How can I learn to relax to reduce stress?

Robert DeVito

The first step to reacting to stress in a positive way is to understand that stress is a natural part of life. Meaning, you have got to know that avoidance of stress is highly unlikely, however, being better prepared for stressors and having a plan in place to identify when you are feeling stressed and having skills and tools at the ready will mentally prepare you to better handle stress and stressful situations.

A few of these tools - 

  1. Mindfulness/awareness - Being present and aware of how you are thinking and how you are feeling is vital to a positive outcome.  Practice "checking in" with yourself when you are in a clear mind. Ask yourself questions such as: How am I feeling?  Am I tense? Am I having recurring focus on one challenge or problem? Am I in an even mood or am I becoming short in my temper?  A consistent "check-in" will better keep you on track and aware of your feelings.
  2. Breathe -  You can either focus on a problem or you can focus on a solution. One way in which you can focus on a solution is to slow down and breathe.  Find a quiet spot where you can be alone for 3-5 minutes.  Breathe in deep through your nose and out through your mouth.  Repeat.
  3. Develop a "mantra" -  A mantra is a saying that is simple and repeatable. It will be your "go to" phrase to keep you focused on what you want. An example of a positive and simple mantra is - "I am strong enough to face any challenge." or "I get to choose my mood and my reactions."
  4. Maintain Perspective - Focus on "Big Picture" things. Ask yourself if what you are getting upset about will matter in an hour, or tomorrow. In most cases it will not. This perspective shift will allow you to maintain focus on what matters rather than spending time being upset over "little things".
  5. Avoid Perfectionism - As a part of the Human race, we are prone to mistakes. Remember this. No one handles everything perfectly. If we can "live and learn" then we are on the right track.  Gain lessons and tools from your mistakes to better enable you to not get so stressed and rebound from stress quicker.

Summary :

Understand that stress is natural and with practice you can maintin control of your mood by being prepared for impending stressors. Smile, Breathe and stay happy!

Learn to relax by allowing yourself to let go of inner tensions by giving yourself a mini vacation. Give your mind a break by becoming engrossed in a good book, watching a movie, listening to music, taking a walk, working on a hobby, meditating or similar activity that is relaxing for you. Also, be kind to yourself. People are frequently too hard on themselves when things don’t go right. Tune into your self talk, and counteract your negative thoughts about yourself with positive statements.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.