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Stress is not caused by the environment, but by our reaction to the environment.
It is a fact of life that we are all ‘stressed’. Whether it’s physical stress or emotional stress, we are all managing a degree of stress. We all take on stress from our own lives and then feed off each other’s stress. It really is one big stress cycle. Yet perhaps all we need is one magic solution that helps us realise a situation doesn’t have to be ‘stressful’. The situation is merely demanding – and if we change our reaction to it, it could just be… a situation.
So what could be your magic solution to de-stressing? I’ve weighed up the pros and cons of six of the most popular ‘de-stress methods’.
1. Get some fresh air
This is probably the suggestion given to you by your boss after a bad meeting. It’s a quick fix, a moment to get away and take some time out from the ‘stress’ at hand. Whilst this may make you feel better momentarily, heading back into whatever made you leave in the first place is probably only going to bring back the stress. Short-term fix yes – long term fix… perhaps not!
2. Read a book
Reading a book is the ultimate quiet activity, which will take your mind into a fictional world. AWAY FROM THE STRESS! Hurray! Obviously reading requires some kind of brain function, perhaps not great if you are exhausted. Although arguably, if you’re delving into a good story, all worries of reality are long forgotten. Perhaps a winner?
3. Practice meditating or mindfulness
Everyone has a different opinion of what meditating or mindfulness means – and the values it may add to their daily life. Some people I have spoken to practice everyday (I am included in this category), whilst others struggle to understand it. So this leaves me to only conclude that a) this is something we need to be taught and b) something we need to be personally invested in. In both these cases, effort is required. However, if the research is correct, this could well be the sure fire way to reach de stress station. And actually stay there.
This is an extremely popular one and the formula to reducing stress is pretty straightforward. Exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Exercise also provides the ultimate distraction from your thoughts, as you are forced to focus on your body. I would argue here that it is vital to finding a form of exercise that works for you. Pushing yourself beyond your capability probably isn’t going to help.
5. Go on holiday
Unless your Mrs or Mr Moneybags with an extended period of times with no commitments, this is probably not the most practical suggestion. Unfortunately most of us can’t pop off every time we feel a bit overwhelmed – although wouldn’t life be great if we could? On the other hand, I’m not sure there is any better relaxer than lying on a beach in the sun, skiing down a slope at full speed or taking a walk through beautiful scenery. Yes a sure fire way to a carefree life but not the most realistic.
6. Have a nap
Probably the most unorthodox on the list and again, not always practical. I.e. in stressful meetings or lunch with the in-laws, it is difficult to excuse yourself to have a nap. Also this method requires you to actually be tired to capture optimum escapism. So, there are a few cons but if a nap is fully achieved, you may reach a state of dreamy bliss. Result.
I would end by highlighting that whilst life is like a box of chocolates, sometimes you just know if there is something in particular that is causing you a large amount of stress. Remember you are your own boss – you have the power change things.