How To Deal With Stress: The Three Best Ways to Handle Stress|
I’m a bit of a stress ball. You wouldn’t know it if I talked to you– at least I hope you wouldn’t– but my body, brain and belly (thank you, cortisol) feel like they’re always taking a toll from stress. Instead of stressing about about my stress (that would be a little too poetic), I’ve started doing a few things to help reduce the overall level of Code Red in my life. Here’s what is working for me – I’d love to know what works for you?
1. Read a book.
My good friend and fellow entrepreneur Elena Silenok of Clothia suggested this one to me. Don’t watch TV– it’s too easy for your mind to go back to your computer. Rather, dig into a good book. It fully encapsulates your brain and owns your focus. I’m a big fan of James Patterson, Tom Clancy, and Robert Ludlum. I also recently read the Hunger Games trilogy (but just can’t bring myself to read Twilight).
In case you were wondering if this could work for you, fear not: according to the University of Minnesota, a 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. “It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music, or drinking a hot cup of tea,” UoM writes. “This is because your mind is invited into a literary world that is free from the stressors that plague your daily life.”
2. Work out.
At this point, when I hear “I think I’ll get up at 6 tomorrow and go for a nice run!” it makes me want to die. So I got a trainer. I had to. Maybe other women out there are perfect, but I needed someone that would stalk me to get me to work out regularly. I also wanted it to be a mindless workout. While that’s not a prerequisite for everyone, I really need that hour workout to be preplanned by someone else so that I only need to focus on the exercise I am doing. Usually my workout is so high-impact that I can’t fathom thinking about anything other than concentrating intensely on getting through the next thirty seconds. That’s what works for me. One of my Pilates trainers explained my preference very succinctly to me: I just have to listen and do as she tells me. There is no room for decision making on my own.
Want the scientific proof that this stress-reduction method works? We’ve got it. And from the Mayo Clinic, no less. There are loads of ways working out reduces stress: by releasing endorphins, by making you so tired that you can only focus on your body’s movements, and by fighting depression and anxiety– so you can feel more self-confident and comfortable with yourself.
When everything is getting to me, I go to bed earlier. When I wake up the next morning, usually earlier than usual, everything from the day before seems less tough. The overwhelmed “the world is ending” and I can’t possibly do anything right now feeling I had is somehow magically gone!
Time for more science, this time from our friends at EveryDayHealth.com: “Sleep is essential for better stress management. Getting adequate sleep – between seven and eight hours each night – can help to reduce your stress levels.”
Now if only these three things would solve my TMJ we’d be good to go. I’m working on it!