At some point in our lives, we all get stressed over seemingly small matters. The smallest things can set us off and turn us into big stress balls. Do you find yourself sweating the small stuff these days? Here are some simple but effective (and free!) ways to reduce your stress and feel more in tune with your state of mind.
How do you unwind and de-stress if you don’t even know when you’re stressed out? Not everyone can recognize the symptoms in their own body. Maybe you’ve been stressed for too long that stressed is the new “normal”. Or maybe you’re just so stressed out that you don’t even realize what’s happening to you. Trouble sleeping, anxiety, moodiness, depression, aches and pains, and general malaise can all be symptoms of stress. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you may benefit from practicing mindfulness. Becoming aware of your own emotions and reactions can automatically reduce your stress, as it will help you identify what’s triggering these negative responses. A great way to start becoming more mindful is to simply ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now and why?”
Ask Yourself if the Big Stuff is Actually Small Stuff
Take a minute and look at your situation. It’s time to start analyzing. What exactly is making you so stressed out? Are there solutions to your problems? Is the stressor in your life something you can overcome with just a little bit of time management, organization, or self-assuredness? Maybe, after all, the small stuff isn’t actually small at all. Maybe the stressor in your life is a major issue that needs some outside help.
Step Out of the Situation
Take an hour-long five-minute break to decompress and step completely out of the situation. If you’re stressing at work, take your lunch early and find a nice quiet spot to sit, relax, and breathe. If you feel like final exams are going to send you to an early grave, stop what you’re doing and take a warm, relaxing bath before hitting those books. Don’t wallow in your stress. Physically moving away from the situation that’s making you sweat can help you mentally distance yourself from the problem.
One of the easiest ways to not sweat the small stuff is to start sweating… literally! It’s no secret that exercise is a major stress buster. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.” Plus, exercising and focusing on a physical activity temporarily gives your mind a break, which gives you the chance to look at the stressors in your life with a fresh perspective.
Talk to Your Doctor
There is no point in judging yourself for stressing out over things that others may deem unimportant. Everyone has different backgrounds, personalities, triggers, and emotional sensitivities. When we say don’t sweat the small stuff, we don’t mean that you’re wrong for being stressed or anxious about things that are going on in your life. But if you find that your stress, anxiety, or even depression is preventing you from enjoying your life, it may be time to speak to your doctor, as there could be some underlying health or psychological issues that are affecting your mood.