Healthy life: how to prevent & manage stress effectively
In the modern society stress is the number one killer and we would all like to discover the best ways in avoiding it and being able to cope with it. The best effective ways have been offered in this post in order to prevent and deal with this unpleasant emotional & physical feeling which can be dangerous to our mental health, to our overall well-being, can affect your everyday productivity and your happiness. Before going through the list of ways on how to recognise stress and the best solutions available on how to manage it, I would like to help you understand what exactly stress is, what signs to look for and what causes it in the first place.
What is stress?
Stress is the way our brain and body responds to demands and pressures which happen during the course of our lives. On the other hand, the right amount of stress can be a great tool to improve your performance, help with decision making & improving focus, boosting your memory and motivating you to achieve your goals.
What causes stress?
There are many things that happen in our life that can cause stress but the main thing, that in my personal experience causes stress, is the inability to resolve a situation either for the lack of tools or because we just don’t have the capacity to face it. Please find below the principal causes of stress:
Having too much work to do and not being able to catch up
A financial situation
Loss of job
Not able to find a job
Long distance relationship
The death of a loved one
Working long hours
Lack of sleep
Being unhappy or being unfairly treated in your job
Work project (deadline)
Taking care of an elderly family member
Lack of exercise
Discrimination at work place or elsewhere
Preparing for an exam, an interview or a work project
A natural disaster event
How can I prevent stress?
Having a balance in your life is the key! Being able to have a balance between your work life, your personal life and time to relax is crucial in order to achieve a happy and healthy living. Planning is very important in order to pursue this goal so having a daily schedule where you can write all your plans, tasks and all your other commitments will help you in organising your day better and avoid being stressed. Also making sure that you keep an eye on your finances as it is very easy to slip up and go over your budget as having a balance is also related to that.
If you are having financial difficulty or would like to improve your finances check out the post “How to resolve your finances and get back on track”
Keep active every day! This is another important factor to help to avoid stress in your life as if you exercise you are more likely to be more productive and feel healthier. Sometimes we are stressed because we are aware that we don't have a strong, toned and flexible body and when we look in the mirror we don’t like what we see. That can lower down our self esteem leaving us feeling unhappy, anxious and unmotivated. Lack of exercise can also cause health problems such as depression, anxiety, obesity etc. which can build up making it more difficult for us to manage the situation. That is because doing activities such as Pilates, yoga, dance classes, swimming etc. can help us to release tension and cope better with the everyday demands reducing stress in our life.
Doing 15 minutes of daily meditation! Having some time in the day to reflect, relax and unwind can help us to escape the trap of stress. Our body is meant to be active but at the same time it also needs time to recuperate the energy and clear the mind.
Keeping close family and friends around! This is a great way in order to avoid stress and fall into depression. Having the right people around can be very comforting and a good support system in order to face the everyday life problems, pressures and demands. Sometimes just talking to someone close that you can trust or ask them for advice can really half the problem making it easier to cope and to not feel stressed.
How do we manage stress?
This is the moment where you need to put yourself together as even if some of my previous tips on “how to prevent stress” also apply on how to cope with it this time things will be trickier. Stress does affect our life significantly and if we don’t do something soon you might be lacking the good health and the resources needed in order to deal with it. Here is a guide to how to manage stress so please follow all the steps below:
In the course of my life, as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, a balance in your life is very important in order to prevent stress but it is also needed to manage it. But another crucial factor is your health as if you don’t have a fit mind and body how can you have the energy and strength to cope with the everyday demands and pressures? If you don’t have a fresh and clear mind in the morning how can you find ideas and solutions to your problems? It would be impossible and eventually you will get sick and you will not have the capacity to look after yourself and to your loved ones.
How can I ensure that I am healthy?
Sleep 7-8 hours a day minimum (you might need more hours depending on how difficult and physically demanding your day is).
Invest time to yourself: have a spa session, go to the gym or take part for example in a Pilates class), go for a nice walk on the beach or to the park, read a book etc.
Eat a healthy diet! Even if I didn’t mention that earlier this is a great way to prevent and cope with stress. Including a healthy cuisine in your daily routine can boost your immune system, regulate your moods and help you to have the energy needed during the day. If you would like to find out how to boost your immune system and what food to eat check out the post “Feel amazing: how to boost your immune system” and if you are into smoothies there’s also a vegan recipe for you to try!
To ensure that you keep in good health it is fundamental to look at all the aspects in your life and one of these is how we manage our time. Time is one of the most precious and valuable resources that we have because once it is gone we can’t get it back. In this fast paced life we never seem to have enough of it but with a little mastering of time management skills (new post coming out soon on this topic), we can organise our days more efficiently, be more successful (you might be interested to read about “14 Secrets on how to become successful”) and we can have enough time to do at least the most important and urgent tasks. Of course, I strongly recommend that that includes not just tasks but also time for relaxing, to spend with our family and/or friends, sleep and to look after ourselves in general. Lastly if you wish to make most of your time productive you mustn’t procrastinate too much because this not only keeps you away from achieving your goals but it can also demotivate you and affect your quality of life. Bear in mind that procrastinating is not always a bad thing like for example myself if I am working on something big and I am lacking ideas in that particular moment, then I will be working on something easier first or creative and then I will go back to the other task later.
You can also check the post “How to be more productive: 10 Simple perfect habits”
To end, most of these tips can help many people to make their life easier but it is important that you understand that all these don’t matter unless you have a good positive attitude in life. You have to work on yourself first, maybe overcome deeper problems that hide inside you (such as a tough upbringing, a loss of a loved one, difficult family members etc.) or maybe lack of education which can cause you unawareness of the way the society works and ignorance in how to solve and face life problems. Life is not easy but with a little bit of optimism and strategy we can all find a way to overcome obstacles and avoid having stress in our life.
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