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The Do's and Dont's for Handling Stress in Life

We all feel stress at some point of our lives, it's natural and in some cases, in short bursts can be good for you. However, with so many stress triggers in the world, particularly at the moment, many of us are struggling to deal with the emotions and feelings connected to it. Here is some helpful advice on ways to handle stress and examples of what to do and what not to do when it comes to dealing with your worries. 

 

The Don’ts 

Try not to hibernate

The thought of hiding away under the covers sounds like a comforting idea when there’s so much to deal with and sometimes you just want to sleep or hide under the covers to get away from it all. Research shows the more you sleep the more tired you actually feel and increased lethargy is going make it more difficult for you to focus and feel in control.

Don't ignore the problem

Whilst it's normal to take a mental time-out once in a while and its good to do something to distract from the worry such as watching a good movie or calling a friend, it can be counter-productive to keep avoiding the stress and problems in your life.  It's important to allow yourself to process and understand what you are dealing with, whether its financial worries or fear of losing your job, the more you brush it under the carpet the greater the problem will seem.  Reaching out for help or making a plan of action will make you feel more in control and alleviate your stress as you deal with the problem.

Try not to dwell on the negative 

It's easy to dwell on the negative when things appear to be going bad.  Imagining the worst-case scenario in every situation will immediately increase your stress levels.  It's easy to view yourself and your life in a negative light, blowing things out of proportion.  Try to switch the negative to a positive, talk to yourself as you would a friend, you’ll be surprised at how much more positive you will think about things and how much more compassion you will have for yourself and the situation.

Don’t Eat your Feelings 

It's easy to turn to a bar of chocolate or glass of wine when stressed thinking it will ease the pain. Combatting your worries with high calorific, high sugar and fat food feels good but it can quickly spiral out of control when your mind and body begin to associate negative emotions with eating. Overeating can cause weight gain and make you feel worse about yourself, it might also stop you processing your feelings properly. 

 

The Do’s - ways to help stress 

Be Thankful 

Finding the positive in every day and expressing your gratitude for it can help reduce our stress levels.  Writing down three things you are thankful for on a daily basis helps to build a more positive outlook and to remember that there are things that you are grateful for too, whether that's family, the food in the fridge, a beautiful sunset, a friend saying something nice.  Concentrating on these things will help lift your spirits. 

Visualise calm

There is a simple exercise that you can do to help relieve stress and you can do it anywhere. Find a quiet space, close your eyes, focus on your breathing and then think about a place that makes you happy. It can be somewhere from your childhood, or a holiday location, or a time when you felt content. Relax and spend a few minutes back in that place, try to imagine every detail, Carry out this exercise a couple of times a day to feel more relaxed, helping to bring about a sense of peace and contentment. 

Get out of your head

When you are stressed you tend to play things over and over again in your brain, helping to build the tension and worry.  Get out of your head by starting to do something with your hands and body. Do something active to take your mind off things, or engage in craft-based activities such as drawing, baking or sewing.  These activities can relax your body and make you think about something else for a while breaking the negative cycle. 

Build habits

We are creatures of habit and our brains are soothed by routine, whether that's a bath before bed, a walk first thing in the morning or listening to your favourite playlist on the way to work. Our bodies enjoy routine and by following consistent rituals you will increase your body’s ability to deal with the physical aspect of stress. Keeping to a routine allows you to feel back in control over parts of your life and alleviate anxiety.

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