There is a quote misattributed to Anton Chekhov, which states that “any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out.”
Fear and stress are powerful negative motivators: they force us to deal with extreme situations by going out of our comfort zone in search of quick solutions. In a moderate degree, stress can even help boost productivity, but long-term stress will take a huge emotional toll on a person and significantly degrade their health and quality of life.
Start by identifying stress factors and eliminating as many of them as possible. If they can’t be eliminated, they can be reduced: try to avoid stressful situations and cut toxic people out of your life. In short, strike the disease at its root. When faced with problems, try and find a solution as quickly as possible, even if it’s not perfect. If you are unable to change something, be flexible: learn to accept things as they are instead of wasting precious energy.
…and carry on with your inner storm
Building resilience and adopting a strong mental attitude are top requirements for fighting stress effectively. In order to stay positive, indulge in hobbies and other things that you love. Watching your favourite film or reading a good book will help you relax and recharge your batteries. Taking long baths and enjoying calming scents such as lavender, sandalwood, or Roman chamomile are simple, yet effective methods for alleviating stress. Indulging in aromatherapy will give you an energy boost and help reduce anxiety.
When in the gutter, look at the stars
Even the simplest things can help you relieve tension, regain balance, and suppress negative thoughts: smiling and laughing can improve both your mood and your immune system. Better still, spending more time with kids and animals is the fastest and surest way to instant happiness. Always find the time to chill out; include relaxation in your daily schedule. Learn how to breathe properly: long, slow, deep breathing is an extremely effective way of reducing stress levels and calming panic attacks. Adopting certain meditation techniques and practicing mindfulness will clear your mind of negative thoughts and prepare you for dealing with stress-inducing situations.
First eat, then do everything else
Another key factor in reducing stress is maintaining a healthy, varied diet rich in fibres, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. Your diet should be based on superfoods containing natural antioxidants, such as grapes, blueberries, nuts, kale, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, whole grains, fish, and artichokes. Two efficient stress-busting cures are green tea and turmeric: the latter contains a powerful antioxidant curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Detoxing your body and improving your memory should be reason enough to start preparing your own meals instead of stocking up on processed foods. Avoiding sodium, saturated fats, sugar, and refined carbs, as well as cutting down on coffee and alcohol will reduce your blood pressure and help you sleep better.
If you’re going through hell, keep going
Getting physically active is vital for having an active, open mind. The beneficial effects of exercise are psychological as well as physical, since it lowers stress hormones and helps release endorphins. Regular physical exercise will improve your sleep quality, so you can have more energy to cope with stressful situations. Also, you will gain confidence, feel better about yourself, and block negative thoughts. Moderate exercise for twenty minutes a day will suffice, but you can also indulge in yoga, jogging, or hiking. Even better, play tennis or go bowling with your friends; group activities are considerably more engaging and fun than solitary ones.
The best motivator to exercise is music, which can power you up and help you improve your performance. In addition, listening to music is a sure-proof way to elevate your mood. Music is a perfect partner in fighting stress, and it doesn’t require any extra effort on your part.
Reach out and touch
Socialisation is an important aspect of our lives: maintaining social contacts and being a part of a circle of friends will give you a sense of belonging and help you overcome even the toughest situations. Remember that you are not alone, so don’t hesitate to ask for support whenever you need it. Contrary to what you might think, showing your weaknesses and sharing your feelings with others will only make you stronger, so open up to others.
Spending time with your pet, especially if you’re lucky enough to have a feline overlord, will also help you feel more relaxed, less stressed-out, and less prone to fits of depression.
The time is now
Long-term exposure to stress can have a devastating impact on our life, degrading its quality to the point of causing severe emotional imbalance. It can make us unable to function and think clearly and even lead to chronic depression. Employing these simple, yet powerful mechanisms for battling stress will help you build mental strength, protect your health, and enjoy life more. And remember the immortal words of Jean-Luc Picard: “Live now; make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.”