The good news is that there is plenty you can do to alleviate long-term stress. Of course, the most important thing is that the environment you are in is a healthy one. The pyramid of needs suggests that certain needs, such as personal safety and a sense of belonging, are necessary building blocks for the “higher” needs.
So the first thing to do is to consider where you fall on the pyramid. If you are lacking in any of the lower bands, then your stress has a concrete cause. It is important to acknowledge all sources of stress and seek support where you can.
These five tips will help you in short-term stress situations.
1. Practise Gratitude
You will be surprised just how much of a difference it makes. Gratitude isn’t about saying, “There are others worse off than you.” That’s a toxic statement, that only makes those hearing it feel guilty, and therefore worse. Gratitude is about focusing your brain on the good aspects of your life and enjoying the feel of them.
They can be small things, like, “I am grateful for how the sun looks when it rises,” to bigger things, like, “I am grateful for my family.” This really does work because it rediverts your attention away from agonizing over small details, towards things you can be happy about.
2. Light Exercise
Going for a short walk, or jog, for just 30 minutes makes a whole lot of difference. Exercise triggers the release of happy hormones, giving you a boost of joy. It also improves your circulation, quickens your reactions, and helps with fatigue.
Regular exercise also improves your overall health, which will have a knock-on positive impact on your stress levels.
This naturally occurring substance has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, without causing drowsiness. L-Theanine can even improve your focus and concentration levels if paired with caffeine.
L-Theanine has got other benefits too: Namely, improved immunity, blood pressure management, as well as complementing cancer treatments.
4. Regular Sleep Pattern
This is hard to keep up, but sleeping at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time is actually a lot better for your mental health than sleeping sporadically. We are creatures of habit, and we find a sense of security in regular sleeping patterns.
5. Positive Affirmations
Do you ever find yourself calling yourself names when you make a mistake? You drop a plate, “I’m an idiot!” Each of those self-insults actually piles up inside you, and becomes “fact” inside your head, as innocuous as they seem. This has an effect on how you perceive yourself, and your place in the world.
Try giving yourself compliments regularly. It’ll feel weird at first, but as time goes on, you will start to believe them. For example, if you get a small chore done, give yourself a mental high-five, rather than telling yourself it wasn’t enough. You’ll find yourself a whole lot less stressed, and a lot happier.