Stress Management Techniques Everyone Should Practice
Add these simple, effective techniques to your daily routine.
From small daily incidents to major life events, stress is an inevitable part of life. Some of it is good for you - for instance, the kind that’s needed for growth, like the stress exercise can have on the body, but ultimately leads to positive health outcomes.
“Bad” stress often comes from your external environment and has the potential to have both short- and long-term effects on your health. Left unchecked, chronic stress can lead to certain conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
Learning to manage stress well not only improves your daily life, but can help prevent the onset or exacerbation of chronic conditions. And the good news is that stress management is anything but complicated - below are simple, effective techniques that can easily be added to your daily routine.
Take time for yourself as often as possible
Building intentional time to unwind into your daily routine can help prevent small, repetitive daily stressors from building to the point that it feels unmanageable. Try to schedule a few minutes every hour or two to step away from your work to shift your focus and reset. What you do during these short breaks is up to you - the most important thing to remember is that it allows you to decompress.
Incorporate daily walks
Taking a daily walk is one of the most powerful tools you can use to manage your stress. It doesn’t have to be a long one or overly formalized for the benefits to kick in, either. Taking a 10 minute walk on your lunch break or finding time during the day to get outdoors can help to improve your heart health - all while helping you manage your stress in the short term and long term.
Practice equal breathing
Focusing on your breath, even momentarily, can alter your head space and reduce your stress level. A simple technique that you can try from anywhere is equal breathing. To start, shift your focus to your breath and begin counting the length of time it takes to inhale and exhale. As you continue to breathe, try to begin syncing your breathing so your exhale is as long as your inhale. Start with a 2-3 second inhale and exhale, and build from there.
Create an evening ritual
Creating an evening routine can help you unwind and also aid in more productive and consistent sleep. Start by choosing an activity you enjoy and look forward to each night. Some great options include journaling, meditating, reading your favorite book, or making your favorite caffeine-free tea. Taking just 10 minutes a night to practice these habits can reduce the stress you’ve been carrying with you throughout the day, and also set a good foundation going into the next.