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4 Proven Strategies to Manage Stress

Lifestyle & Wellness | Wellness

Stress. We all have it in some form. But there are many ways to manage and ultimately reduce it. Today, I'm going to talk about four simple strategies that can help you better manage your stress. 

1. Meditate. 

There are lots of different types of meditation. You have meditation that's specifically for anxiety, for sleep, for relaxation. But the one that I think would be is most effective is a technique called mindfulness.

Now, with mindfulness, you're learning to separate the part of your mind that notices from the part of your mind that experiences the thoughts or emotions. You're training your brain to be able to simply notice and not engage or become consumed with the stress, the anxiety, the racing thoughts.

So it's a skill you develop over time, like training a muscle at the gym. It doesn't happen overnight, but through practice and consistency, people have definitely seen a lot of benefits from this and it's been a real game changer for people.

The best place to start here would be to use some of the meditation apps that are available through the app store. Here are a few recommendations:

10 minutes a day is really enough to start seeing benefits. Consistency is key. Keep at it. They have great courses for beginners, for skeptics, for people who don't really feel like they know what they're doing with meditation, so the apps can be a great way in there.

2. Sleep better. 

The second technique I'll go over is sleep. Sleep affects every system of the body. You have your mental health, your metabolism, your digestion — everything is affected by sleep.

Of course, stress is going to be affected by sleep too. Getting a good seven to nine hours is going to be really helpful for improving your stress tolerance. Prioritizing sleep and following some of those sleep hygiene habits would be a great way to tackle this.

3. Exercise regularly. 

Next, we have exercise. Exercise is also great for improving sleep. Exercise really helps people mentally and physically deal with stress, and this can be anywhere from light yoga to walking to just getting out of the house a little bit, getting outdoors, to the more intense things, like running or a spin class or weightlifting.

There's no specific prescription for exercise in terms of stress management. If you're not sleeping well and have a 60-hour work week and a new baby, it's probably better to stick to the lighter side of the exercise spectrum.

Because in that situation, doing too much could be counterproductive. But just listening to your body and moving and doing what feels good is a great way to improve stress.

4. Maintain a social connection with friends and family. 

The final one here is going to be social connection. Having a robust social network, a good group of friends, can really go a long way in improving multiple health markers — anxiety, depression, blood pressure, longevity, and stress.

All of this can be improved by getting out with friends regularly, relaxing, and having fun. Planning that deliberate time to go out and just be with people can really help stress in the long run too.

They did a really interesting study comparing having a good social connection and not smoking, and they found that the group they followed that had a robust social network was a better predictor of longevity than not smoking, which is a pretty mind-blowing finding.

Take the time to prioritize that, knowing that it will make you better at your job and with your family and the other things you care about doing. All of this is connected. Taking time to take care of yourself in one area will help you improve outcomes in the other. 

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