Stress – we all have it, whether it’s at work, home or places in between. There are times when we feel especially stressed due to a bad interaction or everyday hassles like traffic. No one’s life is completely stress free, but regular negative stress can keep us from feeling and performing at our best; therefore, it’s important that we learn how to manage it.
There are activities we can incorporate into our daily lives to manage or prevent a build-up of negative stress. These include things such as regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, meditation, etc. However, there are times when we need in-the-moment stress stoppers. Consider these five ideas.
1.) Count to 10 before you react. Even a short pause can help you think clearly.
2.) Leave the situation and go for a walk. A change of scenery can be beneficial in thinking the situation through.
3.) Break down big problems into smaller parts, then you can take it one step at a time.
4.) Turn on relaxing music or an inspirational podcast.
5.) Take a few slow, deep breaths. To do this, try the breathe-deep challenge. This challenge invites you to slow down and breathe deeply any time you need a moment to defuse a stressful situation. Count to 4 as you breathe in. Hold for 4 counts. Breathe out for 4 counts. Repeat four or more times, or until you feel your body un-clench a bit. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your belly expand. Relax your body as you breathe.
By: Emma Parkhurst, Utah State University Extension professional practice assistant professor, 435-919-1334, firstname.lastname@example.org