Stress is a serious issue—it’s not something to just shrug off. It’s partly responsible for a lot of health and behavioral problems, as well as skin breakouts that shatter the confidence of some people, especially teenagers who are already dealing with a lot of hormonal changes in their bodies. Although stress in moderation is a normal part of life, how people react to it makes the difference between losing their minds or taking care of themselves and, ultimately, creating a balanced life.
According to the Global Organization for Stress, more than seven in 10 Americans reported experiencing stress in the past year—and that number is only increasing. For every 75 people who suffer from stress, one person will eventually develop panic attacks. It’s important to note, too, that stress is not only a personal struggle. It affects each and every American. For instance, the American Psychological Association reported that stress-related issues are costing the US economy some $300 billion a year.
With that in mind, here are five ways to create a balanced life amid stress and chaos.
1. Take a breather
This might sound simple, but who says the solution has to be complicated? When you feel like the task is too overwhelming, just walk away from it for a moment. Go out for a walk to clear your mind. Play a video game if that relaxes you or watch some funny videos on YouTube. It doesn’t matter what type of distraction you need. The important thing is to take a break.
2. Use stress to your advantage
Contrary to the common misconception, stress is not always bad. If you channel it the right way, you can use it to turn in a project within the deadline or perform on stage before a huge crowd. Stress is part of your fight or flight response. You will notice that, under stress, your heart races, your muscles tense up, and you become hyper-aware. Sometimes that distinct reaction can help rather than hinder.
3. Don’t be so hard on yourself
Admittedly, Type-A individuals will have a hard time loosening up because it’s so contrary to their own personalities. It does take a bit of practice to ease up on your expectations. This doesn’t mean that you switch excellent results for mediocrity, of course, it just means that you can’t always expect perfection because you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
4. Don’t forget to take care of yourself
You only have one body and you are not doing it any favors by killing yourself for work. According to House Method, one way to create a more balanced life when you’re stressed is to prioritize self-care. Whether you go Netflix and chill or get that much-needed manicure, what you need to do is to decompress and pamper yourself.
5. Live a healthier lifestyle
People often overlook the importance of having a healthy body. It’s been widely documented that having a healthier body will result in a healthier mind. When you feel good, your outlook instantly changes for the better.
These are simple behavioral changes that will drastically improve the way you deal with stress. It’s easy to say that you only need to have a positive outlook, but you actually have to work at it to be consistent.