Everyone has stress in their life. Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Most of us know stress is another certainty in life, especially in the life of a military family. There are times when we experience new and exciting levels of stress every day. While it is a guaranteed part of life, stress does not have to run or ruin your life. Everyone needs to find their own way to tackle the stresses of day to day life. I am not always the best person to talk to about overcoming stress, it is a constant battle for me. However, through personal experience and talking to friends of mine, I was able to compile a list of five simple ways that you can tackle the stress in your life. Hopefully this list will help you. It could open new doors for you to combat all the stress that can pile up and overwhelm you if you are not careful.
- Get Physical- When asking about ways to tackle stress, exercise was the number one answer. I am one of those people who hates to work out. Even I can tell you that regular physical activity will help relax your body. In addition to helping you be healthier and feel better about yourself, exercise can actually help boost the serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is the chemical responsible for reducing irritability and depression*. Now, I’m not saying you have to go hit the gym every day. The reality is not everyone has the time and/or motivation to make a commitment for physical activity at a gym. Instead you could go for walk with your spouse or by yourself. Take the kids to beach or the park, go on a bike ride, do some yoga, or have sex are other ways to get physical. Do something that gets your blood flowing and you will quickly start to feel better.
- Go to your happy place- I mean this literally and figuratively. Maybe you need to get in the car and take a drive, get away from it all for a few hours. Perhaps you simply need to take a deep breath and put your mind someplace else. Try this relaxation exercise, close your eyes, take a deep breath and slowly let it out. Repeat the breathing while picturing your mind de-cluttering. Now, fill the empty space with a place that makes you happiest. Take a few more deep breaths and stay there for minute. Sometimes a quick escape is enough to calm your mind and let you get back to living stress free.
- Get Organized- Often times a cluttered environment can increase your stress. Part of the stress you are feeling can be relieved by taking time to clean up the clutter and organize your space. Maybe you are overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done, causing your stress. Instead of stressing,take a few minutes and make a to-do list. Start with whatever is most important and make that number one on the list, then move on from there. Seeing it written down and organized can help get it out of your head, making it feel less overwhelming. Plus, the bonus is, it feels really good to cross something off when it is done!
- Decide if it is worth it- Stress reveals itself to each of us in different ways. Something that stresses you out to the max, may seem trivial to your friend or your husband. Everyone is different. If you are feeling stressed about something ask yourself a few questions: Is it that important? Is it really worth it? Can I can control it? If you answer no, to any of those questions, then maybe you should let it go and move on.
- Utilize your senses- Our five senses are an important part of our everyday lives. They can also be an important part of stress management. Do you have scent that makes you feel good inside? Maybe you should keep it handy to smell when you feel stressed out. Do you have a pet? Maybe you need to take some time to sit and pet them. Let their warmth run through your fingers and calm your mind and body. Is there a picture that reminds you of a happy time? Take a couple minutes focusing on that, letting that memory clear your mind. The important thing is to find what is right for you to do what makes you happy.
*The Free Dictionary. Medical Dictionary: Serotonin. 2014. Web.