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Keys to Managing Stress
Transcript of Keys to Managing Stress
The lonelier you are, the more you will attract negative feelings. Keep in touch with your family members and close friends to feel better and spread some love. A study from the University of Michigan found that chatting released hormones involved in bonding, which in turn reduced anxiety and stress, thus making the participants happier.
So to reduce stress, enjoy some time with your family and friends by doing any kinds of activity, for example, go for a picnic, a bike ride or just chat. Not only will it help reduce your stress levels but also help to build a strong bonds between each other.
Most of us are not satisfied with what we have. You might be stressed about not getting that promotion, or unsatisfied with your job/salary, or tensed with your children etc. Remember that there are people dealing with harder situations that yourself; some are homeless, jobless, or without children.
In worldly matters, look to those below you to be humbled (looking above you triggers jealousy and ungratefulness), while in religious matters look to those above you to get inspired to reach a higher level of taqwa.
You must always be thankful for what Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) granted you. You might think that what you want is better for you but He knows what is truly best for you. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) might be giving you what you need or He may be testing your iman so that you may call upon Him and increase in piety. The path you are on is the right one for you, even if you cannot see that right now.
Change Your Attitude
You are what you think. Change the way you view things around you. Treat setbacks as temporary problems. Believe that you’ll achieve your goal if you work towards it. Your attitude, outlook, and thoughts influence the way you see and react to events around you. A little optimism helps combat stress. This is how some people stay cool under pressure.
Stress cannot solve your problems, but it only causes more, especially to your health and social life. So, be happy with what you have, be patient, try to do your best and ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for guidance.
Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) said: “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 152]
In reality, it is difficult to avoid all sources of stress as we encounter a myriad of situations on a daily basis, but do not let stress control your life. Try to make a little time everyday for your health and well-being, as they are blessings from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
They say laughter is the best medicine and not only is it good for the body, but also for the mind as it can reduce stress hormones. So whenever you get a chance, try to enjoy the blessings of a good laugh. Of course, a lasting smile (also sunnah) can be just as beneficial, as your brain is tricked into being happy thereby releasing stress-relieving chemicals. You could also try other activities that make you happy, like reading a book, baking, or taking a walk.
Sleep is a vital part of our life. To reduce stress-inducing hormones, a good night’s sleep is exceedingly important. When you are tired and not well-rested, your stress hormones increase. You can easily remedy this by sleeping 7-9 hours per night.
However, the best quality sleep occurs in the early part of the night, which is in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who advised us to sleep right after ‘Isha salah. Sleeping around 9-10 pm also makes it easier to wake up for Fajr. However, if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and cannot fall back asleep, get up and pray tahajjud. Also if you get chance, take a short power nap after Dhuhr.
Keys to Managing Stress
Managing Free Time
In our busy life, we need some time to enjoy ourselves. You can use your free time in a productive way by doing something to serve your community, or simply relaxing and listening to Qur’an recitation, a lecture by your favorite lecturer, or reading any hadith or Islamic book.
This way you can increase your knowledge and faith, and also help calm your daily struggles. It is a necessary asset in the life of a person who wants to live stress-free. When you learn about of the struggles the sahabah made for their religion or how difficult it was for them initially to even pray five times in a day, a person can easily see that their struggle is small compared with that of our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his sahabah.
Start With Small Changes
Exercise is one of the most effective treatments against stress. Not only does it reduce stress levels, but it can also reduce fatigue, improve concentration levels and the physical ability to fight disease. Research shows that doing exercise in the morning on an empty stomach has a greater impact than at other time. If you feel a lack in energy, you can eat a few dates to stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Exercise does not always have to be a specific workout; it can include any activity that increases your heart rate, so try being active whenever the opportunity arises. For example, make it a habit to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk/bicycle when traveling short distances instead of riding a car.
Our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was reported to walk in a fast pace, now known as a power walk. In a hadith, Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) described Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) vigorous way of walking:
“When he walked, he lifted his leg with vigour. He did not drag his feet on the ground like women do. When he walked, because of the speed and force of the legs, it seemed as if he was descending from a high place.” [Tirmidhi]
What Is Stress?
Stress is our body’s response to external or internal stimuli. External cues can be any of the following: a move to a new city, a death of a close relative, a marriage in the family, or a long-awaited promotion. Internal stimuli consist of both physical and mental comfort and discomfort.
Physical triggers can include sitting in uncomfortable chairs, working in cramped spaces, overworking, and many other situations.
Emotional triggers include boredom, anxiety, or a conflict in personal or work relationships. Apart from these, personality traits, like the need to please others and to be perfect at everything, can also cause stress.
Don't Be A Perfectionist
Don’t try to be perfect, and stop expecting others to be perfect too – the truth is no one is perfect. This expectation of yourself or others will only add to your stress level. Be realistic. Delegate tasks instead of doing all of it yourself just because you don’t think others will do it perfectly. If you do not delegate, then you may burnout because of the cumulative effects of stressors.
Solve The Little Problems
Learning to solve everyday problems gives a sense of control. Avoiding them will only cause depression and stress to accumulate. This buildup over time will lead to a stress overload. Feeling capable of solving little problems builds the inner confidence to move on to life’s bigger and more stressful situations and be ready for them.