Stress is no fun!
Not only does it make us feel like crap, but it can also affect our health, relationships, productivity, life, work…everything!
It’s inevitable, too, especially with how fast-paced our lives are these days and all the distractions like text messages, emails, Facebook, and phone notifications.
Add starting a business, kids, pets, and everything else, and we’re feeling quite overwhelmed, aren’t we? There are lots of ways to manage stress, however, that can help us feel more balanced, happy, and in control of our emotions.
Not only am I an introvert, but I also have a sensitive nervous system. Because of this, I’ve had to learn ways to control my stress levels in order to function. Today, I want to share 10 things I do to manage stress.
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10 WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS AND FEEL HAPPIER RIGHT NOW:
1) Breathe deeply. You may have already heard of this trick, but do you do it? Any time you feel tension in your body or you feel like you going to blow your top, stop and breathe deeply.
Simply close your eyes (if you can), breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5, breathe out for 5. Do several times and focus on letting the tension go in your body. It helps calm the nervous system and makes a BIG difference in how our body feels.
2) Take a walk in nature. Nature, like breathing deeply, has a very calming effect on our nervous system. Getting away from digital devices and being one with nature is really important for our eyes and our bodies. If I don’t have time for a walk, I’ll just step outside for a few minutes and soak in the sights and sounds of the natural world.
3) Say your favorite affirmations. Affirmations are simple words and phrases that have the power to shift your mindset. You can go from feeling like your life totally sucks to feeling grateful and blessed within seconds. How great is that? Affirmations can help us regain focus on reality instead of going down a dark, depressing hole. They are especially helpful when you have no control over a situation or if you’re really worried about something.
Here’s a list of my favorite affirmations:
- Let it go
- Just breathe
- This too shall pass
- Done is better than perfect
- Everything happens for a reason
- Everything is going to be ok
- If it’s meant to be, it will happen
4) Go on a “mini vacation”. A mini-vacation is a way to refocus your attention.
One of my favorite ways to do this is by watching a funny movie. Getting involved with the storyline and characters helps me focus on something other than my problems, and a good laugh is great for reducing stress.
Just do something you enjoy to take you out of the situation temporarily. It could be a walk in the neighborhood or a park, going to a bookstore or coffee shop, or visiting a friend.
5) Assess your life and make changes. Make a list of all the things that are stressing you out on a regular basis and either eliminate them or find ways to make them less stressful.
For example, I don’t like to cook and I used to find dinner time stressful. I especially hate cooking during the week. I just don’t want to finish my day having to cook. To me, that’s torture.
But then I learned about meal prepping. Sometimes I’ll spend a Sunday making a couple of meals for the week. And other times, I’ll just prepare a few things that can be thrown together as meals. And when that’s all too much for me, I’ll shop the prepared meals section of the grocery store.
Another thing I like to do is order groceries through Instacart. I can then focus on doing something around the house that needs to get done while someone else does the shopping for me.
What can you change in your life to reduce stress? Make your list of stressors and come up with solutions. If you feel stuck, you can ask a friend how they deal with it or even Google it.
6) Declutter your environment. Clutter is a big stress inducer. Piles of mail, things you meant to put away and didn’t, laundry… feeling stressed out yet?
The thing is, clutter has the ability to zap our energy. When we see something messy over and over, we have the same thoughts over and over, like, “I need to clean that” or “that pile of papers annoys the fluff out of me.” These thoughts are just tiresome.
Decluttering doesn’t have to take loads of time, though, and can even be fun!
When life gets busy and messy, I will make decluttering a game. I’ll go room to room and tackle the things that annoy me the most. I’ll either declutter completely or just make the clutter neater for the time being (depending on how much time I have).
Another thing that helps is buying clutter solutions like bins, folders, and baskets, as well as pitching stuff I don’t need and donating it.
If you find that clutter stresses you out, I encourage you to come up with creative solutions to tackle it. Try to make it fun and something you enjoy if you can.
7) Let go of perfectionism. It’s very common for introverts to be perfectionists, and if you don’t know already, it’s exhausting! It can also hold you back from completing projects or putting yourself out there. I have to remind myself constantly that “done is better than perfect” and that it’s not the end of the world if I make a mistake.
Try to give yourself some grace and allow yourself to be imperfect sometimes.
8) Journal your feelings. All you need is a notebook and a pen. Just brain-dump everything on your mind. Let it ALL go. Create solutions, give yourself pep talks, complain, whatever you need to do. Getting our thoughts on paper frees up so much space in our heads. It’s a huge stress reliever too.
If you can, I recommend journaling every morning and writing 2-3 pages. Don’t hold back – just write whatever comes up.
You can ask yourself:
- How am I feeling right now?
- Why am I feeling this way?
- What can I do to eliminate this stress?
- How can I cope with this stress better?
- What am I grateful for?
- What can I do to feel better right now?
9) Practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude is a total game-changer! Focusing on what’s good in our lives can help us put things into perspective and reduce our stress. I like to finish my day by listing 4 things I’m grateful for. No matter what, I always have something to be grateful for.
Practicing gratitude daily is best, but you can also focus on what you’re grateful for during a stressful moment as well.
10) Prioritize and focus on one task only. Multi-tasking is not only stressful, but it slows you down and causes you to make mistakes. I recommend making a list of what needs to be done, prioritizing your list, and focusing on completing one task at a time.
If you find you have more than one urgent task, you can pick the one you want to do the most or is the easiest or fastest. You can also ask people for help. 😉
Stress is just a daily part of our lives, but there are ways to reduce it in healthy ways. The next time you feel stressed out, try some of these tricks and find favorites that you can rely on whenever you need them.