A stress-free lifestyle could very well do wonders in eliminating depression. Here are seven practical methods to combat stress:
- Express Amusement and Be Happy.
Laugh hard and loud. If you do not have a sense of humor, find someone else who does. Laughter releases endorphins (happy chemicals) from the body, and it helps boost your immune system.
- Take Control Over Your Time and Schedule.
You will be much more able to deal with stress if you have a good handle on your job, relationships, and other activities. When you are in control, you are more inclined to stay focused and calm. Plan your time wisely.
- Remember to leave room for unexpected events, both negative and positive. Be adaptable in rearranging your agenda. Get up 15 minutes early in the morning. Allow an extra 15 minutes to get to all appointments.
- Avoid procrastinating on important or urgent tasks. Whatever needs doing, do it immediately. Do the unpleasant tasks early, so you will not have to worry about them for the rest of the day. Keep an appointment or record book. Do not just rely on your memory.
- Do your tasks one at a time. Focus your attention on the present moment, whether it is the person talking to you or the job at hand. This helps you to avoid making errors, which lead to more tension and anxiety. Be patient in waiting. Anxiety caused by impatience can cause your blood pressure to rise.
- Say no to requests that you cannot accomplish. Delegate trivial tasks. Remember that you do not have to do it all yourself. Break up a job into separate tasks and assign them to people with suitable skills.
- Work Out.
Strive to get some habitual exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, or whatever appeals to you. Play a sport you are interested in. Aerobic exercises can considerably reduce the stress factor. Exercise also improves sleep and gives you time to think and focus on other things. It also promotes the release of natural soothing chemicals in your body. Do not resort to excessive exercise, however, as this may have an adverse effect and might actually cause depression.
- Search Out a Support Group.
You will be able to manage stress much better if you have other people helping and supporting you. Did you know that married people and people who are outgoing (always meeting with friends) have considerably lower levels of stress in their lives?
- Choose positive friends who are not worriers. Friends who continually put you down or talk gloomily about life will increase your anxiety. Invite a good friend to help you talk out a problem and get it off your chest. A long-distance call to an old pal can be great therapy.
- Pardon others instead of holding grudges. Slow down your standards for yourself and others. Do not expect too much. Perfectionism is not the means to happiness. Become more flexible and adaptable to your environment. Communicate clearly with your co-workers and boss. Ask questions. Repeat instructions that you are given. Clarifying directions at the start of a project can save time later rectifying misunderstandings. Be honest in your dealings with others. Lying and cheating lead to stress.
- Take Breaths Deeply and Slowly.
Calm down your muscles, escalating your stomach and chest. Exhale slowly. Do it again several times. Follow your breath as it flows in and out. Do not try to have power over it. This is a good way to relax in the midst of any activity. This practice allows you to find a breathing pattern that is natural and relaxing for you. Make use of this yoga technique: Inhale slowly, counting to eight. Exhale through your mouth, even more slowly, counting to sixteen. Make a sighing sound as you exhale, and feel tension dissolve. Do it again 10 times.
- Consume Healthy Foods at the Appropriate Time.
Never skip meals, especially breakfast. Take time out to eat heartily no matter how busy you are. Take nutritious snacks with you everywhere. A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to your health and lifestyle. For example, researchers have found that even small deficiencies of thiamin, a B-complex vitamin, can cause anxiety symptoms. Pantothenic acid, another B-complex vitamin, is critical during times of stress. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sweets, which can worsen symptoms of stress.
- Live Optimistically.
Count your blessings, particularly when everything seems to go wrong. Believe that many other people are living in worse conditions than you are. Do not exaggerate the complexity of your problems. Every problem has a solution. All you need to do is find that solution. Learn to be happy and to enjoy life’s blessings. Live one day at a time.