Stress is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it control you.
In this article, I’ll share with you the top 5 quick ways to manage stress. So if you’re feeling stressed out, keep reading to learn how to manage that monster called stress.
What is Stress Management?
The textbook definition of stress according to Therapistaid.com is a feeling of being tense, overwhelmed, or exhausted.
It’s true, as humans we are all under some sort of stress in our everyday lives. Whether that stress comes from small tasks at work or a major life event, we all suffer from this monster’s effects.
Stress management is a process of identifying the sources of your stress and taking steps to reduce or eliminate them.
In other words, it means figuring out what’s stressing you and then reducing or eliminating those things.
It also involves learning healthy coping mechanisms to help you deal with stress more positively.
There are many different stress management techniques, however, what might work for me might not necessarily work for you
Every human being is different, so try all my suggestions to see if they help.
Be gentle with yourself and remember that nothing is achieved overnight, it takes patients and dedication.
What Are Some Quick Ways To Manage Stress?
From short-term to long-term strategies, problem-focused to fast-acting coping mechanisms, the ways of dealing with stress are vast and can be overwhelming which completely defeats the purpose and locks you in an endless loop.
However, there is hope and the choice is entirely yours.
You choose how you want to cope, what your limits are, and how far you’re willing to go.
Without further ado, here are some great stress management tools that I’ve used and continue to use to handle stress.
#5- Exercise Regularly
When I feel like my brain won’t shut up and I just want to crawl out of my skin the quickest technique that allows me to be present in my body again is to get my heart pumping.
A quick bike ride does wonders!
The wind rushing past my face is an instant stress reliever and mood booster.
If you don’t have a bike or access to one you can go for a brisk walk outside on the streets or better yet in the park.
If walking isn’t your thing or you’re like me and avoid going outside until it’s absolutely necessary, then set your timer for thirty or sixty seconds and hold a plank position instead.
It doesn’t matter what activity you choose to do, just get moving.
Stress relief is a positive side effect of exercise and definitely a quick way to manage stress.
#4- Do Things You Enjoy
What do you like to do?
Do you like to write out your thoughts with a pen on paper or do you like to blast the music and dance around until you feel better?
What activity or activities bring you joy?
I personally like doing both things I just mentioned.
I’ll start by putting my thoughts on paper because the release of that pent-up energy on paper is purging it from my body and by getting my thoughts out of my head I’ll have a better understanding of why I’m stressed in the first place. Then I’ll blast some FKA Twigs and dance around the house.
Pro tip: Dancing is a form of exercise. The goal is to get the body moving, the blood pumping, and the heart rate up from a relaxed state.
#3- Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
According to American Psychological Association as a reflex, stress causes the body to tense.
Repeatedly tensing and releasing targeted muscles slowly is a way of reassuring the body and giving it permission to relax.
Dr. Debra Kissen, co-chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s education committee explains why the body reacts the way it does when it’s stressed, she says, “When we think about the body on stress, it’s really fuel for the fight-or-flight response.”
To combat this primal instinct, we have to constantly remind the body that when it’s not in imminent danger and it just needs to relax.
Our bodies were made with evolutionary data that react to life-threatening situations as a survival instinct to preserve humankind.
The issue with this is that stress about missing a deadline at work will activate this fight or flight response. That’s why implementing the PMR technique will bring the body back to relaxation mode.
Here’s How it’s Done
-Lay on the floor and close your eyes
-Pick a leg to start with and squeeze your foot with all your might and slowly release
-Move on to your calf, your thigh, and continue moving up the body to your neck then switch sides
-When you get to your face, clench your jaw, and tense your entire face. You should look like you just smelled something rancid, then slowly release.
-Lastly, tense your whole body with all your might and slowly release
You’ll feel entirely different.
I learned this technique in high school and admittedly I don’t use it as often as I should but when I do utilize it, I always feel like a ton of weight has been lifted off my body.
#2- Eat healthy Meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables
What we eat greatly affects our mood.
If we eat fast processed foods, we will start to feel sluggish and forgetful but if we stick to an unprocessed whole food diet we begin to have more energy, and our overall mood is significantly better.
I remember the energy boost I had after I cut all meat, and dairy, from my diet. It felt like I could dance to electronic music for hours without getting tired and I tested my theory once and that’s exactly what happened.
Adding colorful fruits and vegetables to your meals every day will boost your mood and when you feel better you’ll handle stressful situations better.
Eat up, your mood depends on it.
If you need more ideas on what to cook click here.
#1 – Meditation
The world of meditation is a vast magical one and it’s one of those stress management tools that have remained constant in my life.
It’s a great short-term stress reliever and an even better long-term solution for stress management. There are mantras that you can recite, retreats that you can escape to, and plenty of gurus to follow to learn the techniques of meditation.
However, this is the easiest and most effective way to meditate.
How To Meditate
-Set a timer for 5-30 minutes
-Sit still in a quiet place with your eyes closed
-Take 5 deep breaths in and out to relax the body
-Allow your breathing to come back to its normal pace without controlling it
-Focus on the air going in and out of your nostrils
Whatever thoughts come up in your mind, don’t acknowledge them, just let them pass and focus on your breathing till the timer goes off.
This technique is my go-to technique which is why it’s number one on this list. It centers me, brings me back into my body, quiets my mind, and reassures me that everything is going to be okay. Nothing else matters because everything is temporary.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my simple and quick ways to manage stress, if there are ways you deal with stress that didn’t make it on my list please feel free to share in the comment section below.