FEATURE — Stress – we all have it, whether it’s at work, home or places in between.
There are times when we feel especially stressed due to a bad interaction or everyday hassles like traffic. No one’s life is completely stress-free, but regular negative stress can keep us from feeling and performing at our best; therefore, it’s important that we learn how to manage it.
There are activities we can incorporate into our daily lives to manage or prevent a build-up of negative stress. These include things such as regular physical activity, getting enough sleep and meditation. However, there are times when we need in-the-moment stress stoppers. Consider these five ideas.
1. Count to 10 before you react. Even a short pause can help you think clearly.
2. Leave the situation and go for a walk. A change of scenery can be beneficial in thinking the situation through.
3. Break down big problems into smaller parts, then you can take it one step at a time.
4. Turn on relaxing music or an inspirational podcast.
5. Take a few slow, deep breaths. To do this, try the breathe-deep challenge. This challenge invites you to slow down and breathe deeply any time you need a moment to defuse a stressful situation. Count to 4 as you breathe in. Hold for 4 counts. Breathe out for 4 counts. Repeat four or more times, or until you feel your body un-clench a bit. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your belly expand. Relax your body as you breathe.
Written by EMMA PARKHURST, Utah State University Extension professional practice assistant professor.