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5 Steps to De-stress Your Life

5 Steps to De-stress Your Life

April is National Stress Awareness Month. Stress is one of the fundamental emotions we feel. Stress is created when performance does not match expectations. For instance, stress is created when you only have 5 hours to write and edit a 20 page paper that is due in class the next day.

Stress is also created when you get into a wreck on the way to work. On top of the traumatic experience of a car wreck, the stress builds when you remember that you are (1) now late for work, which you were going to be early to, and (2) you are now going to have to worry about the financial implications of a wreck, which you were expecting to not have to deal with today.

In both cases, expectations cannot be reached, and you feel that everything is just impossible. This affects your mood: turning it sour. You suddenly snap at people for almost no reason. The world becomes a dark and lonesome place that works toward your everlasting misery.

Stress takes your performance and throws it in the dirt. Wetting that dirt down with water, it begins to rub performance around until it is covered in mud—providing low quality, and almost useless work. Stress ruins productivity, that’s why we need to learn to de-stress as often as possible. Here are 5 steps to reduce the amount of stress in your life.

Exercise

So many people put this item on a general health to-do list that they never seem to get to. Not only does it give you energy to attack your day at full speed, but it also helps you relieve the anxiety of a busy day. A simple 20-minute walk or jog can help you for half a day.

Laugh

Find ways to laugh all the time. Take breaks to read something funny. Subscribe to comic strips you enjoy. Track down that walking comedian of a co-worker and hang around him or her as often as possible. Find reasons to laugh and your blood flow will improve while tension decreases. Nothing beats the stress like a hearty laugh.

Take Care of Yourself

Stress is often aided by the fact that you haven’t eaten well, slept enough, or socialized adequately. A malnutritioned or sleep deprived body can’t cool you down. Strained relationships with family and friends will tear you apart from the inside out. When these parts of you aren’t in harmony, stress increases because you know you would rather be fixing those aspects than ignoring them.

Pay attention to your needs and take some time for them, especially when you’re stressed beyond belief. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get back to work.

Stop Everything and Meditate

Sometimes you just need to stop thinking to calm down. Put everything down, close your eyes, and try to relax. Breath deep and just let things simmer for a minute or two. If you have time for a brief powernap, take it. You’ll reset in a way you didn’t know you could.

Find Things to be Grateful For

Stress comes from focusing on the negative. When you take a moment to realize all of the positive things in your life, your mood can’t help but improve. Strive to find more to be thankful for than to be bummed out about. Your stress will decrease significantly with that approach.

Remove the stress from your life by exercising, laughing, taking care of yourself, meditating, and being grateful. You’ll find you live a happier life naturally when you practice each of these principles on a daily basis.


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