How to Stop Stress Before It Starts
It's Wednesday. Two days until Friday. Two days to get things done so you don't have to do them on the weekend. Then there's all the stuff you have to do on the weekend and if you don't finish what you need to finish by Friday you have to do it on the weekend in between practice, play dates, grocery shopping etc. I'm stressed out just typing out this scenario.
A report done recently by Scientific American says that we can stop stress before it even starts. Here's how.
Get Your Sweat On
We all know we feel better when we exercise, but did you know that when you exercise your brain can build "super brain cells"? These super brain cells can actually make you more resistant to stress, so lace up your shoes and get your sweat on. It could help you smile through the stress. I remember leaving work one day because I was so stressed out about a problem. I went home, threw on my workout clothes and ran four miles. I came home, showered, got re-dressed, drove back to work and came at it with fresh eyes. It made a world of difference.
Think Yourself Happy
When someone asks how you are, resist the urge to dump your problems on them. We have what's called a "negativity bias" in our brains, so you have to work on recalling happy times. If someone asks you how you are, tell them about a deal you just scored when you were out shopping, the good grade your child just got on a big test or some project you completed ahead of your deadline. Another way to think yourself happy is something I do. I keep pictures of things and people I love all over my spaces. It reminds me of all the good in life.
Do Something That Gives You Joy
Whether it's taking a quick walk, calling your mom, sister or best friend for a quick chat, watching a funny video, or stopping to enjoy a cup of coffee, you deserve happiness, too. A recent study shows that when we engage in activities that bring us pleasure or joy, it lowers our blood pressure and lowers our levels of cortisol. If you've ever needed an excuse to pick up your favorite hobby again, this should be it.
Do Something Nice
Remember how you felt the last time someone brought your papers to you off the printer or brought you a cup of coffee without you having to ask? Doing a small, random act of kindness doesn't just feel good, it can also help you reduce the production of stress hormones. A study done by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School suggests that kindness and happiness form what's called a "positive feedback loop." Making others happy makes us happy. The more we do, the happier we feel, so do one nice thing and watch what happens.