Use Stress Awareness Month to Refresh Your Outlook
This time of year, many of us are happy to shed our cold weather gear for something lighter and go outside. If your outlook needs some lightening up, this Monday is the perfect time for a refresh! You can use every Monday to kickstart a positive outlook and keep yourself on a path towards contentment.
April is Stress Awareness Month, giving everyone a chance to check in with the way stress is affecting their daily lives. Stress is a normal reaction, but there are ways to manage its symptoms before they get in the way of being productive and happy. If managed properly, reducing your stress can decrease your blood pressure and heart rate and lower your risk for heart disease. Every Monday presents a great opportunity to start a new routine that can set you up for a less stressful week. Start by choosing to look on the bright side of things, then choose something that you can make a regular part of your day.
Having a positive outlook may not resolve your stress, but it can make dealing with stress easier and result in better health. An article in The New York Times cites studies that followed people with chronic illnesses who practiced methods for improving their daily outlook. When people took steps to do activities like expressing gratitude, finding a positive part of every day, or setting attainable goals, their quality of life improved and they were more likely to take better care of themselves. For your own refresh, you can do as much or as little as you want – all of these steps will be helpful in managing your stress and can reward you with greater satisfaction.
- Keep a gratitude journal: Write down the things for which you’re grateful. You can revisit your list whenever stress gets you down.
- Set an attainable goal: Making a short-term goal can give you a quick injection of accomplishment, which can feel very satisfying during times that may feel beyond your control.
- Recognize your own personal strengths: Give yourself a little credit! You’ve survived plenty of stress before. Identify the quality that got you through it, then tap into it again.
- Be kind: Doing good things for others can make you feel better as well as the person for whom you’re doing the favor. Connecting with others is also a great way to step back from stress and gain perspective.
- Practice mindfulness: Taking a few moments to breathe deeply and exist in the present moment helps to ease your anxiety about the past and future.
When you’re feeling frazzled, remind yourself that you will get through it. You can try a new method to manage your stress every Monday!