It's true that much of our experience of stress lies in how we look at things--threat vs. challenge, external vs. internal locus of control, half-empty or half-full. However, if we have to many stressors in our lives--situations that routinely trigger the stress response--it may take constant effort to recover physically and emotionally from the body's stress reaction; it just makes sense to eliminate some of the situations that cause stress (whenever possible), and add restorative habits and regular activities that reduce our stress levels.
Where to begin? If you're experiencing a lot of stress in a certain area of your life, that situation will probably pop right into your mind without much work. However, stress does generalize, meaning, if you're feeling a lot of stress at your job, for example, you'll feel more stressed at home, too; if you're feeling a lot of stress in one of your important relationships, you may be less resilient to stress you face in other relationships or in other areas of your life. Thus, if you're feeling stress in a few areas of life, it may be difficult to know where all the stress is coming from; it may just feel like it's coming from all sides!
If you're not sure where to begin with the changes you can make in your life, the Lifestyle Stress Quiz can help you examine different areas of your life to determine which areas are stressing you the most, and find resources to help.
The following resources can also give you a good start in relieving stress in your lifestyle, and move you along the path of rebuilding your life for the better!
Lifestyle Stress Relief Resources:
- Set Priorities
If you find yourself too busy and would like to make more time in your schedule for the things that matter the most (including stress relief habits!), here's a resource that will help you know where to pare down.
- Manage Job Stress
Don't love your job, but can't quit? Here are some ways to make your current job less stressful, more satisfying, and less likely to lead to burnout.
- Deal With Conflict
Having conflict in your life can damage your health and happiness. Resolving conflict without making things worse is key! Here are some healthy conflict resolution strategies you should know about, which can help you cut down on relationship stress.
- Financial Stress Relief
With many people in a place of financial crisis, money stress is one of the biggies. Here's how to handle a financial crisis, if you're faced with one.
- Cull Clutter
Yes, clutter can actually be a stressor! Think about it: being surrounded by clutter can subtly drain you of energy, day in and day out. While it may not be easy to go from slob to neatnik (and, as one for whom neatness does not come naturally, I speak from experience!), there are steps you can take to keep your level of clutter at a point you can live with, or maybe even a little better! Read about clutter and de-cluttering here, and take some steps toward order today.
- Add Healthy Habits
It's important to take care of yourself--you'll live longer, be happier, and feel less stressed. Simply put, a well-cared-for body is less reactive to stress. Here are some self-care strategies and healthy lifestyle habits you can adopt that will cut down on stress in your life.
- Change Your Attitude!
What you say to yourself about things that happen in your life has a lot to do with how you experience your life. In other words, your attitude matters--it can create or eliminate stress to a great extent! Learn more about how to change your thinking style to change your stress levels.
What are your biggest stressors? Share your answer in this Reader Response article about causes of stress, or add to the comments section. Also, you can see what healthy lifestyle changes have helped other readers the most!