Your Knuckles are bone white and you’re gripping the steering wheel so tightly you can’t discern where your fingers start and the wheel ends. Your pulsing pounding heart feels like it might burst out of your chest at any moment. You just had a narrow escape from a serious accident!
Danger triggers the stress response. Unfortunately, so can work conflicts, concerns over debt, bad memories, or anxiety in general. Although one bad day at work won’t compromise your health, weeks or months of stress can dampen your immune response and raise your risk for disease. During uneasy times, it is essential that we take some time out of our day for stress relief.
If you suffer from chronic stress and can’t influence or change the situation, then you’ll need to change your approach. Be willing to be flexible. Remember, you have the ability to choose your response to stressors, and you may have to try various options.
- Recognize when you don’t have control, and let it go.
- Don’t get anxious about situations that you cannot change.
- Take control of your own reactions and focus your mind on something that makes you feel calm and in control. This may take some practice, but it pays off in peace of mind.
- Develop a vision for healthy living, wellness, and personal growth, and set realistic goals to help you realize your vision.
Be sure to carve out some time to relax and take care of yourself each day—even just 10 to 15 minutes per day can improve your ability to handle life’s stressors. Also, remember that exercise is an excellent stress reliever. It is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
Everyone has different ways they like to relax and unwind. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Take a walk – Pull over at a park and take a 10 to 15 min walk in nature.
- Read a book – If you’re driving listen to an audible book.
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Play a sport – preferably something active, but if billiards or bowling puts you at ease, do it!
- Spend time with a friend or loved one
- Meditate – Take a few minutes to unplug from daily distractions and just relax.
- Don’t forget to laugh (it’s proven that laughter can reduce stress)
While you can’t avoid stress, you can minimize it by changing how you choose to respond to it. The ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun!