I know what you’re thinking. No one can “avoid” stress.
And while this is true, stress comes in many different forms. Some are moderate, some are detrimental and some are necessary.
A recent Ted Talk by Sharon Bergquist highlights the physical effects stress can have on the human body, including weight gain, high blood pressure and a weak immune system.
As Millennials, although we are not able to avoid stress as a whole, we possess certain traits and values that make it more difficult to give in to these kinds of negative effects.
Let’s look at how our self-loving, convenience-needing, action-oriented generation can continue to beat the stress game.
We’re a generation known for being open to change. While we value certain traditions, we’re always looking for a way to innovate, disrupt or simply do things differently.
And I think I speak for most of us when I say I’m sick of being looked at as “entitled” or an “excuse-maker” because I tend to find my own way of doing things.
Sometimes when I’m stressed, I think to myself, “Good. Let’s do this.” Deep down, we should all know the challenges brought about by stress are often necessary for our growth.
Find The Meaning
A Fast Company article digs deep into the fact that Millennials value meaningfulness over almost anything in the workplace. And I strongly believe we search for the meaning behind all occurrences and experiences, both professionally and personally.
Whether you’re the type of person who thinks everything happens for a reason, or the type always asking, “why,” you’re still attempting to justify things that happen to you.
It’s not why the pressure entered our lives in the first place that matters, but what we’re willing to do with it to improve. The meaning behind stress can be anything from an overwhelming workload to relationship problems, to lack of balance, to an unhealthy routine.
It’s up to you as an individual to find that meaning and make a change.
Channel The Energy
Bergquist also recommends turning stress into “challenges you can control and master.”
We’re notorious for being full of energy and embracing a well-rounded schedule. Think work, school, exercise, friends, family, volunteer opportunities, hobbies, etc.
Our days are packed with these activities not only because they help us feel fulfilled, but because these things make us happy.
When we’re overwhelmed we tend to manage our time better. Channeling stressful energy into exuberance and determination is a mental habit worth exercising.
Be (dare I say it?) Positive
My apologies if this seems like the most obvious one, but I feel like it’s also the often forgotten one. Stress has the power to absorb and swallow positivity and good vibes.
That being said, we’re the generation of confidence, and are pretty impressive when it comes to finding the bright side. Whenever I’m stressed, my roommate will repeat the phrase “everything is going to work out.”
Again, it seems simple, but it’s so true. No matter how bad or difficult things seem, we should keep in mind that there’s always an end result, and it’s usually a pretty good one.
We get it, world. We’re super tech-savvy, are always on our phones, take too many selfies, etc.
While all of these claims may be true, I’ve been meeting a copious amount of people my age who seriously value time unplugged.
Personally, some of my most prominent stress triggers come from emails, social media and group messages. Whether it’s at a bar or party, in a classroom or in bed, before we fall asleep, taking a little time to unplug can go a long way.
It’s no secret we look for gratification and attention from our surroundings. That’s why we post and share updates, stay constantly connected to our social circles, etc.
Taking advantage of these mediums can go a long way. There are ways to feel good about yourself and people that can confirm you’re not alone in this crazy world.
Don’t Give In To Food Cravings
Like Bergquist mentions in the Ted Talk, stress can cause the body to think it needs fuel when it doesn’t. Yes, our bodies need fuel, but the wrong fuel can definitely hinder our productivity and happiness.
They don’t call it “comfort food” for no reason. There’s something about taking an afternoon to lay in bed with your favorite sweets or fast food choices, but is it really worth it afterward?
I’ve found it much more satisfying and much less tiring in the long run, to stick to a healthy, exercise-filled routine.
Break A Sweat
On that note, this stress-reliever might be at the top of my list.
Moving beyond the obvious “endorphins make you happy” pitch, I swear by the fact that my time spent working out will forever continue to help me remain calm.
Regardless if the workout is running, practicing yoga, kickboxing, spinning, barre, pilates, rock climbing, etc, they all have one thing in common: mindfulness.
My workouts are the one place in the world where I can physically channel all of my crazy, head-spinning thoughts into something constructive.
I always feel accomplished and solution-oriented. Plus, who doesn’t love a little adrenaline every once in a while?
Have A Beer
When I say beer, I don’t necessarily mean beer, but I’m glad I have your attention.
Everyone picks his or her poisons, especially in the generation known for partying and raging very often.
However, I don’t think there’s any harm in picking one’s poison occasionally to relax, as long as it’s not out of anger or sadness and is done in moderation.
Going out, having fun and letting loose is necessary, and trust me when I say I do my fair share. But you’ll never see me reach for a drink if I’m sad, angry or upset in general.
I think it’s important to celebrate all aspects of life, and I think it’s equally important to avoid celebratory substances if you’re stressed out.
There are plenty of other ways to relax and turn your brain off (read a book, start a new Netflix series, spend time outside, etc.).
I mean this in both a physical and literal sense. I’m a yogi, so I strongly value taking time to actually do some deep breathing.
But I also strongly value taking time to stop beating myself up and pat myself on the back.
Life can be hard, but it can also be fun as f*ck.
If you’re having trouble shaking off a discouraging day, check out these 20 signs you’re doing better than you think you are.
It’s my best friend and I’s go-to stress reliever and we swear by it.