Reducing stress can be a priority in many parts of our lives, and these tips can help!
Sometimes we can’t help but feel overwhelmed by our day-to-day lives. Feeling stressed out due to work, school, or relationships is normal and finding ways of reducing stress is key.
Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW is a New York-based therapist who is well-versed in recommending ways to combat stress.
“Everyone experiences stress at some point whether it’s due to an upcoming interview or public speaking engagement,” said Hershenson. “It is a problem when your stress begins taking a toll on your mental and physical health affecting work and relationships.”
Hershenson recommends some easy ways to combat stress and live a fuller, happier life.
Reflection is a great way to organize and separate thoughts. “Make a daily gratitude list by writing down 10 things you are grateful for. Anything from your family, legs to walk on or reality TV,” said Hershenson. “Focusing on what is good in your life as opposed to what is ‘going wrong with your life’ calms you down immediately.”
Sometimes it’s hard to remind yourself to think in the glass-is-half-full mindset, but doing so has fantastic stress-reducing benefits. Hershenson recommends working toward staying positive, since stress can often result from negative feelings. “Read affirmations daily,” she said. “Starting your day with positivity helps you begin your day with on the right foot.”
Hang Out With Yourself
Keeping up with a standard routine is great for reducing stress and easing your mind. “Have a daily routine where you get alone time,” said Hershenson. “Whether it’s having some tea/coffee while reading the newspaper or stretching for 10 minutes. Doing something just for yourself every day is crucial to mental stress.” A quick yoga sequence, or a luxurious bath soak both offer relaxing benefits that help refresh and rejuvenate.
“Start a meditation practice,” recommends Hershenson. “Search guided meditation on YouTube or download a free app such as 10% Happier (which teaches you meditation techniques) and meditate even if it’s for a minute.” Studies have shown that meditation can actually promote healthy immune function and a healthy inflammatory response (1). Research has also shown that meditation can boost productivity, which is highly beneficial in reducing stress since, for many of us, the workday is the result of stress (2).
Accept What You Cannot Control
Stress can often stem from things we cannot control. Hershenson recommends to simply “practice acceptance.” How do you do this? “Make a list of what you can control in the situation causing you stress and what you can’t control,” Hershenson said. “For example, if you are stuck in traffic you cannot control the fact that you will be late, but you can control whether you let the person you are meeting know you are running late.” In instances such as this, it is important to focus on what you can control to make change (putting in a phone call) and accept what you cannot control (the fact you are in traffic and will be late).
(1) Berger, Richard E. “Re: Effect of Compassion Meditation on Neuroendocrine, Innate Immune and Behavioral Responses to Psychosocial Stress.” The Journal of Urology186.4 (2011): 1325-326. Web.
(2) Jha, A. P., J. Krompinger, and M. J. Baime. “Mindfulness training modifies subsystems of attention.” Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience7.2 (2007): 109-19. Web.