(CBS Charlotte) — Too many Americans today are the equivalent of walking zombies…they sleep less than they should, continue to work when they shouldn’t, and barely have any time to relax and unwind.
Our “always on the go” lifestyle has contributed to a nation of stressed out individuals who depend on caffeine, antidepressants, therapy, and sometimes substance abuse — just to get by.
For society’s sake, and for our own sanity, we need to break free from the narrow confines of our own busy lives and learn to reduce our stress levels before they spiral out of control.
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Here are some ways you can reduce the amount of stress in your life:
Do: If something is bothering you, or you feel overwhelmed, talk it out. Call a friend or a family member, or grab a drink with a pal and chat away. A lot of times, things seem worse when we play them over and over again in our heads, without voicing them to someone else. Often times, your friend will be able to offer some pointers to help. Additionally, when you talk about what’s bothering you, you instantly feel better because you’ve set the thought or feeling free.
Don’t: Wait until whatever is bothering you reaches a crisis level to talk to someone about it. By that time, you’ve most likely emotionally or mentally tortured yourself into a complete breakdown. Remember, for the most part, things aren’t as bad as they seem. So, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who can listen and help.
Do: If you’re stressed out, go for a walk, listen to relaxing/soothing music, take a drive in the country, or go to a place where you can enjoy some quiet time.
Don’t: Turn on the TV to try to unwind. The problem with watching TV is that people often become completely absorbed in what their watching, and they end up avoiding the stress that is surrounding them — rather than trying to deal with it. Once you turn the TV off, the stress resurfaces, and your feelings and thoughts reappear and are still as overwhelming as they were before you tuned in to your favorite TV show.
Do: Often times, people become stressed more easily when they are tired, so try taking a nap for 20 to 30 minutes. Your stress level may be reduced when you awake.
Don’t: Take a two hour nap when you are tired or feel stressed out. Chances are, a long nap will prevent you from getting a good nights sleep, and you will feel just as tired the next day.
Do: Sometimes, we feel stressed out when our energy levels start to take a nose-dive…so if you feel stressed out, try eating a healthy snack to give you the energy boost that you need to tackle your stress.
Don’t: Over-indulge in food when you are stressed, as this can lead to unnecessary calorie intake and unwanted weight gain — which will increase your stress level.
Do: If you’re stressed, consider going shopping for something new. Buying something new or something that we want makes us happy, and happiness always defeats stress.
Don’t: Go to the store and buy things that you don’t need or cannot afford. This will just make you more stressed out!
When all else fails, and you cannot kick your stress to the curb, consider making some life changes to help alleviate the amount of stress in your life.
- Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte