What can we do to reduce stress?
The best advice to treat stress is to avoid it. Anxiety and stress depend on various factors, both personal and of the situation. Therefore there are many variables we can approach in order to prevent or reduce anxiety and stress. When a situation of stress incapacitates a person to carry out a normal life, there is a need to go to a specialist who can evaluate the real stress and which would be the best therapy for it. These are the most common pieces of advice to calm stress down:
• It is important to eat in a healthy way, avoid foods that burden the system with heavy digestions and other long, medium or short range such as cholesterol, obesity, etc.
• Use the time to eat as a time of rest from our activities.
• It is good to use meals as a time to be with family and friends.
• Not abusing alcohol.
• Enough sleep: eight hours
• Taking vacations and weekends as time of leisure and rest.
• Foster social relationships as alternative to work
• Leave work in the office, school, factory (both papers and concerns)
• Practice exercise in a moderate way
• Walk every day at least 30 minutes
• Use physical exercise to relax in nature and to get fresh air into our minds.
• Time management, by establishing schedules is basic to be able to rest, not to be too worried and suffer from constant shocks or to forget important things.
• Being on time for appointments, giving ourselves time to be punctual.
• Being able to select activities when not everything can be done.
Problem solving and decision making:
• Don’t let problems sink in: face them actively, deciding what is best at each moment.
• Making decisions following a logical process: setting the problem, analysis of alternatives, selecting the best choice. Not backing out.
• Do not constantly analyze the problem or the alternatives: that causes anxiety.
• The stress caused by a problem or situation depends on the consequences we anticipate but sometimes we exaggerate the negative consequences or the likelihood of something bad happening. We analyze things in a pessimistic way. We interpret things that could go other way in a negative way. And then, we could start experiencing a problem that does not really exist.
• If we are nervous: understand that is normal. Anxiety is as normal as joy or anger. Do not be too concerned about it.
• Act naturally, without avoiding problems but without worrying about what others might think of us or our problems.
• It is good to know that others do not perceive our anxiety symptoms with the same intensity that we do.
• It is good to think that others also suffer anxiety and when we notice that, we do not judge them (why should we be harder on ourselves than on others?)
Do not add elements to the problem.
• If we have done something well, we should acknowledge it and congratulate ourselves (it has not been luck, but effort and capacity)
• If we have done something wrong, let us acknowledge that this time we have been wrong, analyze our errors to correct them, but without guilt or negative thoughts about ourselves.
• It is good to love and treat ourselves well.
Relationships with others (partner, friends, companions, family)
• Reinforce positive behaviors we see around us, with approval, praise, smiles, small details.
• Correct negative behaviors of people around us giving them timely information and our disapproval, but without anger, guilt trips or punishments.
• Do not constantly bring up past problems or the guilt of others (we already forgave them)
• Remember always that a couple who are in crisis exchanges many punishments and few affirmation, just the opposite of someone who has no problems.
Specific training for control of anxiety and stress:
• Practice relaxation frequently, particularly at times when we feel worse, devoting some time to ourselves.
• Read some good self-help book in order to learn to think properly, eliminating wrong thinking, irrational thoughts, etc…
• Get exposed little by little to situations that scare you.
• Learn to say no when we know that making a commitment to something might bring you more stress.
• Practice social graces
• If we find difficulties and we cannot carry out anything that could help us to reduce stress, we should go to a specialist. Following his or her instructions can help us to recuperate our well being and health.