Top 7 Habits To Manage Day-to-Day Stress
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Adopt These 7 Habits To Manage Day-to-Day Stress

Mental Wellbeing
Nidhika Bahl
4 min read

Adopt These 7 Habits To Manage Day-to-Day Stress

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In the hectic modern world of today, most people complain about being stressed out! But did you know that stress is just a “fight or flight” response of the body? I am sure you are wondering if the former is true, then what’s the big fuss about stress management?

Well! The biggest worry about stress is that it’s astonishingly unrelenting, sometimes even seductive – one can get used to the feeling of being tense and tight. And even though stress in itself isn’t harmful, it can create a physical degradation of the body over time.

The challenge is that most of us keep all our stressful and negative emotions locked up inside of us. We even judge our own emotions and stop ourselves from experiencing them completely.  In doing so, we forget that the energy once created cannot be destroyed. It can only be transformed. So all the bottled up emotions eventually show up in our body as psychosomatic diseases. The pain we refuse to deal with emotionally, eventually shows up in the body as physical aches, begging us to “PAY ATTENTION NOW (PAIN)!”

According to research, some common physical manifestations of stress are aches and pains, a constant low energy level or always feeling tired without a good reason. Emotional responses include feeling anxious, angry, depressed or vulnerable. And prolonged feelings of stress means that you are not dealing with stress in an effective way. In fact, most people have unhealthy coping mechanisms of dealing with stress - binge eating, alcohol or smoking, being a workaholic or procrastinating things that need to be done, sleeping too little, too much or both and trying to do too many things at once. Engaging in any of these behaviours indicates that you are not dealing with stress well.

So what’s the solution?

Although positive thinking has its contribution in dealing with stress, unless it’s supported by practical wisdom, it is likely to get overpowered. Therefore, the most effective way to reduce the amount of stress in your daily life is to establish fun habits that relieve tension and completely change your emotional state.

Here are seven easy, practical and enjoyable habits that can help you manage day-to-day stress. Try these out and pick your favourite one. You would be able to repeat your favourite one, week after week.

how to manage stress

  • Habit #1 – Listen to Music Exclusively, At Least  For 15 Minutes

As a society, most of us have forgotten to truly enjoy music. Music is played in the background in cars, bars, offices, coffee shops; but when was the last time you sat down deliberately to really savour some music, much like you’d savour a glass of French wine? Find somewhere private where you won’t be disturbed for at least 15 minutes. Get a good pair of headphones or a nice sound system and just listen to some music you enjoy. Really soak in its nuances.

  • Habit #2 – Get a Massage

A good massage can reduce a lot of stress. A great massage can leave you feeling like a completely different person. Find a good masseuse and get a massage, once a week. A great massage can cost anywhere between INR 3K to INR 5K, per session. While not cheap, many business people treat this expense as a necessary business expense rather than a personal leisure, as it contributes so much towards their personal productivity.

  • Habit #3 – Take A Relaxing Bath

Perhaps even a bubble bath. Warm water releases neurotransmitters in your brain that cause relaxation and relieves stress. A good bath daily or a few times a week, can really help change the amount of stress you feel. For greater relief, try soaking in the bath for a while, then doing a 1-minute rinse in cold water and then soaking in warm water again. Cold water constricts the blood vessels and shocks the system, increasing heart rate. When you soak back into warm water, the constricted blood vessels will expand, which results in more blood flow to all the muscles in your body and brain. This increased heart rate and increased blood flow can help reduce a lot of stress.

how to manage stress

  • Habit #4 – Play A Mentally Stimulating Game

Chess. Sudoku. Crossword puzzles. Scrabble. Go.

These are all games that engage the brain and can really “suck” you in. They’ll take you out of whatever is troubling you and get you fully engaged into a task completely unrelated to work, family, relationships or life in general. Getting away from your problems is a great way to reduce stress. Unfortunately, taking a vacation every weekend isn’t feasible. But playing a mentally engaging game for just a few minutes a day, certainly is!
  • Habit #5 - Progressive Muscle Relaxation For A Sound Sleep
Scientists have long ago found that the link between mind and body is two-way. When you’re stressed, your body tenses up. But if you tense up your body, you can also induce stress. The same works for relaxation and stress reduction. By relaxing your body, you can also relax your mind and emotions.

Here’s how to do it: Start by taking a deep breath in and exhaling. Then pick a muscle in your face, such as your jaw muscles, and tense it as strongly, as you can. Hold it for 10 seconds, then relax your muscles. Move on to another muscle group, such as your eyelids. Repeat the process for the whole head area, then move down your body. Strongly tense your neck, shoulders, triceps, biceps, hands, chest, abs, back, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet. Move through every muscle group in your body, progressively tensing it and relaxing it. By the end of this process, your whole body will feel like rubber. You’ll likely be feeling only a fraction of the stress you were feeling when you began the process. Do this before you sleep at night, for a peaceful and sound sleep.

how to manage stress
  • Habit #6 - A Five Minute Stress Meditation
Meditation has long been used to reduce stress. Even people who get into meditation without the intention to reduce stress often walk away feeling uplifted and more relaxed. However, you can deliberately meditate in order to reduce stress. The process takes just 5-10 minutes. How does it work? The basis of any kind of meditation is non-resistance. Basically, you’re accepting the present moment as it is, rather than resisting it or wishing it was a different way. It’s also based in the current moment, experiencing the now as it is, without changing or resisting it in any way. So a “stress meditation” is simply allowing yourself to fully experience your stress. A lot of stress can compound by resisting the stress itself. By allowing yourself to just sit there, experiencing what you’re feeling without resisting it can cause the stress to just flow away.
  • Habit #7 – Journaling
Writing down your thoughts, emotions, and stressors can relieve the sense of being bottled up. A lot of stress doesn’t actually come from events themselves, but from holding the stress on the inside. Writing it down can help you feel like you got those things off your chest, even if you don’t share it with another human being. Try journaling daily for a week, to see if it changes how you feel.

These are the seven habits you can develop to manage your day-to-day stress. It’s best to pick a few that you can “default” to and use anytime you feel stressed. Try out all seven, then choose the ones you find to be most effective.

Nidhika Bahl is a Celebrity Life Coach, TEDx Speaker, International Bestselling Author, Entrepreneur, and Strategic Interventionist. She is also a Health Council member at Healthhunt.

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