Tips on how to de-stress your life

By Alicia Ardelli

We as humans are easily susceptible to stress, no matter how carefree and relaxed we try to be. When stress balls aren’t enough, don’t fret; there are several methods out there to deal with the looming menace.

Stress is your body’s way of reacting to a challenge. If this challenge proves difficult, it will cause an increase in ‘stress hormones,’ such as adrenaline and cortisol, which send the body into reaction mode. The human body reacts to stress in any of the following ways: an increase in blood pressure, tightening muscles, and even sharpened senses. This reaction mode is known as ‘fight-or-flight’ and is the body’s natural way of protecting you.

Surprisingly, stress isn’t all bad. If kept at the right levels, it can be a great motivator. It keeps you focused and alert, and can even save your life in emergency situations. Although it is hard to combat nature, it is entirely possible to succeed. The number one way of doing so is prevention.

Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol should be avoided. While caffeine and nicotine are always stimulants that agitate the body, alcohol can be one as well when consumed in small quantities. Many people consider having a glass of wine at the end of the day to help de-stress but science says otherwise on the matter.

Since life has many demands and it can be hard to keep up with, time management is a key skill to possess to avoid stress. Keep an agenda, make to-do lists, prioritize, and take it one step at a time. It is important to only take in what you can handle to dodge a hefty work overload. The privilege of sleep can be hard to come by but it is a must when wanting to keep your head straight.

A lack of sleep will cause a substantial increase in stress. However, it may be a never-ending cycle because stress can also result in less sleep. If it is indeed keeping you up at night, try to maximize your relaxation before heading to bed. Remove distractions from your bedroom, avoid that late-night cup of coffee, take a warm bath, and read a book or complete a crossword to relax your eyes.

There are also several relaxation techniques that can be used daily to reduce stress. Try some deep-breathing exercises while at your desk at work or think of a mantra that you can repeat to yourself as the day goes by. Choose words that you consider calming and relaxing. Repetition is important here, as it might not work at first or you might need to use it several times throughout the day.

Be patient with yourself. Discover and keep note of your limits without pushing it. Learn to say ‘no’ to the things that are needless to complete at the time being. Learn to delegate tasks that you aren’t necessarily responsible for. Realize that nearly everything can be altered to fit your personal needs. Don’t be afraid of change and regulate life’s weighty demands as you see fit.

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