How to Overcome Stress

February 8, 2018

How to Overcome Stress

You know that feeling when the kids are screaming and you’re trying to get everyone out the door before the bus flies by? Or maybe your office phone won’t stop ringing as you’re getting pulled in a million different directions, and the next thing you know it’s 6pm and you’ve somehow gotten nothing done. We’ve all been there.

No one likes being stressed out or overwhelmed. More often than not, we end up just spinning our wheels while getting nowhere. On top of being unproductive, being stressed out all the time can start to hurt your health.

When you’re stressed, your brain releases a chemical called cortisol. This chemical has been tied to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia and a slew of other conditions – which is why it’s so important to find a way to effectively manage your stress.

To help start you off on the right foot, we’ve laid out a few techniques for you to try.

  1. Prioritize
    Realistically speaking, there are only so many things that you need to get done today. Write a list of only those things.

    From there, put everything else you need to do onto another list. Really ask yourself if the items on that list are things you need to do, or if there are some things you can eliminate all together.

    This will leave you with a list of things to do tomorrow or later in the week. When you feel like you’re in the midst of absolute chaos, this process of organizing and prioritizing should help you feel a little bit more at ease.

  1. Get to Work
    Now look at your list for today and pick out the highest priority items. If there’s one really time sensitive item, start with that one. If they’re all the same level of urgency, just pick one to work on. Either way, the key here is to focus.

    If you try to work on a task while still thinking about everything else you need to do, you’re doing yourself a disservice. In order to make any actual headway, you need to completely dedicate your energy to the task at hand. Otherwise, you’ll be less efficient and end up spending more time on your task than it needs.

    If you find it particularly difficult to shut off the distractions, there are a few tricks to try. If you don’t need the internet, turn off your wifi; it’ll make it harder for you to absentmindedly scroll through Facebook. And if you don’t need your phone, put it out of arm’s reach. Requiring yourself to get up to check it will stop you from mindlessly checking your phone.

  1. Make a Plan
    So, you’ve checked off the items on your list for today. Now what? Now it’s time to make a plan for the things on your “do later” list. Start assigning a timeframe for those tasks.

    Maybe your “do later” list was just as daunting as your “do today” list and you’ll have to repeat the process over again tomorrow – that’s okay. Just keep focusing on the task you have at hand and you’ll keep making progress.

  1. Practice Mindfulness
    “Mindfulness” seems to be a bit of a buzz word lately, and you may find yourself wondering what it actually means. Simply put, it means being aware.

    On days when you’re particularly stressed or overwhelmed, you can use this concept to help you hone in on your focus – like being aware of your common distractors and removing yourself from them. To help prevent you from getting overwhelmed, practice being aware of the things you say “yes” to. Maybe it’s time for you to start saying “no” instead.

    A great way to help improve your mindfulness is to try meditating. Oftentimes, meditation emphasizes breathing – a deep, focused inhale followed by a slow, cleansing exhale. It may not sound like much, but the effects of breathing techniques like this can be surprising.

    Taking in better quality breaths helps get more oxygen into the bloodstream and to the brain. This helps regulate a brain that’s stuck in a “fight or flight” state due to stress.

    It can be as little as three minutes to start, but try to carve out some time for yourself each day to mentally “reset.” If you stick with it, you’ll be able to carry this mindset with you through stressful times.

Got any of your own helpful de-stressing techniques? Let us know! And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get more tips and tricks like these.

Babauta, Leo. (2018, February 1). Primer: When You Have Too Much to Do. Retrieved from https://www.thriveglobal.com/stories/22412-primer-when-you-have-too-much-to-do