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8 Quick Stress Management Techniques for Women

Stress is unavoidable. Some days it seems like stressors lie waiting around every corner, just biding their time to throw a wrench into our best-laid plans with traffic snarls, unexpected bills, nagging coworkers or other, even worse things. It may be impossible to cut stress completely from our lives, but there are certain things you can do to minimize the impact it has. 

By managing your stress, you can live a happier, healthier life. Here are eight stress management tips and techniques that you can adopt to stop it in its tracks or to better deal with stressors when they rear their ugly heads. 

Hit The Gym

Or better yet, get outside! Exercising has been shown to reduce stress levels, prevent certain diseases and generally make you feel fantastic. A study published in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport looked at the specific emotional benefits of different exercises. Swimming produced a spike in positive initial moods and a dip in tension and confusion. Yogis were less anxious, tense, depressed, angry, fatigued and confused after class. And those that practiced fencing felt invigorated. No matter your mode of exercise, getting out there and being active can clear your head, make you feel better and give you a break from whatever is stressing you. 

Avoid Alcohol 

Skipping your morning coffee or your evening glass of wine might sound like a recipe for more stress, but alcohol and caffeine can have effects on the body that may actually increase those feelings you’re trying to mitigate in the first place. A review of studies on stress and alcohol published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews found that the variables surrounding the consumption of alcohol, like the environment and type of beverage, can alter the intended effects of alcohol. The studies reviewed generally showed that drinking alcohol does not relieve stress. In fact, stress is actually increased by a drinking binge. 

Do Something That Makes You Happy

This one might seem like a no brainer, but when we’re in the throes of stress, taking a few moments to do something that makes us happy can be the farthest thing from our minds. But engaging in a hobby or activity that makes you smile can make a world of difference. Women who participate in cultural hobbies reported seeing stress-moderation benefits in a study published by Leisure Studies. Do what makes you happy (bonus points if that activity falls into the exercise category) and see the stress relieving benefits. 

Talk About What’s Making You Stressed

There are definite benefits to getting things off your chest. Whether you’re having a conversation with your therapist or venting to a good friend, verbalizing what’s stressing you can be a lifeline. Social support can mean a great deal, especially with stressors originating at work. One study looked at stress among registered nurses and found that the “buffering effect,” in which talking about it reduced the strength of the stressor-strain relationship, was especially strong for communications outside of work as a form of social support. Don’t be afraid to bend someone’s ear to feel a little bit better.

Slow Down And Take A Deep Breath

The stop and breathe approach to managing stress might seem a little cliche, but that’s only because it’s so effective. Stopping for a moment to concentrate on your breath can make whatever’s stressing you seem much less immediately threatening. Students who employed the deep breathing method of stress management found relief each academic year, according to a study from Teaching and Learning in Medicine. Students reported perceiving less test anxiety, nervousness, self-doubt and concentration loss by using the technique outside of class. They believed it helped them academically and would continue to be of use in their careers.

Know Your Stressors

Sometimes the hardest part of dealing with stress can be isolating what exactly is stressing you in the first place. We all deal with so many things day to day that could cause anxiety that sussing out where our real frustrations are coming from can be important to our stress management routine. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, stop, take a deep breath and use this moment to identify what exactly is making you feel this way. Once you’ve identified the source of your stress, you can come up with a game plan to overcome it.

Get Out In Front Of Stress

By learning to identify what makes you stressed, you could be able to avoid or mitigate situations in which those stressors are likely to pop up. If, for instance, the thought of grocery shopping in the middle of a crowded supermarket fills you with anxiety, consider using an online shopping service to select your items beforehand. Or if sitting in traffic on your way home from work is your own personal nightmare, stick around the office for a little while longer or take a yoga class in the same neighborhood. This way you can knock out number one on the stress tips list while you wait for traffic to die down.

Focus On The Positive

Positive thinking is another stress management cliche, but, again, that’s because thinking positively when you’re under stress works. If you find yourself in the middle of a stressful situation, it can often be your automatic response to think negatively. But switching your mindset can make a world of difference. A study in the Journal of Counseling Psychology found that positive automatic thoughts can be predictors of happiness. The higher the instances of positive automatic thoughts, the lower the risk for depression in negative situations. So, even when faced with a stressful scenario, keeping your mind on the silver lining can lead to less stress overall.