You just had a fight with someone who took your parking spot. Your friends think you have turned into a Disney villain. You start daydreaming about the end of the day even though the day has just begun. Your mind constantly feels like a whirlwind of a hundred different thoughts. What is happening to you? In one word: stress.
A significant source of comfort and concern is that you are definitely not alone. As per the American Psychological Association (APA), 87% of people in the country felt like being on a constant stream of crisis and stress over the last few years without having a break. Along with jam-packed schedules, deadlines, and regular stressors, APA’s 2022 stress survey indicated that people were becoming increasingly stressed due to economic conditions, political unrest, pandemic-related anxiety, and other global problems.
A little amount of stress is good. It can motivate you, improve your memory, and help you be more productive. However, when left unchecked, stress can have unhealthy implications on your physical and mental health. This is exactly where Stress Awareness Month comes in – an entire month dedicated to raising awareness about the negative impact of chronic stress and providing people with effective and useful coping techniques.
Stress Awareness Month was an initiative started by a non-profit organization Health Resource Network (HRN), in 1992. Today, the month is marked as a global event every April to spread awareness about the implications of chronic stress.
This Stress Awareness Month, it is essential to take a step back and reflect on how we manage stress in our daily lives. While there is no escaping the stress of our regular lives, with good coping strategies, we can take potent steps toward alleviating stress and building resilience in the long term.
On that note, here are some of the most effective and practical stress management tips to help you deal with stress and stay healthy this stress awareness month and beyond.
The Best Stress Management Tips
1. Take a breath.
One of the easiest and most important ways to get through stressful life situations is to just take a breath. If you do something that many times a day, you can often fail to understand the importance of it. Therefore, taking a breath can seem like the most simple and most basic thing to do. Yet, it is one of the essential things to do when you feel out of place and stressed out.
In short, whenever you feel stressed, breathe. Take small breaks. Try to take a walk out in the open and take deep breaths. Slowing and concentrating on your breathing can help you connect with yourself and calm you down even in the most overwhelming moments.
2. Find small things and ways that make you feel in control.
One of the main reasons behind feeling stressed is the feeling of not being in control of your life. Most people would be unable to control their stress and make it through difficult life situations. But think of people like pilots, neurosurgeons, and others employed in high-risk jobs. These people have been trained to keep their stress aside, control their emotions, and get the job done. Therefore, when a pilot flies through a storm, it is not that their hands don’t shiver or their heart beats not rise – it is just the ability to feel in control of their situations that help them get through.
Similarly, if your life feels out of control at the moment, try to focus your energy on the things you can control. For instance, if your schedule feels overwhelming, list things you need to do. Include the smallest and biggest tasks in the list in ascending order of difficulty. Now try to get the small things to get done first. Once you start crossing small stuff from your to-do list, you will eventually feel like you can get the big stuff done as well.
3. Try not to pass judgments, at least for 3-5 minutes.
Do you habitually judge and assess things and people at every step of the day? If yes, this could contribute to a lot of stress in your life. “This would be so much better if….” “I wish they would just ….” Combat this guilt-tripping and righting reflex by simply trying to be around someone or something for three to five minutes without passing judgment. When you delay your judgment and assessment, you let go of the stress and make space for positive feelings like understanding, acceptance, and gratitude.
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Stress Awareness Month is marked every year in April to help people understand the harmful effects of chronic stress. It is the perfect opportunity to address the growing stress in our everyday lives and devise effective coping techniques to deal with it.
Wondering if you are stressed out or not? Take the stress test right away to find out.
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