Are you looking for ways to help you lower stress fast?
When life gets busy or overwhelming, one of the first things that happens is my stress skyrockets. I end up rushing around, forsaking any quiet time or relaxation that helps to keep me sane.
The past few weeks, my schedule has been chop-full of running around from one thing to the next. My days are go-go-go and I’ve hardly found the time to take a breath.
It hit me when I was just sitting at my desk trying to work on some things and suddenly I felt extremely anxious. I couldn’t pinpoint what was making me feel that way. My stomach tightened and my mind started racing with anxious thoughts.
All of a sudden the too-short time slot I had scheduled to be productive was completely and utterly useless.
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After spending time in that stressed-out feeling, something I’ve been doing way too much, I decided to get up and reset.
Stress happens when we don’t allow our minds and our bodies time to rest. It happens when we aren’t paying attention to the things we truly need. It happens when our priorities are out of whack or our time with God gets pushed to the backburner.
Are you looking for ways to decrease your stress?
You and me are in the same boat, friend. And let me tell you, I’ve found some VERY effective ways to decrease my stress.
The problem is committing to doing what my sanity demands of me! Let’s make this commitment together. Just this week, let’s try to incorporate more of these 7 things into our lives.
If you’re ready to lower stress when life gets busy, keep reading!
**If you are dealing with something major and believe that you need to learn how to cope with unhealthy stress, it is important to consider counseling or therapy in addition to these strategies.
1. Cut Out TV
I cringe when I think of avoiding TV altogether. It has become such a part of my “relaxation” and my routine. I use it to reward myself when I’ve been super productive or to distract myself when I’m overwhelmed.
Other times, TV is a straight up addiction.
I’ve spent the better part of the last month addicted to the story of Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their dramatic yet oh-so-engaging family. (Officially a This is Us fan over here).
But when one episode ends, you just have to find out what’s next. And when you have to go to bed (much later than planned) you spend the next day obsessing over fictional lives.
If you can at all relate to this, let me tell you, we’ve been wired to think that TV is the stress reliever we need.
When I’m stressed, I want nothing more than the distraction of Netflix.
But maybe you can also relate to that sort of drained, sort of hopeless feeling you get when you switch the TV off?
It’s the reawakening of reality. The stress that you left when you flipped on the TV is still waiting for you.
TV is not a stress reliever, it is a distraction. And sometimes, the distraction makes it that much harder to come back to our reality. So we hit next episode.
I’m SO guilty of this. But this week I want to commit to cutting out TV. It’s not easy, I’ve tried this several times.
But if you can do this, I guarantee your mental health will improve. It won’t take away the stress, but it will help you to better cope.
2. Start Your Morning Right
Don’t reach for your phone first thing! Resist the urge to check emails, Instagram or snapchat.
Not only is the flood of social media not healthy to wake up to, but the light your phone emits alters your brain’s functioning and can cause added stress or anxiety.
I was so stuck in the habit of reaching for my phone and scrolling through social media or email first thing. I needed something to help me wake up and for a while, I used my phone as a crutch.
But starting with my phone left me feeling drained by the time I finished breakfast. For a while, I couldn’t explain why I was feeling this way.
Maybe I wasn’t sleeping well? Maybe I needed to get to bed earlier.
But as soon as I broke the habit of looking at my phone and instead began to start my morning first thing with reading my Bible or sitting outside, my mood and my energy levels changed completely.
Let’s try this week to start the morning without our phones. It’s going to be tempting to reach for it, but find something else you can reach for instead!
3. Eat Well
Your diet can affect your mood and stress levels in so many ways. You can probably agree that when you’re traveling and eat a lot of fast food, you feel more sluggish and depressed?
Eating healthy fuels your brain to cope with everyday stressors. You need those vitamins and nutrients to sustain a healthy mental state. If you want to lower stress, be sure to pay attention to what you’re eating.
Don’t let yourself binge as a way to relax. This will undoubtedly cause more stress at a later time!
It’s almost as if you’re sending the message to your body that you care about how you feel. When I’ve been intentional about eating well, I’ve seen my own stress levels drop.
Exercise is so important to a healthy mental state. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that cause happiness and lasting joy.
It doesn’t have to be an intense, hour-long, 5-day a week work-out plan. Just get outside and take a walk, ride a bike, get moving and get your heart rate up.
When you do this regularly, your stress will drop.
5. Make time for friends
Your social support network is one of the BIGGEST ways to fight against stress, depression, anxiety, etc., etc.
Don’t make excuses that keep you from spending quality time with friends. It is this time with your friends that will equip you to be productive and efficient.
Make tme, even if it is just an hour each week to spend with friends. Even if you don’t notice a difference right away, you will be building the resources you need to cope with any stressful event or experience.
6. Essential Oils
It took me a long time to finally give essential oils a try. One of the biggest reasons I started using them was to reduce my stress and anxiety in more natural ways. It has been eye-opening how powerful and research-based using essential oils for stress relief and anxiety can be.
These all have been shown to have powerful anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and relaxing properties. I even made a roller including 7-10 drops of each (fill the rest with pure grapeseed oil) and roll it on anytime I'm feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious.
Let me know if you have any favorites in the comments!
7. Focus your mind on the good
We all react differently to stress. Some of us immediately see the positive things, the hope and can react calmly and optimistically.
But many of us struggle to respond to stressful situations positively.
When you are stressed it is easy to allow your mind to ruminate (or dwell) on exactly what is stressing you out.
But this will only make you feel more stressed out!
It is so important to train your mind to focus on the good, no matter how you are feeling. It’s okay to feel your emotions, but don’t let your mind get swept under!
A great way to do this is to prepare positive affirmations to think about ahead of times. I will often take encouraging Bible verses, encouraging quotes or positive affirmations and write them down or memorize them.
That way, when I’m feeling stressed, I repeat these over and over until my mind knows what’s up.