Have you ever found there’s not enough time in the day to complete everything on your to-do-list, and ultimately it makes you feel stressed and panicked? Stress can often be described as feeling overloaded or anxious often resulting from demanding circumstances. It can result from situations of pressure we place on ourselves. But it’s part of our everyday life. We all feel stressed at some point, whether it’s stress in a positive or negative way. How can being stressed be a positive? Well, in tiny doses, stress has its advantages. According to Daniela Kaufer, PhD at UC Berkeley and John Whyte, the former chief medical expert at Discovery Channel, it can help motivate you to reach your goals in a more efficient way, increase your self-awareness and it may even boost memory! However, most of us associate a negative connotation to stress. Recent research shows Australians are feeling more stressed (and not in a positive way) than ever. Reasons include work, lack of sleep and social factors. Feeling stressed? Below we detail some strategies that may help you manage everyday stress. Look out for warning signs Sometimes you don’t know how stressed you are until afterwards. It’s important to look for early warning signs such as headaches, fatigue, poor sleep, or feeling more anxious and sad than normal. Then think about what are the causal factors to find strategies to combat the causal factors. Organise yourself As William James aptly wrote, “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” It’s not uncommon to have an ongoing ‘to-do’ list in your head that you’re constantly trying to multitask and complete. Prioritise which task is important and focus on that specific task before moving on to the next one. Try using an organisational tool like calendar apps to help you manage your time and priorities. Most of us are glued to our mobile phones, so having an app handy can be useful. Sleep Are you getting enough sleep? Most of us don’t get our recommended eight hours a day. Studies have shown a lack of sleep can lead to low productivity and fatigue, which is counterintuitive if your goal is to get things done. Looking after your health should be one of your top priorities. Take a warm bath or read – do something that helps your mind relax and relieves stress temporarily, so you can get quality sleep (and this doesn’t include browsing through Facebook, Tweeting or surfing the net!). Not getting enough sleep can be a vicious cycle that can make you feel more exhausted throughout the day, but it’s a cycle you can escape by breaking bad habits. Get active Keep your body moving. As well as improving your mood and energy levels, exercise can be a benefit for your frame of mind. It’s also a useful method to refocus your attention to the present. A lack of exercise can lead to negative outcomes such as weight gain, feeling sluggish and overall being more reactive to stress. Go for a walk or join a fitness group – anything that will keep you moving. Think of exercise like free medicine; you don’t pay for it but you can reap all the benefits! Do things you enjoy There’s nothing wrong with carving some time for yourself and simply doing things you enjoy. This could include being a social butterfly, having a night on the couch, or listening to music … whatever works for you and takes our mind off your worries (even if it’s just temporary). Even laughing or smiling can do wonders! Breathe This one’s obvious but nonetheless relevant. You need find some time in your busy day to have some ‘me time’, otherwise the pressure can make you feel irritable. Make it a habit to slow down, take deep breaths and relax your mind for a few minutes. Try yoga or meditation or another form of muscle relaxation exercise that helps with mindfulness. We all have the ability to tackle stress positively, so find the method that works for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Talk to your friends, family or even a professional. Having a support system can make a world of difference. Create a balanced routine that includes time for yourself, stay positive and remember to smile! What good habits help you manage stress?