by Casey and Meygan Caston

Stress affects every area of our lives. Have you ever been around someone who has hit their limit? They’re no happy camper. We’ve had our share of bad days from overloaded schedules, to kids constantly fighting with each other, to finding out that I need root canal! Early on in our marriage, we got really good at using each other as emotional punching bags, which come to think of, is very counter productive. My best friend, my teammate, the one person who has my back, I am absolutely destroying with my tone and choice of words all because I’m stressed out.

Here’s a list of ideas on how to soothe the raging beast inside when stress comes.

1. Learn How to Take a Deep Breath

Breathing exercises are incredibly helpful when you feel stressed or anxious and work immediately. Controlled breathing not only keeps the mind and body functioning at their best, but it can also lower blood pressure, promote feelings of calm and relaxation, and help you de-stress.

2. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Spending

Financial stress can lead to a lot of fear and anxiety, especially when you’re married. Get on a budget, stop over-spending, and be money wise.

3. Create a Bedtime Routine

Before you go to bed, stretch, pray, or read a light-hearted book. Turn off technology before going to bed to help the brain settle down for sleep.

4. Limit Your Caffeine Intake

The problem is that caffeine has been shown to inhibit levels of serotonin in the brain, and when serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable. If you still need a pick up in the middle of the day, switch to green tea.

5. Get Rid of Clutter

A messy home or office can make you feel out of control and anxious. When there are messes everywhere, it’s difficult to know where to even start cleaning and then you just feel overwhelmed. Start with one area and move to the next. Small wins are still wins!

6. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest factors of stress. For those of you who have a hard time shutting off your brain at night (that’s our big problem) make a rule to turn off your phone after 9pm and if you’re brave enough, leave it outside of your room. Consider purchasing a sound machine and investing in some earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

7. Give Yourself Alone Time

I know most of you are reading thinking, “Yeah right, how is that ever going to happen?” And what I have to say to that—you can’t afford NOT to create the time to be by yourself. Carve out at least 15 minutes of alone time a day for just you to unwind. No exceptions to this rule! Mediate, pray, sleep, read, laugh, or take a walk.

8. Think Positive Thoughts

Every time your brain starts thinking of the bad memories, write down 5 positive things about your life.

9. Exercise Regularly

Aerobic activity lowers your level of stress chemicals and allows you to cope better with negative emotions. You don’t have to join a gym or learn how to Zumba to get active. A hike, a walk, or a swim are all great options.

10. Listen to Quiet Music In The Car

Studies show that listening to classical music is best while driving. It instantly releases fear, doubt, worry and anxiety.

Final thoughts: In the right context, negative emotions like anger, grief, sadness, or jealousy are perfectly normal. Long lasting bouts of negative emotions can stop you from enjoying life. Coping strategies can help to curb persistent negative feelings. We encourage you to start implementing all of these to your daily routine. Allow yourself to slow down, share your fears with your spouse, and ask them to give you a back rub.

 

Reposted with permission. This article originally appeared here.

Casey and Meygan Caston are the founders of Marriage365, and the authors of Naked Dinners and Communication That Connects.

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