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How to better handle day-to-day stress

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Research shows that 82% of students suffer from stress and anxiety. Looming exams and deadlines calls for a time for us to reflect on improving our mindsets to better handle (or anticipate) stress.

Stress is universal. We live in a day and age where it seems like there are countless things to worry about.

A stress-free mindset is achievable - coming from me, someone who used to think stress was part of my personality. Keeping in mind, a stress-free mindset does not mean a stress-free life. I find that at the end of the day, it's about exercising certain ways of thinking and organising myself accordingly. 

Here are some of the simple techniques that I find works in combating the many day-to-day life stresses.

Image credit: Pixabay

#1 Staying present

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” - Charles R. Swindoll

An important person once told me, "Stress comes from two things: something that happened in the past, or something you’re afraid might happen in the future." Bring things into perspective and achieve a more stress-free state of mind by immersing yourself in the present moment... The next time you find yourself in a state of panic, remember. Right here, right now, nothing bad is happening. Relax, and take a deep breath.

#2 Exercising gratitude

"Every day is not a success. Every year is not a success. You have to celebrate the good." - unknown

I find gratitude to be an important key to end all negative thoughts, emotions or energy. In times of stress, try taking a minute of silence to allow yourself to breathe and be thankful for the things that are yours at this present moment. Practising gratitude takes nothing out of me... It keeps me in check and takes some of the weight off of me.

Image credit: Pixabay

#3 Keeping a clean and healthy lifestyle

A clean space is a clean mind.

If you're like me and you feel like stress is a part of you, try focusing on making healthier habits.

One cannot stress enough the importance of sleep. Sleep and stress are intertwined in a vicious cycle - the more you stress, the less you sleep. Lack of sleep is proven to lead to a lesser ability to process emotions, think clearly and solve problems. 

Put off work for a bit if it means that you get to eat on time and sleep well.

Keep a clean, nutritious diet, avoid alcohol, caffeine or any substances that might deter your focus from the present. 

#3 Exercising self-control

“This too shall pass." - unknown

Emotions are important, but learn to master them. True strength lies in being able to conquer yourself and cultivate emotional intelligence.

Start exercising self-control by realising that stress is an emotion — and emotions are fleeting. Don't let yourself be overpowered by your stress or make rash decisions because of it, because as the saying goes — this too shall pass.

#4 Planning

"Life is a series of baby steps." - Hoda Kotb

Once you have the emotional aspect out of the way, break down the things you need to do to achieve whatever you have in mind into simple steps. If your stress stems from poor management, get planning. A physical planner might be a better help than a digital one, where it can get clustered with all the notifications and non-work related stuff.

Having a vision for what your next few weeks are going to look like can be a form of motivation. Don't forget to always incorporate fun things to look forward to!

#5 Reflecting

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” - Soren Kierkegaard

Everybody is different, so collect different tips and make a note of things that have worked for you in the past. Do seek help if you need to, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t.

Lastly, appreciate the stress that you experience, it shows that you care to succeed. There is a quote by Leonard Bernstein: "To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” 

Don't forget that your life is not in your work. Your life is the now; it's in your smile, so smile.

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