We all experience stress from time to time. The bills keep on coming. Work is demanding more and more of your time. There never seems like there is enough hours in the day. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the stresses of life, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your stress levels and breathe a sigh of relief when you need it most.

Identify the Stress in Your Life

Before you can begin reducing your stress levels, you must first identify the sources of the stress. While it’s easy to pinpoint the sources of stress related to major life events like losing a loved one or switching jobs, identifying the sources of regular everyday stresses can be much more difficult. Looking inward and discovering your stress-inducing behaviors, thoughts, and feelings is no easy feat. Sure, you may recognize the fact that you’re always stressed out about work deadlines, but your procrastination may only be adding to the stress.

Get Active

Physical activity is essential in preventing reducing the negative effects of stress. However, you don’t need to be a gym rat or professional athlete in order to reap the benefits of physical activity. Nearly any form of activity can help relieve any stress you experience, because exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins that make you feel good. Regular exercise can also be a valuable distraction to the worries of daily life.

You will get the most benefit from exercising for at least 30 minutes each day, but you can gradually build up your fitness level if need be. In fact, small bursts of activity can make you break a sweat and provide you with a boost of energy and optimism. Here are a few ways to inject some more physical activity into your life, boost your mood, and reduce some stress:

  • Go for a walk
  • Dance to some music
  • Park at the far end of the lot and walk the extra distance
  • Walk or bike to the store
  • Get a workout partner for added encouragement and motivation
  • Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Play Wii, table tennis, or another fun activity-based game

When it comes to stress reduction, it’s important to incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine. Rhythmic or continuous activities, such as running or swimming, are especially effective stress reducers. Just remember to choose an activity you enjoy. After all, the more you enjoy doing something, the more likely you are to keep doing it.

Be Social and Talk to Others

People may be the cause of your stress from time to time, but engaging socially with others is one of the best ways to keep stress in check. When you talk with someone who understands you and makes you feel safe, stress reducing hormones are released, soothing the nervous system. Since the brain wires the heart, stomach, face, and ears together, speaking to someone socially face-to-face and making eye contact can quickly induce a calming effect and limit any defensive stress responses.

That being said, a pal won’t always be around during stressful times or situations. However, by maintaining a close network of friends, you can improve your ability to cope with life’s stresses.

Limit Predictable Stress

Although stress is little more than an automatic response from your body’s nervous system, certain stressors can occur at predictable times, such as your morning work commute, business meetings, family reunions, and so on. When faced with these predictable stressors, you’re faced with two options: changing your reaction or changing the situation.

Relax and Have Fun

A positive attitude and take-charge approach goes a long way when it comes to reducing the stress in your life, but taking the time to nurture yourself can be equally as effective. By regularly penciling in some fun and relaxation time, you’ll find yourself better equipped to positively deal with life’s stressors. So, go ahead and come up with several ways you can relax, have fun, and recharge your batteries. Make it a point to implement at least one of the ideas every day. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Go on a nature walk
  • Play with a pet
  • Listen to music
  • Light your favorite scented candles
  • Enjoy a long bath
  • Play a fun game of racquetball
  • Savor the flavor of a cup of java
  • Call a close friend
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Read a good book
  • Treat yourself to a massage

It’s easy to feel powerless when faced with stress, but it’s important to remember you still have complete control over your thoughts and emotions as well as your lifestyle and how you deal with the problems of life. Ultimately, reducing stress comes down to taking care of yourself, changing stressful situations when possible, and most importantly, making time to relax and have fun.

Author's Bio: 

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