Some stress is part of the human condition, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to relieve it when it starts to overwhelm your mind and body or to prevent some of it in the first place. Here are my top 10 stress management techniques to help you reduce and manage the stress in your life for the long-term. These aren’t quick fixes, but rather are deeper strategies to more fundamentally alter your relationship with stress. Take your time working through these to truly make them part of your life, and you will see results.
Whether you’re looking for direction or distraction, you’ll find it in these lists for your life. Creating these lists can be healing, and saving them to add onto and review at a later time keeps the healing momentum going. In no particular order, here are approximately 50 healing lists for your life. Enjoy!
You may feel like everyone knows the phone rules when you don’t. Like you never got the handbook or missed out some innate skill or instinct. Maybe you haven’t learned phone skills yet which triggers your anxiety, or maybe your anxiety keeps you from getting enough practice. Or maybe you’ve mastered phone skills, but your anxiety flares up for other reasons. Regardless of your reasons, it doesn’t change the fact that talking on the phone often goes hand in hand with at least some degree of anxiety. The good news is that you can learn to manage or overcome phone anxiety and fear of phone calls.
Even without anxiety, phones are a challenge to our human nature. We are required to be part of a real-time interaction while getting less input about the other person’s reactions. Talking to a disembodied voice with no way to judge body language or facial expressions doesn’t come naturally. Many phone calls are underwhelming. People stutter, misspeak, interrupt, mishear and pretend they didn’t. It’s a wonder that everyone’s goal when on the phone isn’t to get off the phone as soon as possible, right?
We’ve all heard of that rare beast who decides one day to quit smoking and immediately does so cold turkey and successfully. If that’s you, congratulations!
For the rest of us mere mortals, it can be a little more complicated. Here’s a “How to Quit Smoking for Free” guide for us regular people.
10 Steps to Prepare to Quit Smoking
Preparing to quit smoking is the foundation of a successful quit plan, and this period of preparation will drastically increase your chances of success.
(1) Set a quit date for two to four weeks away. Choose a firm and specific date, and if it is a meaningful date (a birthday or holiday), all the better, but try to choose a date no more than six weeks away. Preparation is a crucial component of a successful quit plan, and this period of preparation will drastically increase your chances of success.
(3) Adjust your expectations. Are you expecting yourself to be perfect? What if you relapse? If you are not an immediate success–if you slip up–you have not failed. You can learn from each relapse, and remind yourself that it is all part of the process.
(4) Develop awareness of your smoking behavior and triggers. When and where do you always smoke? Before or after what events do you smoke? Who do you often smoke with? What emotions cause you to smoke? You can work through some of these questions here. Continue reading “How to Quit Smoking Cigarettes for Free”
Coping statements are positive and true statements used to replace the negative and untrue thoughts that often take root when you feel anxious, depressed, stressed, angry, or when facing other distressing or overwhelming situations. For example, replace “I can’t take it anymore” with “I’m doing it. I can handle this.” Unlike affirmations (“I’m feeling calm and peaceful”), positive coping statements are both positive and TRUE. Use this huge list to find coping statements for anxiety, depression, stress, grief, phobias, disordered eating, anger, and more.
Learning how to say no and set boundaries will help you to protect and nurture yourself. Saying yes when you really need to say no can cause stress, burnout, bitterness, and resentment. If you are drained, have other plans, or just don’t want to say yes, you can learn how to say no without being steamrolled or intimidated.
Saying no is appropriate when it keeps you from stretching yourself too thin or protects your own time. Unless your sole reason for saying no is that you despise helping people, then saying no is NOT selfish. Learn how to say no and set boundaries for your own personal wellness, because you are worth it.
How to Say No Like You Mean It
You’re looking for ways to fall asleep faster and sleep better after too many nights tossing and turning, or thinking and overthinking, or reading one more chapter or finishing one more level while repeatedly calculating how much sleep you could get if you fell asleep right now. Then waking too soon, too tired, and not rested. Lack of sleep can add to stress, anxiety, and depression and makes life in every area harder. Please use these ways to fall asleep faster and sleep better to get more rest and feel better overall.
You can learn how to forgive yourself for past mistakes, even if you don’t feel you deserve forgiveness yet. It will take patience and repetition, but self-forgiveness is worth it. It is tied into our self-esteem, mood, outlook, and how you live your life. You can learn how to forgive yourself for past mistakes and create a new future.
“Wait, CAN I forgive myself? Should I?”
Well, let’s see if you can or should learn to how to forgive yourself before you actually learn how to forgive yourself. All you need to do is answer these three questions:
–Can you accept that because you are human, you make mistakes? (Everyone of us has mistakes and/or regrets in our pasts.)
–Can you remember anything you learned from any of your mistakes? (You know what follows a mis-take, right? A re-take! Learn from it and take another shot!)
–Can you accept that it is impossible for you to be perfect? Because you are not superhuman?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then YES. You should forgive yourself and you CAN forgive yourself!
“How? HOW can I forgive myself?”
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is based on the idea that struggling with and trying to change your thoughts and emotions actually increases your distress. It focuses on learning to accept difficult thoughts and emotions without believing or drowning in them, and helps you work toward committing to living a meaningful life in alignment with your deepest values.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT—pronounced as the word “act”) is a mindfulness-based behavioral therapy. ACT uses a mix of metaphors, stories, paradox, acceptance skills, and mindfulness techniques, along with experiential exercises and values-guided interventions.
The core ACT interventions focus around two main goals:
(1) cultivating acceptance of unwanted private experiences, and
(2) committing to action towards living a valued life.
ACT does not focus on reducing symptoms but instead encourages you to accept your inner distress instead of trying to control it. Many people find their symptoms decrease faster as a result!