Letting Go of Stress to Stress Less

Letting Go of Stress to Stress Less
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Carrying around the daily burden of stress can become exhausting. What if there were a way to simply set it down? Letting go of stress helps lighten the load to lower overall stress levels. “Letting go” is not giving up, caving in, or being in denial. It’s accepting what is, so that you can coexist with “it” instead of letting “it” wear you down.

Managing Unavoidable Stress

“Letting go” of stress doesn’t mean eliminating all sources of it. Not all stressors can just disappear. Bills will always be due, kids will always grow up and stop telling you everything, the house will always need to be cleaned, and work will always demand more from you. 

For stressors that can’t go away or be ignored, “letting go” means doing what you can about them, and not worrying about the rest. This can mean:

  • Eating right, staying physically active, and following Lark’s other recommendations to stay healthy so you can be confident you are doing everything possible. These are also the key ways that we manage stress biologically.
  • Being a great role model for your children so you can be sure that you have given them every possible tool to be able to make good decisions when you aren’t present.
  • Setting a budget and sticking to it so you can worry less about what someone else may be buying.

Learning to Accept Stress

Once you’ve gotten rid of any of the sources of stress that you can, the effect of any stress that remains depends on how you handle it. Stress management techniques (click for more on this) can be helpful here.

Live in the Moment, Sometimes

Living in the moment not only prevents you from agonizing (too much) about the past and the future but also helps you appreciate the present. It can start with conscious efforts to notice what is happening right now. These tips can help you get started.

  • Stare less at your phone and more at your surroundings.
  • Notice sensory details of what you’re feeling by taking 3 deep breaths anytime you want to be re-centered.
  • Accept what may not be perfect, such as an unexpected sound while you’re trying to concentrate.
  • Appreciate what is good, such as your spouse’s beautiful smile or the warmth of the sun.

Lark offers reminders to be present in the moment and more tips for managing and accepting stress. As always, come chat anytime.

Practice Gratitude

Being grateful for what you have helps you focus more on the positive and less on the negative. Gratitude is one of those great beliefs that become truer as you practice them more. These are some ways to get started expressing gratitude.

  • Say, “Thank you,” to others to express appreciation, such as for a compliment, help with a task at home or work, or a pleasant experience at a coffee shop, restaurant, or store.
  • Thank yourself whenever you are good to yourself, such as carving out a 30-minute block of time for a workout or choosing a bowl of strawberries and cottage cheese for yourself instead of strawberry ice cream.
  • Make a list of things in your life that you are grateful for. Keep it handy so you can add to it when you recognize more items to add.

Letting go of stress does not remove all sources of stress, but it can lift the burden on you. Lark can help guide you through techniques to lighten your stress load.