We live in a fast-paced world. We can all benefit from incorporating stress reduction into our daily routine in order to nurture and encourage our wellbeing. Stress manifests differently for all of us, but some of the common symptoms of stress include headaches, anxiety, muscle tension or pain, gastrointestinal upsets, insomnia, and depression. Stress also lowers our immunity and leaves us more vulnerable to illness.
Following are 10 things you can do to reduce stress:
1. Practice extreme self-care. Eat healthily, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly. Know when your plate is full, and practice saying no. Schedule down time for being instead of always doing.
2. Practice living in the moment. Stay focused on the present moment rather than regretting the past and worrying about the future. The present moment shows up in three aspects of our being: in the physical body through sensations, in the emotional body through feelings, and in the mental body through thoughts.
3. Practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can help you train to live in the present moment. Studies show that it results in increased feelings of peace and wellbeing, decreased stress, increased work productivity, and increased creative thinking.
4. Live intentionally. Create intentions for designing the life that you want, continually put effort toward your intentions, and maintain optimism about creating the life you desire. Decrease the amount of time spent watching TV, surfing the Internet, or other activities that drain your time and energy.
5. Savor the simple pleasures. Find pleasure in the simple things. When you experience a moment of happiness or pleasure, stop to become aware of how you feel in your body, mind, and heart, savor the experience, and then recall the experience several times throughout the day.
6. Maintain a healthy work and life balance. Focus on your personal wellbeing, and take care of yourself so that you remain well. Practice delegating and letting go of expectations for perfection.
7. Eliminate energy drainers. Identify the undone things that are draining your energy and do them, delegate them, or toss them out. Decrease contact with people in your life who drain your energy.
8. Engage in creative effort. Rediscover old creative endeavors or discover new ones. Engage in creative activities that you enjoy and that encourage creative flow.
9. Connect with nature. Find the beauty in the simplicity of the everyday. Get outside and engage with nature with your senses. Enjoy what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Rediscover a sense of awe and wonder as you connect with nature.
10. Practice compassion and loving-kindness. Speak to yourself and others with kindness and compassion. Let go of trying to be perfect. Treat yourself as though you were your only child. Approach others with this same attitude.