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4 Stress Management Tips From the Marines

Everyone gets stressed from time to time, but it’s important to know how to manage your stress effectively for a variety of reasons. The more stressed you are, the worse your mental and physical health will be, and the harder it becomes to accomplish your goals.

Stress management can be tricky, but there’s one group you can and should take stress management lessons from above all others: the United States Marines. After all, these guys have to deal with crazy obstacles and huge challenges every day!

Let’s explore 4 practical ways the Marines handle their stress and explore how we can apply these lessons to civilian life:


4. Work Out – Stay Fit!

To be a Marine, you need to be fit in mind and body. It’s a known scientific fact that exercise helps the body curb its stress response, by lowering cortisol levels in the brain and increasing dopamine production. Several sessions of moderate to intense exercise per week gives you a boost of feel-good endorphins, whilst also engaging you in an active meditation where you can process pent-up stress.

With that in mind, take a leaf out of the Marines’ book and workout regularly to keep stress levels in check and help burn away detrimental stress hormones.

3. Find a Task You Can Accomplish Quickly

To manage stress more effectively, try breaking down your objectives in a very Marine-like way. Rather than stressing over long-term campaign objectives or war outcomes, Marines focus on specific and manageable tasks they can accomplish in short order.

You should do the same thing in your daily life. Don’t worry about how you’ll find a job, sell your house, and have a kid over the next three months. Find something you can accomplish rapidly and regularly, then watch your stress levels decrease.

For example, making your bed every morning accomplishes a basic objective and fills you with a small sense of accomplishment. It’s a minor win, sure, but everything you can do to lower your stress and improve your self-confidence will help you avoid becoming overwhelmed.

2. Focus On What You CAN Control

Similarly, try not to focus on things that are out of your control. Marines have to carry out their missions in hellish, chaotic environments, particularly when they are deployed.

But rather than focus on the chaos of their situations, Marines will frequently buckle down and only worry about things that they can control. For example, Marines in a hot spot waiting on extraction will focus on protecting his or her comrades, not worrying about the condition of a chopper on its way to their rescue.

This lesson can easily be applied to civilian life. Imagine being late for work – and rather than getting worked up about hitting every red light on the way, focus on driving safely and efficiently. You might just make up lost time by preventing yourself from getting stressed about something you can’t control and reducing the struggle.

1. Ask for Help from Your Comrades, Friends, or Family

Lastly, every Marine knows that they can rely on their comrades for support. A strong support network is key to managing stress and maintaining good mental health, especially over the long term.

Civilians should do the same thing, even though they arguably have easier access to a support network than Marines on deployment. Lean on your friends and family for assistance and advice – they’re the best resources you have to mitigate your own stress and enjoy life to the fullest.

Keeping stress levels in check helps Marines stay cool, calm and collected so they can excel at their missions. While a bit of stress in life is necessary to motivate us to move forward, too much can take its toll and impact our overall performance. 

Apply these techniques next time you’re feeling edgy, overtasked or overwhelmed, and see how clear your head can be with a bit of Marine-style disciple and mind mastery!

Thanks for reading,  

Justin | Author

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