Stress awareness and its importance. When you consider the number of commitments and pressures in your life at once, it’s no wonder that so many people are stressed out. We all experience stress at some point in our lives. Stress can come from work life, home life, or external forces like the political climate. The fact is people are busier than we’ve ever been before. Everything is more urgent, so not only is there so much to do, but it feels as though it all needs to be done now.
Feeling stressed out about your financial or career goals is a particularly slippery slope. You feel stressed about them because you want them so strongly, but it’s often that stress that holds you back. It can repel those who could help you or dampen your motivation. It can make you afraid to take the necessary risks to succeed. Most often, it bleeds into your personal life, and the lack of boundaries between the two creates more stress.
Why You Feel Stressed Out (And How to Stop)
The most successful people will warn you about the dangers of becoming comfortable and complacent, but they can probably also tell you that stress is the enemy of success.
How to Tell If You’re Stressed Out
If you’re overwhelmed with stress, you probably don’t need to be told. However, sometimes the most insidious stress is the kind of stress you don’t even recognize as such. It sits in the pit of your stomach and builds and builds in your subconscious until it spills out. Often, your body has ways of telling you that you’re stressed even if your mind wants to reject the fact. Listen to it.
Take a moment to do a mental scan of your body. Do you feel tightness or sore spots? Are your muscles strained anywhere? Stress often manifests in the back. If you feel like you need a massage, there’s a good chance you may be stressed out. Pinching headaches, toothaches, or sweaty hands are other physical signs of stress. People who are stressed out often subconsciously grind their teeth. Make sure your tongue rests at the roof of your mouth with your teeth apart.
Feel hungry, thirsty, or tired? Ask yourself if this is beyond reason or your usual feeling. If it is unusual, there’s a good chance it’s stress. As a general rule, it’s best to listen to your body and be in touch with how you feel, both emotionally and physically.
What’s Causing You to Feel Stressed Out
Just about anything can cause stress. Problems at work, personal relationships, and bills can all make you stressed out. It’s easy to say “just cut it out of your life” but that’s not always possible. If you’re in a fight with your family, that doesn’t mean you should simply cut them out of your life forever. If you had a busy week at work, that doesn’t make the whole job bad. Sometimes tough external circumstances are just a necessary part of making the life you want. The only thing you can do is learn to manage your stress.
What’s more, is that it’s easy to feel stressed out over things you have no control of whatsoever. In a political climate that’s becoming tenser, it seems like simply turning on the news can cause stress. If someone you love is sick or hurting, you may not have any control over it, but you can certainly feel stressed about it. Just because you don’t have any control over something doesn’t make it less stressful for many, and often it can make things more stressful.
Stress almost always boils down to one basic thing: you’re not where you want to be in your life and the path ahead of you is daunting or out of your hands. However, that doesn’t mean that stress is a helpless situation. You may actually be doing things to exacerbate your stress, whether you realize it or not. Think about the days you’ve spent stressed out:
● How much sleep have you gotten?
● How much have you eaten and what have you eaten?
● How much water are you drinking?
● Is your external area clean and tidy?
● When was the last time you talked to someone?
● How much time have you spent on social media?
All of these things can have an impact on your stress level. When you’re stressed out, it can be hard to take the time to take care of yourself, but it’s absolutely vital. A lack of sleep, poor diet, or dehydration will only make you more stressed.
How to Reduce Stress
Taking care of yourself by sleeping, hydrating, and eating a healthy diet are all ways to help reduce stress, but remember that the main battle against stress is mental. Stress begins in the mind, so if you really want to lose stress’s hold on your life, you have to change your mindset.
Stressing over something that’s out of your control? Do what you can and then relieve yourself of the responsibility of worrying about it. After all, if it’s not your responsibility to fix it, it shouldn’t be your responsibility to worry, either. Make a game out of daunting tasks and reward yourself for milestones along the way. Learn to forgive yourself when you make mistakes and focus on the future instead.
Beyond that, here are a few of our favorite habits and attitudes to adopt in order to stop stressing out:
● Cut down on the caffeine. This country loves caffeine. We’re coffee addicts and proud. But if you’re feeling stressed, your fifth daily cup of joe might not be doing you any favors. Caffeine keys you up. It can be a helpful energy boost, but it also makes it difficult to relax and may make sleep harder to find at night.
● Get physical. Feel like you’re crawling out of your skin? Channel that energy with a workout routine, or take up yoga. Sometimes stress is simply a result of too much pent-up energy. If your body is itching to move, move it and you’ll be better able to relax.
● Brainstorm. Sometimes the thing you’re stressed about isn’t in your control. Other times, it is in your control, and the decision is what makes you uneasy. Don’t put pressure on yourself to fix things quickly. Instead, take time to write down as many solutions as possible and weigh out the pros and cons. Not only will this help you to feel better prepared, but it will allow you some distance from your stressor and put you in a more positive mind-frame.
● Re-evaluate your time management. Are you too busy? Or are you simply focusing on the wrong things? Look at where you spend your time and if you can change things around to suit your priorities. If you are too busy, is there anything in particular that you can cut loose? Allow time to recover as well, to help avoid stress in the future.
● Take a deep breath. It’s the simplest thing in the world, but sometimes it’s just what you need. Take a few seconds for yourself to inhale and then slowly exhale, allowing that overwhelming stress to be expelled with the breath.
● Treat yourself. When you get a chance to take a break, take advantage of it. Get a massage or take a bubble bath. Curl up with your favorite book or drive out to the lake. Whatever makes you really feel relaxed, do that while you have the time.
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Stress is a natural part of life, but you shouldn’t let it stand in the way of your success. It can be a drain on your confidence and motivation if you let it. Accept that you won’t always feel great, but do what you can to make sure those feelings of stress and worry don’t lead the way in your life.