Dig Deeper: How to Prevent Future Stress
Last time, we talked about tips and tools for working through the stress in your life. Now it’s time to get proactive – rather than being reactive to it.
How can you identify the triggers of your stress and prevent it in the future? Let’s find out.
So what’s the source of your stress? You may have been able to determine the cause – and your triggers – as you journaled, but there may be more than one source.
The good news? Many stressors are physical and relatively easy to fix.
Lack of sleep
Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep consistently to stay alert and on task. If you’re burning the midnight oil, you’re not doing your body any favors…you’re just increasing your stress.
Are you eating too much sugar, not enough fruits and veggies, or too many carbohydrates? Take inventory of your eating habits and fuel your body in the ways it needs.
Lack of exercise
Feeling sluggish can often be a result of all of the above, but getting more exercise can drastically increase your mood and create more endorphins. Proven to reduce stress, moving your body is one of the best ways to feel better (in general) and keep a good mood.
Too much caffeine
Reaching for those caffeinated drinks can really damage our brain power and force our body into a cycle of need that takes away from our overall productivity. You make not actually be stressed, but your body is addicted to the caffeine.
The mental part of stress is longer term work, that you’ll need to regularly revisit and work through.
Find the stress’s location
Think about the last time you were stressed. Where did you hold it in your body?
Mind is always in my chest, so if I’m feeling those stress or anxiety monsters knocking, I’ll do self acupuncture (or tapping) against my chest to break it up. (This is a simple concept: just take your fingertips and gently tap the area where you hold your stress.)
Long-term, stay mindful of the area where you hold your stress to combat it sooner rather than later, when it takes over.
There are things in life we just cannot control. Stop dwelling on things you cannot and don’t allow them to cause you stress; they are not worth your time.
This is also what I like to call the “swirl” – where your brain goes into overdrive and starts writing stories that simply are not true. Our mind often tells us these stories out of a place of fear.
Do the internal work to process your deepest fears and why they are causing your swirl and stress. Journaling is one of the best tools in your arsenal for this.
Does your stress often happen as a result of poor planning on your part? If it does, you probably could have predicted the outcome and avoided the situation altogether.
Often, better planning can prevent stress in the long-term. Try breaking up large tasks into smaller bite size pieces that can be accomplished before a deadline.
How do you keep your stress at bay – whether mentally or physically?