It’s mind-blowing when you stop and think how complex life can be at times. You have to juggle work, relationships, kids, finances, health and what seems like a gazillion other things that get thrown at you on a daily basis. It’s no wonder a massive proportion of us are going around in a constant state of stress.
So how do successful people deal with stress? Work to maintain your self-control and manage your stress and anxiety and keep it within acceptable limits. Research has shown that some stress is good for you. The only difference in successful people and unsuccessful people is their ability to handle stressful situations.
The First Thing You MUST Do In Your Battle Against Stress
Have you ever stopped to think what’s causing your stress? I mean really think! It’s easy to say you hate your job, or you don’t have enough money for example. While they might be true, blanket statements like those are far too vague to be used in the fight against stress.
If you want to beat stress, you need to take action. They say “Nothing changes if nothing changes” but first you need to know exactly what to change. That’s why it’s super important that you take the time to drill down and get to the nitty-gritty of what is causing you to feel so stressed.
When you stop and identify the little things that upset you, even on a subconscious level, and make a list of those minor stressors, you’re taking a big step towards change.
It’s much easier to make small changes to reduce the stress in your life than it is to go cold turkey on anything major such as hating your overbearing boss or not having enough money to pay off your credit card bill. Small changes add up to make big differences, and as Confucius says “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
With so many things vying for your attention at any given moment in the day, it’s easy to overlook some of the more minor things that might be giving you grief and compounding the major stressors in your life.
Think about any minor health niggles you might have that you’ve simply learned to live with rather than getting treatment for. What about any little habits your partner has picked up that really get on your nerves, but he doesn’t even know it.
If you tackle the small things first, you will not only feel happier and healthier, but you will also feel like you are more in control of the stress, rather than it being in control of you.
Of course, you will also need to deal with those major stressors surrounding your job or your finances. The best way to tackle those is to break down your issues into smaller ones, so it’s less overwhelming to deal with. For example, you dread going to work every day because you don’t like your job. But what is it about the job you don’t like? Try to be specific and go into as much detail as you can. That way you can start to find a way to overcome some of the parts of your major stressors that can be tackled immediately.
It is only once you are aware of the finer details of what is causing you to feel so stressed that you can take positive action towards a long-term solution to the issue.
Why keeping a journal will help you cope with stress
It might be surprising in today’s digitally dominated world, but Journaling has become incredibly popular these days. In fact it’s actually being recommended by health professionals as a scientifically proven way to help cope with the stresses of modern day life.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of journalling, think back to when you were younger. In your prepubescent years you might have started a secret diary and wrote about whoever was your secret crush that week, or how you managed to sneak out to hang with friends when your parents thought you were in your room diligently doing your homework?
Journalling is similar, but is generally a place for you to express your deeper thoughts, feelings and emotions rather than just catalogue daily events.
So how can journalling help you cope with stress?
It releases pent up feelings
Think about it. Do you say out loud everything you ever think? Probably not. Most people don’t. We all have thoughts that are never verbally expressed, especially the negative ones. So instead of letting those thoughts become pent up emotions that eat you up inside, write them down instead. It can be a great stress reliever to tear up the paper once you’re done - symbolically getting rid of the negative feelings and dumping them in the trash where they belong.
Nobody is judging you
Allowing pent up emotions to build up inside will eventually have a negative effect on your well-being. Journalling is an excellent way to getting things off your chest and releasing your emotions in a non-judgmental environment. You can clear your mind and mentally purge the stresses of your day without worrying what somebody else might think. Thoughts and emotions you might otherwise have kept hidden and never talked about can be released.
Gain greater self-awareness
Writing down both both positive and negative feelings helps you become more self-aware. Write down how you felt about something that happened in your day? How did you react? How do you wish you had reacted? What thoughts did you have but didn’t vocalize? What would you do if the same thing happened again?
Reading back what you wrote every few days allows you to re-assess the issues that arose and then learn from them. Knowing your emotional strengths and limitations is one of the best ways to understand yourself so you can cope better with stress as it arises, as well as grow and thrive both mentally and physically.
Better mental clarity
Sometimes your thoughts and feelings can seem like a jumbled mess, especially when you are stressed and your mind is anxious. Writing your thoughts down and feelings down can help you sort them out logically so you can understand them better. Having the words on paper in front of you can also help you see things more clearly and put situations into perspective.
Recognize the positives
Journalling isn’t just for getting rid of negative emotions. Keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way of focusing on the positives rather than dwelling on the negatives. When you write down the good things in your life and give thanks for them, that will often allow you to see the wood for the trees as the saying goes, and realize that maybe things aren’t quite as bad as they first seemed.
As you have learned, there are many reasons why keeping a journal helps you cope with stress. All you need is a notebook and pen to get started. You will not only feel less stress by writing down your daily thoughts, journalling is also proven to improve cognitive function, strengthen the immune system and improve your memory.
Why not get started today!
7 Free Apps To Help You Beat Stress
Stress management is an essential skill to have in today’s busy world. Nobody is immune to the damaging effects of stress. For the lucky few it’s an occasional episode, but for many people, stress is a battle that needs to be fought on a daily basis. Thankfully nowadays we can enlist the help of technology when it comes to fighting stress. Here are seven free apps that put stress management in your pocket.
1. Stop, Breathe & Think is a 4.8 star rated guided meditation and mindfulness app that lets you “rewire your brain for the better”. There are lots of free sessions to help with slaying stress, sleeping better, feeling calm, being kinder, becoming focussed and more. Daily check-ins encourage you to track how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally, then makes recommendations to help you improve and guides you through your chosen course of action. According to the app, 46% of users says their anxiety is reduced, and 78% of users report an increase in positive feeling after the first sessions.
2. Happify: for Stress & Worry helps you reduce stress, anxiety and negative thoughts through guided relaxation and meditation. It provides you with quick, actionable science-based activities and games to combat stress, help you focus on the positives and elevate happiness. You can track your progress over time to gain insights into your emotional well-being and see the improvements you make through use of the app. This app gets a 4.5-star rating
3. Breathe: Sleep & Meditation is a free app from Lynne Goldberg, the renowned meditation expert. It’s been featured in Time Magazine, Forbes and Cosmopolitan and has been rated 4.6 stars by its users. Calm down anywhere by listening to the built-in nature sounds or watching a calming video. The app features 100s of guided meditations for stress relief, health and success, and has hours of soothing music to unwind to, or help you focus on your work. Trouble getting to sleep? You will love the bedtime stories and meditations to help you.
4. Tapping Solution. EFT tapping is a proven way to release stress and feel calmer by using your fingers to put pressure on the body’s meridian endpoints. This app from tapping guru Nick Ortner is free to download and includes courses to lower stress levels, reduce anxiety, eliminate negative thinking, get motivated, sleep better and more. Some of the sessions are free; others will need a paid upgrade. Rated 4.6 by users it’s a must-try app if you want to add another tool to your stress-busting arsenal.
5. MyWater. Did you know you only have to be 2% dehydrated for it to affect your stress levels? This app will help you calculate how much water you should be drinking each day, and then give you reminders to keep up and track your fluid intake each day to ensure you stay properly hydrated and give yourself the best chance of keeping on top of your stress levels.
You can track water, coffee and tea intake with the free version, plus a ton of other fluids like smoothies, broths and fruit juices with the paid version.
6. Laugh My App Off. It’s scientifically proven that laughter really is the best medicine and can help to release and reduce stress anytime anywhere. This app gets a 4.6-star rating and is “guaranteed to give you the best chuckles all day long”. It features hundreds of funnies you can read and share, and you can even set how many times a day you want to receive joke notifications to give you a steady stream of stress relief throughout the day.
7. MyFitnessPal. Proper nutrition and regular exercise are both proven to help fight stress. This app enables you to track both so you can aim for optimum health to help you reduce your stress levels and cope with life’s ups and downs. Keep a daily food diary, so you become more mindful of what you’re eating and track your nutrients, and monitor your exercise to keep up with your fitness and health goals. This app has a 4.7-star rating from users.