Thursday, 27 February 2014

Stress Management Strategies - 5 Ways to Manage Stress and Increase Happiness and Fulfillment

By Jenna Beneck

Managing stress is an essential skill to possess in today's "Have It All" society. There is often a fine balance between fulfillment and overload and, if you get this wrong, you will soon start to feel those familiar symptoms of a tense, exhausted body and a fuzzy mind. You can use these 5 stress management strategies in your daily life to ensure that your stress doesn't get out of control and help you to live a happier, more fulfilled life:

Live a healthy lifestyle

Good nutrition and adequate sleep are an essential element in your stress management strategies toolbox. You may think that you can achieve more by drinking coffee to stay awake and then sleep better by drinking alcohol, but the reality is that these drugs will take their toll on your health over time. Evidence suggests that you would probably achieve more and sleep better by using meditation.

People who are stressed often do not eat properly. They may skip meals and live on junk food. This causes additional physiological stress as their bodies do not get the nutrition that they need which can lead to illness and lack of energy. Certain vitamins are depleted when we are stressed and it may be a good idea to take supplements in times of stress. Also, drink more water, instead of coffee, tea and alcohol to feel cleansed and refreshed.

Live in the present moment

This is important for your happiness and fulfillment as well as a helpful way to manage stress. Take time to stop and see the beauty of the world we live in. Wonder and marvel at what is all around us. Live in the present moment and enjoy it as best you can.

Don't hold onto the past. Forgive others instead of bearing grudges against them. Life's too short and we are all doing the best that we can with the experience that we have, most of us quite unskillfully.

Stop wishing you were somewhere in the future. Don't put off being happy until you have that new partner or new job or whatever else you are hankering after.

Happiness is a state of mind. Accept and be happy with what you've got now. Then change anything you don't like. Make a plan. Do one thing at a time. Be fully present in everything you do.

Take time out to relax

So much is expected of us now, and it's easy to find yourself busy from dawn to dusk. As part of your stress management strategies, set time aside each day to do something for you that will relax you and that you will enjoy. Quite often, relaxation is just a habit, and if we stop making time for it, we will quickly find ourselves unable to relax at all. Whether it's watching the television, going for a long walk, a sport or hobby, or simply a long soak in the bath, give yourself a break and make sure your relaxation time is a top priority.

De-clutter your life

"Mess is stress" and if you are a hoarder whose house is full of unnecessary clutter, then this will add to your stress levels. You won't be able to find the things that you need and you will feel swamped in "stuff". If it's not functional then you don't need it, so get rid. When you clear out the junk, you will be surprised at how much lighter your mind feels as you look around you at a clearer space. While you are at it, clear out those people who bring you down or don't add value to your life. Make some space for new, positive people who will add to your happiness and fulfillment.

Know your limitations

You can't achieve everything that you perhaps want to, if there aren't enough hours in the day. Stress management strategies are important but you need to be realistic and learn to prioritise. Learn to say no to other people when you need time for yourself. Make sure you get your relaxation time, whatever else is going on in your life. If you've got too much that needs doing, decide what you can realistically achieve in a day and let go of the rest. It will still be there tomorrow. If you cling on to the need to get everything done perfectly, you will give yourself additional stress.



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