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The idea that 2019 will be a year where you banish stress forever and maintain a cool, calm, and positive frame of mind may sound like make-believe. Being permanently happy and enjoying life sounds idyllic, but it doesn’t reflect our reality. Life inevitably has stressful moments, and you will encounter times when you feel like you’ve been put under immense pressure. It is how you approach and tackle these times that will make or break your contentment.

Striving to manage your levels of stress in a more effective way can see you having a more fulfilling existence. Stress can inhibit our feelings of enjoyment and can lead to our mental health suffering. Being afflicted with anxiety and depression is an all too common byproduct of that little thing we call stress. Many people feel stressed, but this tend to be for acute periods. When it becomes chronic and our normal way of living, this is when we need to redress the balance. Take a look at how you can swap stress for happiness by following these simple steps.

Switch Off

It sounds easy to switch off from the stress that is happening around you. If you have a particularly overbearing boss demanding that you put in the extra hours to hone an important presentation that could secure a lucrative contract without any support, the pressure can build. When you finally rock up at home after the kids have gone to bed, hungry and tired, it may be hard to leave work back in the office. You may head to bed with the presentation still whirring in your mind. To prevent this from happening you need to take a conscious leap into redressing your work-life balance.

Take some time off and go away on vacation. Consider if the job you are doing is the best place for you eight hours a day. While you might not want to start your own business or switch careers, a change could be as good as a rest. Put the feelers out and begin networking. Just because your current position is stressful doesn’t mean every other company or workplace fosters this environment. Don’t bury your head in the sand and be more proactive to seek out opportunities for change.

Talk

When we are feeling stressed it’s easy to default to an isolated position. While we may not feel like airing our problems, by sharing your thoughts with a friend or family member, you can relieve some of the pressure building up inside. A problem shared really is a problem halved.

Consider checking out the wealth of resources online. Look for health and wellness therapists that are 100% local to you. These individuals will be more accessible to you and may come with personal recommendations. Word of mouth is often the best form of review. A therapist can help you focus on what’s really important to you and guide you through tumultuous periods in your life. Before long, you could find yourself feeling less burdened by stress simply because you chose to talk through your problems.

Do Something New

Consider what makes you feel relaxed and calm and then make time to do that activity. It may be something as simple as taking a hot bubble bath every evening while listening to your favourite chilled out music. Perhaps you enjoy sports or heading to the gym to punch out your frustrations. Or maybe you want to try something new like learn a new instrument or take an evening art class. By giving yourself something positive to focus on when your boss is breathing down your neck with unrealistic targets, you can begin to put things into perspective. Yes, your boss is a pain, but you will get to go home, spend time with your family, take home a decent wage and enjoy your life away from the workplace.

Enroll in a mindfulness class and train your brain to concentrate on the present rather than worrying about the future and things that may not even happen. Worry and stress go hand in hand, perpetuating one another. Mindfulness teaches you a new perspective and can help you recognize a stressful situation but work through it calmly. Doctors are now choosing to prescribe mindfulness classes rather than pills for people presenting with anxiety and stress. This form of behavioural therapy can be massively beneficial to a wide range of people.

Being permanently stressed is bad for our health and well being. Follow this guide to try and maintain a happier, more positive and calmer existence.

Angel Zheng