According to the America Medical Association, stress is responsible for 85 % of all diseases that are inflicted on humans. The good news is that you can control how stress impacts your life even if your unable to control factors that cause stress. You can do this by changing your thinking patterns, implementing healthy habits into your life and changing your own reactions to stress through your behavior.
Learn to be Aware of Your Thoughts
While it is true that you can’t change the world around you or the way others respond to you, you can change your own reactions. It all begins with being aware of your own thoughts. You have probably heard by now that having positive thoughts will increase your chances of having a positive life. But how can this be, if your life is not positive? You may reason that it is seems a little silly to be thinking happy thoughts when your going through very difficult and obviously unhappy circumstances. Even if your life is unhappy, positive thinking can cause dramatic changes in your life, it will not happen overnight.
It is not enough to have positive thinking; you must also eliminate negative thoughts from entering your mind. Once you have taught yourself to think positively and are able to guard most negative thinking from entering your mind, you will be better equipped to handle stress when it enters your life. Every thought that we have creates our future environment, if we believe it is true. If our subconscious mind accepts a thought as truth it will transform into an expression of our physcial surroundings. This is why hypnotism works. Affirmations work in a similar fashion. However, you can affirm something all day long, and if you don’t believe it, it won’t make a difference.
You can learn to control your thoughts by first becoming aware of what you’re thinking. Try spending 10 minutes observing your thoughts but not becoming attached to them. Don’t pass judgement simply listen to what thoughts pop into your mind. Do this daily for about a week. The next step is to stop thoughts from coming into your mind that you don’t want. This is a tough step, but with practice you will be able to master this step before you know it. Start by deleting negative thoughts as soon as you notice them. Simply observe that you had a thought you don’t agree with. You may want to tell your self ” no, that is not true” and then let go. What you don’t want to do is analyze why you’re having the thought. Once you have learned to observe your thoughts, and erase negative thoughts, then you can begin to meditate by entering in the silence. This will provide you with a higher level of awareness. The final step in gaining more thought control is by replacing those negative thoughts with positive thoughts.
Make a Few Lifestyle Changes
If you have been practicing the above techniques you may already find yourself noticing daily habits that may be adding to your stress. I already mentioned meditation above; you may want to add some breathing exercises to your routine. Some other great ideas for reducing stress on a daily basis include exercising, listening to soothing music, hot baths to soothe muscle tension, becoming more involved with your pets. Probably the most influential stress reducing habit you can become involved with is eating healthy.
If you want to begin to eat more healthy you may want to slowly introduce healthier food choices into your diet such as whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, legumes (split peas, beans, lentils), lean meats, fish, raw nuts and seeds and olive or flaxseed oil. You can also begin to eliminate certain foods such as caffeine, sugary foods, high fat snacks, rich dairy products and alcohol.
Exercise is another way to decrease stress. A series of studies were performed at the University of Colorado and were presented to the Society for Neuroscience in Miami, Florida (Oct. 1999). It was discovered and confirmed that stress effects our bodies and on the cellular level and exercise is able to dramatically reduce the harmful effects that stress has on the biological level as well as the psychological and social levels.
You may also want to consider using spiritual technique to reduce stress. Spending time in prayer, taking a yoga class or learning the art of meditation are all ways that you can take a break from the stress in your life. If you’re not into spiritual practices there are other ways you can release emotional tensions. Many people believe that spending time with pets can increase their well being. Other ideas include writing in a journal or discussing your personal concerns with a friend, family member or therapist.
Are you getting enough sleep? You may be surprised to learn that the average adult (ages 19-65) requires 8 hours of sleep each night for optimum rest. Sleep research studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health have determined that there are over sixty million Americans who do not receive adequate sleep and as a result have some dramatic effects on their health.
There are many different ways to cope with stress, especially with college student stress. The bottom line is learning what works for you. Learn how to determine stressful triggers and pay attention to your body signals, then investigate ways to reduce your stress. You body will thank you.