In a recent post, I talked about stress and gave you one thing you can do right away to help manage your stress (hint: breathe.) And, I promised that I would share some more things you can do right away to help with stress.
Remember, though, that there are two kinds of stress — good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress). In our discussions we will talking about ways to reduce the bad stress, and not worry too much about the good stress.
There are also a few things that are mixed. For instance, exercise is one of those things that will help combat distress. But, trying to implement it on a regular basis can be a source of distress. That sounds like a “Catch-22”, doesn’t it?
It really isn’t — you just have to realize that if you want to use exercise as a longer-term strategy for managing stress, you will want to reduce your stress with other techniques before you incorporate exercise as a long-term stress management strategy.
And since we mentioned exercise, let’s go ahead and talk about it as a short-term stress-reduction tip.
You have undoubtedly heard about exercise to reduce stress. And the very thought of it may increase your stress level. But did you know it doesn’t have to be the heart-pounding, gasping-for-breath, “oh my god, I’m going to die” kind of exercise to be effective (for stress reduction)?
It can be just a few minutes of walking at 2-and-a-half or 3 miles per hour. That’s the pace you walk when you spot a friend (or a sale) at the other end of the mall and you want to catch up with them. In other words, faster than the shopping stroll you do, but not enough to start breathing hard. At the proper pace, you should be able to walk and carry on a conversation (no gasping needed.)
Walking with a friend can make it more enjoyable, too. In fact, just visiting with a friend carries its own stress-reduction benefit. Combine the two and you have a double-whammy.
Being outdoors when the weather’s amenable is another short-term strategy. If you can be in nature, all the better. (Outside at noon in Times Square is NOT going to be as effective as being on the beach in Hawaii. But there are lots of places in between that are accessible to you.)
A few minutes walk (exercise) in a park — or similar enjoyment of nature — is also a great combination to tame that stress.
Did you notice? We just covered 3 tips:
- Light exercise
- Visiting with a friend
- Getting out into nature
And they can be combined to increase their effectiveness.
These tips can be applied on the spur of the moment to help reduce stress and bring perspective back. But, the more you take advantage of them, the easier they become and the more effective they become. In fact, once you have done it a bit, just thinking about doing one (or more) of them will start to lower your blood pressure… and your stress.
Have you tried these? What was your experience with them? Or maybe you have a little different variation? Share with us in the comments.
Looking for more tips… or need help creating a custom stress-management program? Contact me. I help clients find the solutions that work for them and their particular situation in a way they can live with… and even enjoy. I can help you, too.