First, ensure that you have a reasonably balanced lifestyle. Healthy food, rest and exercise all help. Performing enjoyable activities and exercise is important. Good stress reducing activities work on the body and the mind, such as tai chi, yoga and walking. Try to have a calmer approach to life. Be less reactive when things go wrong. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of people or life generally.
If we expect things to always turn out right, we are setting ourselves up to be disappointed. Often stress follows. The fact of life is that things do not always work out as we want them to. So being calmer and more open to whatever happens will reduce stress.
Other activities that help are relaxation techniques. When we experience stress, the body tenses up. Begin with progressive muscle relaxation. Tense and then relax the muscles throughout the body, one at a time. Feel the difference! If we change what we are doing with the body, stress reduces. So if you are sitting down, stand up and walk around. If you are walking around, sit down and relax. Do something different. Change the situation. Take some deep breaths. Slow your breathing down. Relax and smile.
Socializing periodically and talking out your problems with friends or people who care about you also reduces stress. Having fun and not being serious all the time is good for stress. One thing not to do is to ruminate and let things play over and over in your mind. Get a distraction if something is worrying you. Attend to the cause of the worry in the best way you can. Then distract yourself with something pleasant. Change what you can change, and then put your attention on something positive rather than ruminating on what cannot be changed. Life isn’t perfect and never will be. But it does not have to be for us to enjoy it. So don’t waste it on being stressed or anxious. Learn to let go and be happy instead.
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