Are you sleeping restlessly, feeling irritable or moody, cramming for a test, trying to get more done than you have time to do, and feeling overwhelmed and isolated? Feeling like there are too many challenges, pressures, and demands on you? Your schedule is just too busy and you’re eating on the run?

You’re not alone. Adults, teens, and even young children feel stressed out at times.

You can avoid getting too stressed out by asking for help when you need it, staying calm, handling everyday demands and problems, and making time to have fun.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. Stress is a feeling we all experience when we are overwhelmed and challenged. You may feel, nervous, tense, or on edge under stress. The response can be physical, too. Stress triggers a surge of a hormone called adrenaline that affects our nervous system temporarily. As a result, you might feel your heartbeat or breathing get faster, your knees get shaky or your palms get sweaty when you’re stressed or nervous. The stress response is also known as the fight-or-flight response. The automatic response helps us to prepare for danger.

But a situation doesn’t have to be physically menacing to activate the stress response. Everyday pressures can trigger it, too. For example, you might feel stressed before giving a class presentation, or before taking a test, going on stage for a performance, or facing a tough opponent in a sport.

Symptoms of Stress

  • headaches or dizziness
  • muscle tension or pain
  • stomach problems
  • chest pain or a faster heartbeat
  • difficulty concentrating
  • struggling to make decisions
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • constantly worrying
  • being forgetful
  • being irritable and snappy
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • eating too much or too little
  • avoiding certain places or people
  • drinking or smoking more

Here are a few ways to reduce Stress

  1. Plan Your Day

Plan your activities in advance especially if you’re going through a difficult time in your life. Having a plan for you will make you feel more in control. You won’t have to think about or make a decision about what to do next. You can reduce your stress by becoming an expert in time management. Break down every task and activity in your day or week and you will see the big picture a lot less intimidating.

  • Keep a notebook or Journal

Keep a notebook with you and write down stressful situations you encounter for a couple of weeks, and how you responded to them. Read through your notes and see if you can find ways to respond differently to those situations that will result in less stress.

  • Slow Down

Take a moment and take some deep breaths and allow your body to clear your mind and relax. Give yourself some time before reacting to a stressful situation, it’s better to react with a clear mind than one that is put under intense stress.

  • Prioritize tasks

When you are experiencing a lot of stress, only work on the tasks that are most important to improving your life. Choose your goals. Setting priorities each day for your work will relieve much of your stress immediately. Discipline yourself to start on your most important task and to work on it until it’s complete. Another option for this could be setting 25 minutes to work on each task.  Then stop.  Whether it’s finished or not.  Move onto the next task.   The next day repeat the process.  Each task will eventually become complete and without stress.  Cutting out an activity or two, if choosing just the ones that are most important to you if you are feeling stretched out.

  • Become More Active

Exercise and physical hobbies are great stress relievers such as tennis, golfing, or hiking. Listening to music and taking a morning walk is also helpful.

  • Talk To Someone

Find someone whom you trust and respect and talk to them about the situation you’re experiencing. Ask them for advice. Sometimes just talking about the issue out loud will help reduce the anxiety and stress you’re feeling. Your friends can also give you a fresh perspective on the situation, and you may realize that things aren’t as bad as you originally thought.

  • Leave Work at Work

When you leave work, actually leave work. Don’t allow yourself to think about work, don’t check work emails or even talk or text if the conversation is going to be about work, Take action to solve problems that crop up. For example, if homework stressed you out, figure out ways to handle it better.

  • Look for the lessons

Looking for and understanding that there is a lesson in everything we do is helpful in alleviating stress.  To become more practiced in this, it’s helpful to write down the lessons you find.  Also understanding that everything is the way it is, because it is that way, and adopting that as your new mantra will prevent you from resisting what is.  It will keep you in the present moment.

  • Be realistic

No one is perfect. Remove all unnecessary pressure on yourself. If you need help ask for it. Asking for help and receiving it, relieves you of feeling the pressure of doing the task alone and perhaps feeling overwhelmed in the process.  

  1. Make Time for Fun

Make consistent time in your schedule for relaxation and fun. Most days you pack your schedule with the tasks of everyday life, oftentimes not committing the time to do things you enjoy. Ensure your daily schedule has a list of the things you have to do and the things you want to do. Include time into your schedule for activities you love — i.e., read your favorite book, watch your favorite movie or season, laugh, a hobby, create some art or music, play with your pet, spend time with positive people, or take a walk in nature.

  1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Make sure you get enough quality sleep. Sleep allows your mind and body to rest and repair itself from the daily grind.  It’s like pushing the Reset button each night.  When you awaken from a refreshing sleep you’re ready to face the day with a new mindset.  Additionally, your body benefits from the rest.  If you’re experiencing insomnia get into the habit of playing meditation music when you go to bed.  Lay there and listen to it with every fiber of your being until you relax and fall into a deep sleep.

  1. Find the Upside

Your attitude, outlook, and thoughts impact the way you see things. Is your cup half-full or half-empty? A dose of optimism can help you make the best of stressful circumstances — and even recognize something you’ve learned from the situation.

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