Chances are you are going to need these techniques to reduce stress If you’re trying to change the world or build your dream career. Not all stress is created equal- there’s good stress and bad stress. Good stress is stress that motivates you; bad stress is continuous and damaging to your health.
The inspiration for this article comes from being a corporate employee during the day and yoga teacher at night. I’ve learned a lot about techniques to reduce stress in my every day life from my passion in yoga.
Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress:
True deep breathing exercises, not the shallow breathing we have come accustom to. I often use this analogy in my classes. If you ever watch a baby breathe you’ll see the baby’s belly fill slowly as they inhale and decrease as they exhale. As we get older we breathe quickly, filling only our chests. In other words, as we inhale our bellies concave puffing out our chests and when exhale our bellies relax (the opposite to how a baby breathes). You can correct this problem by focusing on deep breathing while filling up all the space in your lungs. It’s so simple you can do them at your desk, especially right after your boss asks you to pull another all nighter.
Start by breathing through the nose while slowing down the breath by counting to five on the inhale. Place a hand on your stomach and feel your stomach expand as you fill each inch of space in your lungs. When you reach number five, count backwards while you exhale through the nose emptying out your lungs. Do a couple of sets- no doubt you’ll start to feel calm. After becoming more experienced increase your count from 5 to 6 and so on.
You can not dismiss the effects of a regular exercise routine has on combating stress. Some newbies have it wrong by skipping exercise all together because they’re “too busy”. When you exercise you reduce the stress hormones called adrenaline and cortisol, while stimulate the production of endorphins. Whether I’m going for a run or practicing yoga it allows me time to myself to clear my mind. After a good exercise session I feel like I can take on the world. Exercising regularly leads to a good night’s sleep.
Clear head + good night’s sleep = more productive.
Journaling or writing down your thoughts is one of the great techniques to reduce stress. Putting your thoughts or worries down on paper always helps me have a better perspective on the “bigger picture”. Whenever I have trouble sleeping it’s usually because I’m trying to work through a problem in my head. Once my mind is racing it’s impossible to fall back asleep. Now I write down my thoughts regardless what time of night it is.
The best techniques to reduce stress are preventative ones. Yes, not all stress can be controlled, however, you must limit the stress you can.
Don’t take too much on… I’m serious even if it seems like a good idea. Having too much on your plate is not only stressful, it is also sloppy. You’re spreading yourself thin and not being fully present in what you do. I use to subscribe “the more, the better”. Some people believe the busier they are, the more important they are. This is wrong. Commit to one major project at a time so you can actually enjoy it and learn from it. Your reputation is on the line after all.
Allow buffer time in your schedule- plan for “what if scenarios”. That way you’ll be less likely to get stressed out when something goes astray because life happens, no matter how much you plan.
If you’re trying to start a business on the side (most people do it while still working their day jobs) but you’re stressed out because your current job doesn’t give you a lot a free time so your dreams are being pushed aside. Break the cycle by taking a bridge job. A bridge job is a job that’s not considered a career job but you make enough money to pay your bills and is less demanding (i.e. 9-5 and you never have to think about it outside of work).
Most importantly don’t spread yourself socially. With smart phones, emails and text messages we’re making ourselves too accessible which can lead to social burnout. Don’t feel the need to respond to emails and text messages right away especially during time you designated to work on yourself. Get in a habit to disconnect from technology by not make yourself available 24/7. On top of that never respond to an email or text when you’re stressed out or full of anxiety. Wait 20 minutes to cool down and you will be less likely to respond with charged emotions.
When looking for techniques to reduce stress remember this great quote: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s all small stuff.”