Stress is the body’s reaction to any changes that require a physical, mental, or emotional response.
Stress is a normal part of life. You can experience stress from the environment, your home life and work issues.
Stress, which is not managed or treated, can harm your health and well being.
How Does Stress Impact Your Health?
Here are some ways continuous stress without relief may cause serious health issues.
- Physical symptoms like headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, sleeping hassles, and sexual dysfunction are common occurrences.
- Emotional problems, including depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and worry. Studies have suggested that stress is linked to the 6 significant causes of death, namely heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, liver disease, and suicide.
- People who learn to manage stress lead happier, healthier lives, including family life, work-life, and also enjoy great feelings of general well-being.
Simple Ways To Destress
Here are 20 things you can do to help reduce your stress levels:
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. The benefits are stronger when you exercise regularly. Exercise lowers the body’s stress hormones, such as the hormone cortisol. It also helps to release endorphins, chemicals that improve your mood. Activities like walking or jogging especially help reduce stress.
Gratitude is much more than just a thank you. It is a way of life, an attitude which can be developed to be grateful for everything in life – whether good or bad. This positive focus can help to reduce stress levels and eliminate anxiety.
Practicing mindfulness is all about training yourself to live in the moment and paying attention to what is happening around you. It is also learning to focus on the present, forgetting about the past and not worrying about the future.
When you give your full attention to what you are doing, whether it be eating, reading, appreciating the sights and sounds of nature, there will be no opportunity for stress to sneak in. Research has indicated that mindfulness is a key element in a state of happiness and a calm mind.
When you are feeling anxious, listening to soothing music can have a very relaxing effect on the body and mind. Listening to music you enjoy will be soothing and uplifting. Nature sounds, which are often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music, can also be very calming.
5) Spend time with your pet
Looking after a pet may help to relieve stress by giving you purpose and keeping you active. Interacting with pets is known to release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. Pets are also good companions when you are feeling low and perhaps lonely.
6) Swap coffee for green tea
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that can increase energy and make you more alert. High quantities are known to increase stress and anxiety, although people’s sensitivity to caffeine may vary. Swapping coffee for green tea will be beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety.
Although green tea also contains caffeine, it is a much lower quantity than in coffee. A major benefit of green tea is that it contains the amino acid known as L-theanine. L-theanine works with caffeine to improve mood and brain function, giving you an extra advantage over drinking coffee.
Studies have shown that laughing is good for your health. Laughter may also relieve your stress response, and ease the tension by relaxing your muscles.
There is also proof that laughing can help improve your mood as well as your immune system. Try and spend time with people who make you laugh, and now and then, watch a type of comedy show that you enjoy – even if you have seen it before.
8) Friends and family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times and lower your risk of anxiety. One study found that for depressed women, spending time with friends and family, reduced stress. However, bear in mind that men also benefit from strong social ties with family and friends when it comes to reducing stress levels.
9) Your diet
There are certain foods that studies have found to have properties that promote calmness. Experts agree that if you include these foods in your diet, it will help to reduce anxiety and stress.
- Foods such as avocado and bananas are rich in potassium, which is known to control stress-related high blood pressure.
- Leafy green veggies such as Swiss chard, cabbage, and kale are high in magnesium, which helps to balance the body’s stress hormone – cortisol.
- The omega 3 rich fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines, help manage adrenaline levels so that you stay cool and calm if a stressful event happens.
- Whole-wheat grain snacks offer carbohydrates that promote the brain to release the feel-good chemical, serotonin.
Aromatherapy is using essential oils to treat your mood. Several studies have shown that aromatherapy can help lower anxiety and stress, as well as improve sleep patterns. Lavender, rose and sandalwood, are among the most calming scents. Light a scented candle or use the oils to get the relaxing benefits of these scents.
11) Learn to say no
You cannot please everyone. Taking on more than you can handle will only create excessive stress in your life. This is especially true for requests that you feel will not be easy to carry out and may land you in a mire of stress and anxiety.
Saying no to family and family may initially cause a bit of strife, but it will be beneficial for you to reduce your stress, rather than be overwhelmed by things you cannot do.
Procrastination is the thief of time. Don’t put off until tomorrow the things that you should do today. It may turn out to be a few tomorrows, and the longer you delay the task, the more stressed you will become. Panic can set in if you begin to feel that you are putting the job off too long.
13) Learn to relax and get enough sleep
Your body needs rest and good sleep to recover from the stressful events of the day. Many people underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. If you toss and turn all night, you will be ratty, irritable, tired, and stressed all day.
14) Deep breathing
Mental stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which promotes the release of stress hormones and causes symptoms like a rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing.
Deep breathing exercises can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation responses. When put into action, it helps calm your mind and eases the mental stress symptoms.
15) Some quick ways to relieve stress
There are various techniques to handle quick stress release. If you are alone, you can take a quick walk and gulp in some deep breaths, or perhaps sit quietly and meditate on some things that make you happy.
Yoga has also been shown to help to modulate the stress response system. This, in turn, helps to reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and improve respiration.
16) Quick-relief at work
Establishing a work-life balance is important. During your lunch break, take a walk around the block, listen to some soothing music while eating, or have an uplifting chat with a colleague.
You can also put some family photos on your desk so that you feel the family is always close by.
17) Recognize the signs of stress
Many people are always on the go rushing here and there so that they fail to recognize the fact that they may be stressed out. This may be you, but there are usually physical signs which point to stress. The key is to listen to your body’s clues and take appropriate action.
The bodily signs of stress include sore, tense muscles, clenching and unclenching your hands, and a tight, cramping, or aching stomach.
Your breathing may also be shallow, and sometimes you may even skip a breath and have a sudden deep intake of air to get the breathing going again. Your body is working hard and draining the immune system, making you susceptible to colds and flu.
18) How you respond
If you are short-tempered and easily become angry or emotional when stressed, you will react and respond best to stress-relieving activities, like deep breathing, soothing music, and meditation.
But if you tend to get depressed or withdrawn when under stress, opt for something energizing like a brisk walk, or going to the gym for a good workout. Moving your larger groups of muscles will lift your spirits and help to reduce stress levels.
19) Take time away from the phone or computer screen
Most people these days use digital equipment when it comes to their jobs, and can spend long hours in front of a computer or phone screen. This can also be stressful, especially if you work from home or have an internet business.
The way to gain some fast stress relief is to get up regularly and spend a bit of time away from the screen to relax your eyes, your hands, and your shoulders.
The sun is a great source of vitamin D, which is found in every cell in the body. When you are feeling down, stressed and fatigued, vitamin D can recharge your energy.
Also, when you get out into the clean, fresh air and find time to relax, you can appreciate the scents and sounds of nature, which is known to reduce stress levels.
To help manage stress, health experts agree that certain natural supplements are an excellent way to go, including:
If you are battling with stress and anxiety, consider treatment with a mental health professional, who is trained in stress management techniques, and who will be able to help you manage your stress issues more efficiently.
Stress is a normal part of life and is not always harmful. There are times when you may recognize stress as a warning that danger may be ahead, and you may decide to follow another course that could save your life.
The key is to know what is causing the stress and then consider carefully how to react and respond.
Stress becomes negative if you face continuous challenges without respite between stressful events. The stress hormones keep flooding the body, and the stress responses may cause wear and tear, both physically and emotionally.
Meta-emotions are always activated when you are stressed or anxious. Meta-emotions can best be described as secondary emotions, which are activated by a primary emotion.
For example, when you are stressed, it can trigger feelings of fear or panic, which are the meta-emotions.
The only way to break the cycle is to improve and manage your stress responses.