Need a little help handling the stress in your day to day life? There’s no shame in asking for a hand when things get tough, and sometimes the answer is as simple as a shift in perspective.

The 4 As of Stress Relief

Avoid

Believe it or not, you can simply avoid a lot of stress. Plan ahead, rearrange your surroundings and reap the benefits of a lighter load.

  • Learn to say no. You have a lot of responsibilities and demands on your time. At a certain point, you cross the line between being charitable and being foolish. Those around you will appreciate more time with a relaxed you. And you’ll have time to enjoy them, too.
  • Ditch part of your list. Label your to-do list with A’s, B’s and C’s, according to importance. On hectic days, scratch the C’s from your list.

Alter

One of the most helpful things you can do during times of stress is to take inventory, then attempt to change your situation for the better.

  • Communicate your feelings openly. Remember to use “I” statements, as in, “I feel frustrated by shorter deadlines and a heavier workload. Is there something we can do to balance things out?”
  • State limits in advance. Instead of stewing over a colleague’s nonstop chatter, politely start the conversation with, “I’ve got only five minutes to cover this.”

Accept

Sometimes we have no choice but to accept things the way they are. For those times try to:

  • Talk with someone. You may not be able to change a frustrating situation, but that doesn’t mean your feelings aren’t legitimate. Phone or schedule a coffee break with an understanding friend. You’ll feel better after talking it out.
  • Forgive. It takes energy to be angry. Forgiving may take practice, but by doing so you will free yourself from burning more negative energy. Why stew in your anger when you could shrug and move on?

Adapt

Thinking you can’t cope is one of the greatest stressors. That’s why adapting — which often involves changing your standards or expectations — can be most helpful in dealing with stress.

  • Adjust your standards. Do you need to vacuum and dust twice a week? Would macaroni and cheese be an unthinkable substitute for homemade lasagna? Redefine success and stop striving for perfection, and you may operate with a little less guilt and frustration.
  • Practice thought-stopping. Stop gloomy thoughts immediately. Refuse to replay a stressful situation as negative, and it may cease to be negative.

– via www.mayoclinic.org

If you want to get a handle on your stress in the moment before you can establish any kind of major lifestyle changes, try these mindful exercises that tie into each of your senses. By tapping into any sensory experience you can help to calm your mind and feel more grounded and safe in the moment.

Tackling stress isn’t a one time event, but by developing these simple strategies you can start winning each daily battle so you can stop feeling out of control and truly live and love your life again.

Sensory Stress Relief

Sights

If you’re a visual person, try to manage and relieve stress by surrounding yourself with soothing and uplifting images. You can also try closing your eyes and imagining the soothing images.

Sound

Are you sensitive to sounds and noises? Are you a music lover? If so, stress-relieving exercises that focus on your auditory sense may work particularly well.

Smell and Scents

If you tend to zone out or freeze when stressed, surround yourself with smells that are energizing and invigorating. If you tend to become overly agitated under stress, look for scents that are comforting and calming.

Touch

Experiment with your sense of touch, playing with different tactile sensations. Focus on things you can feel that are relaxing and renewing.

Taste

Slowly savoring a favorite treat can be very relaxing, but mindless stress eating will only add to your stress and your waistline. The key is to indulge your sense of taste mindfully and in moderation. Eat slowly, focusing on the feel of the food in your mouth and the taste on your tongue.

Movement

If you tend to shut down when you’re under stress, stress-relieving activities that get you moving may be particularly helpful. Anything that engages the muscles or gets you up and active can work.

– via www.phoenix.va.gov

How do you help to bring down your stress level – either in the moment or throughout your daily life?