This post is on s simple article from Forbes (I know you've probably never heard of it, but they have good stuff sometimes). It's about how to handle stress, and you can read the whole thing here.
I will of course give you my take on it for the tl;dr folks.
First, and probably most important of all, the article starts off with a graph, which basically shows that some stress is good, and more than that is bad. The good kind of stress lasts for no longer than a few minutes. This is what our bodies have evolved to handle: threat, threat response, safety. When we are exposed to long-lasting stress, our brains start to shrink and our bodies start to malfunction.
The thing is, a lot of the long-lasting stress we feel is largely under our control. Not that we can always avoid stress, and in fact we wouldn't want to. Again, a little stress is good because it gets us to act, keeps our skills sharp, and inspires growth. But there are some things we do to prolong the stresses in our life.
For example, we ruminate (replay negative thoughts over and over in our heads, re-triggering the stress over and over without taking positive action to solve the problem). I am certainly guilty of this one. I practice mindfulness every day, and while it helps, I still ruminate sometimes. Other things we do to hold onto stress are similar: we maintain grudges, we focus on what our lives are lacking (rather than focusing on what's going right), etc.
So the article has 11 things you can do to lower your bad stress levels, and you might want to take a look at them all, but for now I'll just share the few I really like and think are most interesting.
1) Saying No. It's hard to say no to people, and when we say yes to doing things we really don't want to do, we raise our stress levels. Think of it this way: saying no is stressful, but it only lasts for a minute. Saying yes when you don't want to relieves pressure now but makes it build and build as time goes on.
2) Exercise. Of course, I would list this one. The interesting part (which is not in the article), is that the best exercise is for only a couple minutes, but done many times throughout the day. Most people sit all day, and then some of them do an hour-ish-long workout at the gym after work. They are not getting as much benefit as the few who stretch, squat, and do other quick, simple movements every 10 minutes or so. This, of course, requires courage because people will look at you, and you might interpret their looks as negative judgments. You are in fact being a leader and a good role model. Every time you take a tiny exercise break at the office, you might be inspiring others to do so too. You might even help them lower their stress levels if they follow your lead.
3) Mindfulness. It literally just takes asking yourself this question. "What do I notice right now?" Just ask that, and notice whatever you notice, whether it's what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch, or thoughts. Just see if you can be aware of the experience. Over time, this changes the whole stress mechanism in your brain. You will eventually respond differently to stress altogether. Mindfulness pays for itself after a few months of doing it for just a few minutes a day or whenever you think of it.
-----> Again, the article can be found here.
Be well, keep growing,