7 Tips to Lower Your Stress Levels and Live a Happier Life

Don’t let school or work affect your health

By: Megan Harris, Staff Writer

Whether you’re a student, a post grad looking for work, or employed in the business world, you’re likely have a lot on your mind. No matter where you are in life, you can encounter pressure; from parental pressure to do well in school, to pressure to perform better at your job.

While it is important to work hard and move ahead on your career path, it’s also important to take a step back sometimes, and to try to reduce stress. Too much stress can have negative effects on your health, motivation, relationships with others, your mood, or on your life in general.

According to Webster’s dictionary, stress is defined as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.” Doesn’t sound like something a person would want to keep around, does it?

[pullquote]Stress reduction has been proven to improve health, energy levels, and happiness[/pullquote]

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to reduce stress in your life without taking time or energy away from your job or other activities. In fact, it will make you perform better in these areas. Stress reduction has been proven to improve health, energy levels, and happiness.

It’s also important to deal with stress in the right way, and make sure you’re not partaking in coping strategies that may end up doing more harm than good. For example, negative strategies can include smoking, overeating or under eating, oversleeping, lashing out at others, or withdrawing from other people or from activities you normally take part in.

Here are a few practical tips and ideas for good ways to help you reduce stress in your life:

1. Identify what it is that’s stressing you out. For example, if traffic during your evening or morning commutes makes you tense, see if there’s another way you can travel: public transport, or picking a different route to drive on that takes longer but has less traffic. If there are certain people who stress you out, avoid spending as much time with them, if it’s possible. Look at what small things you’re able to change, even a little bit, about those little situations that stress you out in your life

2. Make to-do lists, and prioritize what is the most important. If you’re a student, and schoolwork is getting to be too much, try to prioritize it in small chunks. Just do what’s due the soonest, and worry about the next deadline when it comes, instead of trying to work on everything at once. In any situation, decide what’s most important on your list to complete, and what can be let go of if there’s not enough time. In certain situations you may be able to ask others to help you out; for example, getting family members or housemates to help with household tasks you’re finding too much.

3. Make sure you have some time each day to yourself just to unwind. Choose an activity that helps you relax. For example, go for a walk, go to a yoga class, take a bath, read a novel, care for a pet, do crafts, watch a funny movie, write in a journal; anything else that will help you to be calm. It’s important to unwind at the end of each day. If you have trouble falling asleep at night because you’re so stressed and worried about everything in your life, having a calming routine before bed can help. If you can, it’s also a good idea to set aside a bit of time to rest each day, even if it’s just ten minutes during your lunch break to go for a quick walk or sit quietly with a book or music.

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