We all know that too much stress is a bad thing. It certainly feels bad, and we know that it has negative health consequences. However, you’ll never create a life completely free of stress. It’s a normal part of being alive.
A “stressor” refers to something that triggers a chemical stress response in your body. To a certain extent you can identify and limit the number of stressors in your life, and that’s what this post is about.
Here are seven ways to decrease your stress today by minimizing your stress triggers.
1. Cross things off you schedule and to-do list
A busy schedule can make you feel overwhelmed. Examine your schedule and make it more bare-bones. Create empty spaces. Your to-do list may be unreasonable. Break it up into what you want to accomplish in a year, a month, a week, and today. Make these lists realistic. What can you delete from your schedule every single day, in order to create more open space and free time?
2. Start saying no more often
Learn to say no if you don’t know how. Women are socially raised to always say yes, and put the needs of others before ourselves. While taking care of others is a beautiful thing, if it comes at the expense of taking care of ourselves, eventually we won’t have anything to give! Practice saying no with grace, and without apology or guilt. With practice it will come easier.
3. Batch the things you do
Instead of being swayed by whatever comes at you – phone calls, text messages, emails, or requests from others – take charge of your time. Make decisions about what’s essential, and then batch it. This means deciding when you are catching up on news, spending quality time with your kids, checking your email, answering phone calls, cooking, exercising, relaxing, or working. Shut down the things you are not doing. Know that all you need to do is the activity you are doing, so you can do it fully and be present while you do it.
4. Turn off notifications and resist distractions
Distractions can be a huge time suck, and cause you to feel off-track and overwhelmed. This includes online distractions, such as notifications and social media pings. Turn off notifications and be in charge of when you deal with online tasks. You may find you spend less time online overall, or at least that you are in charge of when you get online and what you do when you’re there. You may also find that it’s incredibly freeing to unchain yourself from your phone or device of choice for periods of time.
5. Avoid or minimize stressful events
Don’t push yourself into situations that stress you out or drain your energy. Identify these situations and avoid them. Instead, spend your time in situations that recharge you. Introverts may prefer slower time with fewer people. Extroverts may get lonely by too much time alone or at home, and need to get out and be around lots of people. Seek the events and situations that feed you, and avoid the ones that drain you. Get rid of the “should” voice in your head, which gets easier with practice.
6. Avoid or minimize contact with stressful people
Minimize contact with people who stress you out. You know who those people are. Avoidance can be a great strategy in order to protect yourself and reduce your stress.
7. Drop pointless arguing and drama
Do you notice that you tend to be in argumentative or dramatic situations regularly? If so, begin to practice letting go of these situations. There may be something about them that draws you. Real-life drama is inevitably stressful. If you enjoy a bit of drama, go see a high drama movie to get that desire out of your system.
In a nutshell:
- Delete to-dos
- Say no
- Batch activities
- Resist distraction
- Avoid stressful people
- Minimize stressful events
- Lose the drama
Read more about effective ways to manage stress here. If you score high on the adrenal stress quiz, consider taking the Dutch adrenal hormone test and getting on a tailored program to turn your stress around.
I’d love to hear your comments below,