Give Yourself a Break
When giving you a break we don’t mean take 15 minutes to get a snack. We mean stop being your own worst enemy. Stop defeating yourself with negative self-talk. Most of us focus too much on the negative things about ourselves and our own shortcomings and fears of failure. To reduce stress this practice needs to be curtailed.
It is nearly impossible to stop all inward negativity but we can limit it. Acknowledge to yourself when you realize you are playing negative messages over in your mind. Talk to yourself. Tell yourself that you are stressing yourself out and that you can stop it. It will pass if you recognize what you are doing and remind yourself that you have had success and achieved many goals. Tell yourself that you can overcome whatever negative outcome you fear by analyzing the situation, coming up with a plan of action and/or by asking for help. Every time you catch yourself in this negative spiral make a note or symbol in your phone, journal or calendar. This could be a letter “N” or “F” or even a percentage mark (%) or exclamation point (!). This is just a personal note to remind you to change your focus. You can track the frequency of the notes to see if you are making progress. Keep a box or folder to put positive notes or news clippings about your successes. Look those over for a few minutes. Your stress level will reduce if you reverse negative ideas and focus on positive outcomes. As an added bonus you may also be more productive!
Manage Your Time
A main cause of stress relates to how you manage your time. When people feel rushed, they often feel stressed. When you say, "I have too much to do and too little time to do it," you are expressing this frustration and stress. With good time management, you know how much time you have and how long it will take to get your tasks completed. You can accomplish more and have more time to enjoy life. Good time management reduces the feeling of being rushed and the subsequent frustration and stress. If you don’t already have a time management system in place then it is time to search for one. There are many books and systems available to help people manage their time. Think about your personal work style and find the right system to keep you organized. Sticking to this system will help you reduce stress.
Unplug and Relax
Take time to disconnect. Whether it's turning your phone off at night, setting your phone to "Do Not Disturb" for a scheduled period, or posting an actual sign on your door—find a way to unplug yourself from the world. The constant influx of information can be physically and emotionally draining.
Have you ever stopped during the hectic moments of the day and actually listened to the amount of noise that is around you? The constant buzz of people, the message notification tones, television banter, computer noise, the hum of the lights, traffic outside, doors opening and closing and even the clicking of heels on the floor—it can get crazy sometimes. This sensory overload leads to stress. Sometimes the only way to get rid of distraction is to avoid social interaction of any kind. To reduce stress you must find time to unplug and relax. Find time to be alone.
Put on headphones to cancel noise or listen to soft, relaxing music. Close your eyes and breathe. Follow this technique recommended by health experts from the University of New Hampshire:
Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Visualize the air that you take into your lungs as being clean, fresh, pure, healing, energizing air. It has the power to cleanse, center, heal and energize your body. As you breathe visualize it as it enters your nose or mouth travel through sinus cavity to the top of your head and down your spinal column to circulate throughout your body. As you exhale, visualize that the air leaving your body is dirty air symbolizing all of your stress and toxins in your body and mind. With each breath, fresh, cleaning, healing, air enters your body and dirty air is released with each exhale. Breathing creates calmness and assists in reducing stress.
Repeat this breathing for 5-10 minutes.