What is iceberg stress, you ask? According to experts at Shape magazine, this is a type of anxiety that is subconscious. So it’s stealthily harming your health by becoming so natural that you don’t even realize it’s hurting you anymore. This type of stress might not be something that manifests itself like the stress you feel when you find out your son is failing math or your boss needs extra hours at the office that you simply don’t have. Here’s how to control iceberg health so you don’t have to suffer the health consequences.
1. Add Reading a Book to Your Daily Routine
According to experts, reading a book can reduce your stress levels by nearly 70 percent. When you read, your body relaxes and your mind is focused on the story, rather than on your nagging best friend or your naughty toddler. Make time each day to read and you may find that your iceberg stress goes down and that you are better able to handle it when it does crop up.
2. Scale Back on Your Workout Routine
Yes, exercise definitely has a good effect on stress and it can be just the salve you need when things get crazy. However, too much exercise can have the opposite effect. A routine that’s too intense can increase the pressure you put on yourself to lose the weight, increase your reps or bench press more than your gym buddy. Tone things down a bit so that you can benefit from the workout without adding to your stress.
3. Spend Time with Your Friends and Family in Person
Sure, you can catch up on your friend’s new baby’s milestones or see what your second cousin once removed is doing on Facebook, but face to face time is vital for controlling stress, say the experts. Make it point to meet for coffee, go dancing or have dinner together so that you can foster healthy relationships and build a network of support for when times get tough.
4. Figure out What Your Bigger Purpose is
There’s something about feeding a passion that can help you feel less stressed and happier with life overall. Volunteering to help those in need, whether it’s reading to low-income kids or serving dinner to the homeless, can lessen the pressures you feel in your normal life so they aren’t so overwhelming. This lowers iceberg stress in a big way.
5. Take a Coffee or Tea Break
Your break might only last 5 to 10 minutes, but this can lower your stress by more than 50 percent. It’s during this short break that you focus on yourself and nurture you for a few minutes. You’d be surprised at how much of a quick little pick me up a solitary cup of coffee or tea can be.
6. Practice Good Breathing on a Regular Basis
Do a little experiment. Breathe deeply for a minute, then breathe quickly like you would when you’re stressed. Which one makes you feel better? Instead of letting the ding of your email or the barking of your next door neighbor’s dog get you stressed, breathe deeply. You’ll notice your stress receding and you’ll be better able to handle whatever is bothering you at any given moment.
7. Stop Letting Your Smartphone Rule Your Life
I’ll be honest, I don’t go without my phone very often. It’s how my kids can reach me, it’s where I check my email when I’m away from my computer, and it’s where I keep in touch with my friends and family. However, there’s a certain sense of freedom when I forget it. Power down your phone in the hour before bedtime and quit keeping it in your pocket all day long and you might notice less stress almost immediately.
What’s causing your iceberg stress? Do you think any of these ideas could help you?