether? Or perhaps adapting the situation so you’re in control will make it more manageable. If traffic stresses you out, take a longer but less-travelled route. If going to the supermarket is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.

5. If you can’t change it, learn to accept it

Serious or profound stressors like the death of a loved one or a serious illness cannot be avoided. Acceptance is difficult but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change. It’s important to avoid trying to control the uncontrollable. Lots of things in life are beyond our control, especially the behaviour of other people. So rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

6. Make time for R&R

Stress can be reduced by making time for fun and relaxation. Taking time out of our hectic lifestyles places us in a better place to cope with the stress of everyday life.

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