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Your heart is racing, you can’t focus, panic (or anger) starts to set in, and you wish the world would stop for just a few minutes. What’s going on? You’re stressed, that’s what. A fight with your spouse, an ever-increasing pile of work to get done, a boss whose life goal is making you miserable, standstill traffic, having to play nice with a person you dislike–big or small, stressful situations feel the same in your body and can render you useless. Since life must go on, do your mind and body a favor and use these three tips to keep stress in check.
3 ways to slow down, refocus, and reclaim calmness when your pressure starts to rise:
- Focus on your breathing. Have you ever found yourself breathing very shallowly, or worse yet, holding your breath when you’re anxious? Slow, deep breaths–in through the nose and out through the mouth–work wonders on reducing your heart rate, calming your nerves, and getting oxygen to your brain so you can think more clearly and rationally.
- Check in with your body. Now that your breathing is under control, make sure your body has the fuel it needs to properly deal with adversity. Are you dehydrated? Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, and overheating. Drink a glass or two of water and see if that brings calmness and clarity. Have you eaten recently? It’s easy to lose track of meals when you’re stressed. Have a small, balanced snack to bring your blood sugar to normal levels. A little peanut butter on apple slices or a handful of nuts and dried fruit may be all you need to combat foggy thinking, inability to make decisions, anxiety, and irritability.
- Put things in perspective. Think about your situation in regards to its importance in the universe. Is it really worth stressing about? Emotionally removing yourself from the epicenter of your crisis boosts your problem-solving skills. And putting obstacles in their place makes handling them a heck of a lot easier.
These are just a few simple ways to rein in the ugly Stress Monster. If these tips aren’t effective enough for you, make sure you get whatever support you need. Constant stress is very serious and takes a major toll on your health. There will always be challenges in life–that you can’t control–but you can control how you deal with them. Make it a priority not to let adversity negatively affect your emotional and physical health.