How To Keep Calm During The Day & Keep Stress Levels Low
Identify the sources of stress in your
life & start a “stress diary”
This isn’t as
straightforward as it sounds. Pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be
more complicated. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it
in your “stress diary”. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns
and common themes. Write down what caused your stress, how you felt, (both
physically and emotionally), how you acted in response, and what you did to make yourself feel better.
Practice the 4 A's
While stress is an
automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at
predictable times—your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family
gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can
either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option
to choose in any given scenario, it’s helpful to think of the four A's: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
Avoid unnecessary stress
- Learn how to say
- Know your limits and
stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, taking on more
than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress. Distinguish between the
"shoulds" and the "musts" and, when possible, say "no"
to taking on too much.
- Avoid people who stress
you out. If someone consistently
causes stress in your life, limit the amount of time you spend with that
person, or end the relationship
Take control of your
environment. If the evening news makes
you anxious, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but
less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore do your
grocery shopping online.
- Pare down your to-do list. Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If
you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the
“musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or
eliminate them entirely.
Physical activity is a
huge stress reliever, and you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a
gym to experience its benefits. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel
good, and it can also serve as a valuable distraction from your daily worries.
Connect with others
There is nothing more
calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel
safe and understood. Face-to-face interaction triggers a cascade of hormones
that counteracts the body’s defensive “fight-or-flight” response. It’s nature’s
natural stress reliever.
Make time for fun and relaxation
Nurturing yourself is a
necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation,
you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors.
- Set aside leisure time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. This is
your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your
- Do something you enjoy
every day. Make time for leisure
activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or
working on your bike.
- Keep your sense of humor. This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of
laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
- Consider taking up a relaxation
Relaxation techniques such
as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation
response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the fight or flight or
mobilization stress response.
Manage your time better
Poor time management can
cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s
hard to stay calm and focused. The good news: there are things you can do to
achieve a more healthy work-life balance.
- Don't over-commit
yourself. Avoid scheduling things
back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. - - Prioritize tasks. Make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order
of importance.Do the high-priority items first. If you have something
particularly unpleasant to do, get it over with early. The rest of your day
will be more pleasant as a result.
- Break projects into small
steps. If a large project seems
overwhelming, make a step-by-step plan. Focus on one manageable step at a time,
rather than taking on everything at once.
- Delegate responsibility. You don’t have to do it all yourself, whether at home, school,
or on the job. If other people can take care of the task, why not let them? Let
go of the desire to control or oversee every little step. You’ll be letting go
of unnecessary stress in the process.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Eat a healthy diet.Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress,
so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep
your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout
- Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary "highs" caffeine and sugar provide
often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee,
soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed
and you’ll sleep better.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes,
and drugs. Self-medicating with
alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only
temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on
and with a clear mind.
Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling
tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.