Studies show that dealing with chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health and happiness. Here are seven healthy ways to manage those daily stressors and feel better and lighter, now.
1. Catch it immediately - The first step in taming stress is becoming aware of your triggers, and taking steps to calm yourself right away. Lifehacker advises being aware of your own "stress reflex" as soon as it starts, especially when you stress over mundane things. Feel your pulse quickening at the sight of your overflowing inbox? Make a plan before you check your email, says Lifehacker, and think logically over whether or not it's worth getting stressed over.
2. Change your posture - According to Lifehacker, people who stand taller with their shoulders back and chests open, not slumped, have found their stress levels reduced, even if they change their posture for just a few minutes.
3. Turn off your phone, go outside - If you're feeling stressed, turn off your phone and head outside. Several studies show spending time in nature improves general well-being, lowers anxiety, stress and depression, and even boosts self-confidence, especially in women, advises The Greatest website.
4. Exercise - Working up a good sweat not only boosts your mood, but research finds that it can soothe anxiety and better prep you for a stressful or emotional event or experience. If you need a quick break at work, run a few times up and down a flight of stairs, or walk around the block.
5. Laugh it out - Research shows that people who laugh "the most heartily" at a comedy sketch also enjoy the highest drops in stress levels, reports WebMD. Tune into a comedy, or watch a YouTube video of one of your favorite comedians.
6. Make a decision - Being in limbo over a decision can cause stress. If the decision you need to make is relatively small, just decide and move on, suggests Lifehacker. Even if you make the "wrong" decision, your brain has a way of "synthesizing happiness," the website says.
7. Set new goals - Set yourself goals or challenges, just for you, suggests the NHS website. The rationale: rather than passively watching television for example, developing yourself arms you with knowledge and confidence, which can help you negotiate life's stresses all the better.