When it comes to managing stress, it can often feel like you’re at the foot of a very large mountain. You know that there are things you can do to reach the top of the mountain – and become stress-free – but there’s such a long way to go, it’s nigh-on impossible to convince yourself to take the first step. The onward journey just feels like far too much to contemplate.
While dealing with stress does tend to require focused effort, it is worth remembering that small, baby steps can be just as beneficial. These steps may not immediately rectify the entire problem, but they can make a significant difference to your overall mental health and well-being. With enough small changes, it’s possible to make a big difference – here are a few ideas that you may want to try…
#1 – Listen to music whenever you can
Music has an incredible impact on the human brain. Listening to music we enjoy floods our brains with the so-called “feel good” neurochemical, dopamine. Given that living with stress is associated with a depletion of dopamine levels, listening to music provides a way to “stock up” – and potentially improve your mood as a result.
#2 – Laugh
Laughter is another way of releasing more dopamine into your brain – and interestingly, the laughter doesn’t even have to be genuine. Fake laughing has been shown to have the same impact on dopamine levels, so force a few chuckles when you need a boost of positive feeling.
#3 – Use fragrances to increase your mood
The fragrance has a surprising effect on the human brain and can be particularly beneficial if you are struggling with stress. To make the most of the mood-enhancing abilities of fragrance, surround yourself with pleasant scents wherever you go; use standard diffusers in your home, click here for an overview of an essential oil diffuser you can use in your vehicle, and wear perfumes every day.
#4 – Learn to say “no”
Many people find that their stress is directly related to an overloaded schedule. If you find it difficult to turn down requests for assistance, learning to say no could be the best step towards dealing with your stress issues. The video below has some excellent pointers if saying “no” is something you have struggled with in the past:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/LI1Xa8mx6Uw” frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>
#5 – Go to bed an hour earlier than usual
This may sound simplistic, but the link between a lack of sleep and stress is well-established. If you can’t manage the full recommended eight hours per night, you could try going to bed an hour earlier for a week – chances are, this small change will make a substantial difference to your stress levels.
If you are struggling with stress and feelings of being overloaded, beginning the journey towards improvement can be incredibly difficult. While taking small steps won’t get you to the top of the mountain quickly, they will contribute to the overall goal of reaching the summit – so consider the options above; they won’t fix your issues with stress in and of themselves, but they can help you find the right path to take you right to the top.