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How to manage stress

You didn’t get the promotion you worked so hard for, you’re fighting with your partner at home, you’ve recently received some frightening health news – there are lots of reasons why you might be feeling stressed. The reality is, everyone experiences painful moments in life, and they range from getting upset about something minor, like spilling coffee on yourself during your morning commute, to major, like grappling with divorce or a death in the family.

It’s normal to feel upset when bad things happen, but you can’t let these moments create unnecessary stress in your life. By letting your stress go unchecked, you’ll begin to feel like the cards are stacked against you, and ultimately, feel like giving up on your goals. Over time, this will cause you to live in a depressed state. Instead, you can choose to live in a beautiful state, no matter what’s happening in your daily life, and ultimately pursue a more joyful existence by using these stress management techniques.

Recognize that stress isn’t permanent

woman resting her head on her knees

Think about one of the worst moments in your life. Maybe you learned your partner was cheating on you, or perhaps you sustained a terrible injury. How did you get through that experience? Did you lean on friends and family for support? Did you turn to a professional, like a Results Coach or therapist? Did you incorporate wellness practices into your life, like meditation or a new form of exercise? The point is, you got through it. It’s in the past. When you’re experiencing pain in the moment, it can feel like there’s nothing in the world but suffering. But eventually, life goes on, and hopefully, you’re able to emerge from the experience as a wiser version of yourself. Pain isn’t permanent. If you’re able to accept that, then you’re already on your way to knowing one of the most important stress management tips.

Find a greater purpose

You need to start thinking of life as happening for you, instead of a series of things happening to you. You are in complete control of what direction your life goes. However, that doesn’t mean you should be solely focused on yourself. What’s the reason that you do the things you do? What drives your hunger? What keeps you working toward your goal?

Identifying a greater purpose will help you to eliminate stress from your life. If you’re completely committed to serving something bigger than yourself, like your family, community or the planet at large, why would you waste time getting hung up on stress? There’s no time to waste when you’re serving a greater purpose, and keeping this at the forefront of your mind will help to combat stress if you encounter any obstacles in your way.

man standing in front of a beautiful sunset

Create new habits

woman working on her laptop

Stress is a habit. In the past, when something negative happened, you fell into the pattern of becoming stressed out or anxious as a result. The good news is, you can change your habits. You can train yourself to react in a different way – emotionally, mentally and physically – that enables you to more easily turn away from stress. Think about your thought patterns when faced with a stressful situation – what are you really afraid of? Are you stressed about an upcoming job interview because, ultimately, you are terrified of being seen as a failure? Catch yourself in these negative thought patterns before they evolve into a full-blown stress cycle.

Take deep breaths and ground yourself in reality. What will really happen if you botch a job interview? Things will be tough, but most likely, you’ll just have to continue looking for additional jobs. If you adopt a growth mindset and start looking for opportunities in stressful situations, instead of reasons to panic, your life will change.

Physically, think about how your body reacts to stress. Maybe you get a headache or have trouble sleeping. In the moment, you slouch your shoulders and have trouble making eye contact with those around you. Practice alleviating yourself from stress by presenting your body confidently. Stand up straight, find a breathing exercise that relaxes you and focus on calming your body down from the inside out. The best stress management techniques have not only mental but physical components, because when you’re stressed, your body feels it, too.

Decide to live in a beautiful state

There are many goals you still want to achieve, but what do those things really mean if you reach them while living in a depressed, stressed-out state? Choose to find joy in everyday moments by existing in a beautiful state instead. Change your standards and start viewing your biggest problems as your biggest gifts. You’re going to encounter stress, even suffering, in life, but you’re also going to experience happiness, love and the feeling of true freedom. Human beings are the only creatures on the planet capable of deciding whether they want to feel happy or sad. Your thoughts and actions affect every other aspect of your life, so instead of dwelling on the moments that make you feel stressed and unhappy, choose to live in a beautiful state.

girl laying peacefully in a field of flowers

Learning how to manage stress is a multi-step process that takes time. If you’re able to identify stress as a habit, instead of a permanent state, while keeping sight of your ultimate goal, you’ll be able to successfully form new positive patterns and be able to exist in a joyful state – even when times are tough.

Ready to discover what drives your thoughts and actions?

Unearth and understand the human need that may be triggering your stress through our Driving Force quiz.