Stress Busters for Everyone
Choose your stress response.
Everyone naturally responds to different stressors in different ways. Learn how to unlock the hidden benefits of stress for yourself.
When stress winds you up, make a habit of winding down.
Successful people rely on simple ways to unwind their stress. It is reported that Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates reads before bed. Legendary investor Warren Buffett plays the ukulele. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg turns off her phone.
Commit to getting enough sleep.
Fatigue is a powerful stressor. Adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep nightly; neither less nor more is good. If you need to, consider taking a short nap (30 minutes max) if your schedule allows.
Look for possibilities, not catastrophes.
Focus on taking positive steps to master a challenge, not on the potential consequences of failure. If those negative thoughts start, simply tell them, "no." (It really works.)
Plan a reward.
Make time for something you enjoy at dayâ€™s end. Your brain is often still working on a problem while the rest of you is having some fun.
Release tension with activity.
Getting physical releases stress energy. Do something vigorous: run, swim, dance, play ball, anything you like.
Make time for friends.
Friends are important allies in helping you cope with normal and extraordinary stressors. Donâ€™t miss connecting with them.
Take a walk—even if you only have 10 minutes, get out of your chair. Princeton researchers found that physical activity "reorganizes the brain", reducing stress, refreshing focus, and priming it to learn something new.
Turn off distractions.
Silence email alerts, put your phone away, close that browser—it can all wait (at least temporarily). Use the resulting calm for focused work, uninterrupted thinking, or even deep breathing.
Good posture really can make you feel better. Holding your head and shoulders upright actually makes breathing easier and can relax you much more than slumping in your chair.
Bust the clutter.
UCLA researchers found that looking at clutter can trigger a stress response. Cleaning up and organizing your space gives you "visual breathing room" that helps you feel calm and in control.
For Your Family
Act on your stress signs before overload hits.
As a parent, recognizing your reactions can be very helpful in curbing stress before overload makes you irritable, impatient, or angry.
Say "no" sometimes.
Resist taking on too much. Simplifying and focusing on what's really important to you can help keep you and your family less frazzled and a lot happier.
Practice preventive prep.
Planning reduces stress on family routines and relationships. Prep breakfast the night before...make a spare set of keys...keep up on car maintenance to avoid breakdowns...reserve time with your partner.
Make time to nourish your spirit with fun. Not only will you reduce your parental stress, you'll reconnect with—and share—the joyful parts of yourself.
Stress can't defeat you if you see it coming and know how to counter it's effects.
Find the right combination of tactics that work in your life, and you'll thrive in every situation—even for (or especially) the stressful ones.