Three Expert Tips for Stress Management
By Jeffrey Munn
The author of Staying Sober Without God
Originally published on his website Practically Sane
Thousands of people search for “stress management” or “stress relief” on Google every single day. Why are we so stressed out? What can we do to reduce our stress and get some serenity back into our lives? The following are three of the most effective tips prescribed by therapists to manage stress and anxiety.
You’ve probably heard this before. In fact, you may be sick of hearing it. Nonetheless, it remains true: exercise is among the most effective tools available for stress management. The research shows that there’s almost no aspect of your physical or mental health that isn’t improved through regular exercise. To start, get up 20 minutes earlier than you usually do and go for a brisk walk. If you’d rather not exercise in the morning, it doesn’t matter much if you do it later in the day. However, many people find that exercising in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Regardless of when you choose to exercise, try to do it intensely enough that your heart rate elevates and you sweat a little bit. Don’t go too hard too fast, though. That often leads to injury and burnout.
“What is this airy-fairy woo-woo, nonsense?” you may ask. As goofy as it may seem when you envision a monk sitting in the full-lotus position humming to himself, it’s important to understand that meditation doesn’t have to be anything like that. All that’s required is to take 5-10 (or more if you can) minutes to sit still on a cushion or chair, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. If thoughts pop up (and they will), just notice them and gently move your attention back to your breath. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated or fancy than that. The act of re-focusing your attention will help you avoid falling into a cycle of negative or harmful thoughts. It can help you feel calm, centered, and aware of the present moment.
For some odd reason, our society these days acts like self-care and fun is a luxury that we can only afford after we’ve broken our backs working. This could not be farther from the truth. In fact, I consider having fun just as important as working and taking care of your family. Without taking care of yourself and blowing off some steam with fun activities, your other responsibilities will suffer. You’ll be more reactive with your children, your productivity will decrease at work, you’ll have less patience, and so on. I’m not saying you have to party every night, but at least once per day, do something fun for 30 minutes to an hour. It can be something as simple as playing a fun game, being creative, dancing around, singing in the car, or watching one of your favorite shows (no binges.) Fun is not optional; it’s mandatory.
Jeffrey Munn was born in Southern California where he still resides with his wife and daughter. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has been working in the field of mental health since 2010.
Jeffrey works as a therapist in private practice and specializes in addiction, OCD, and anxiety disorders. In addition to his master’s degree in clinical psychology, Jeffrey earned a degree specialty in co-occurring disorders.
Click here to access the book on Amazon: Staying Sober Without God.
To visit Jeffrey’s website, click here: Practically Sane.