Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your to-do list seems endless, deadlines are fast approaching and you find yourself in a soup? But what is stress really, and how does it affect us?
What is stress?
Stress, in everyday terms, is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. Stress occurs when you perceive that demands placed on you such as work, school or relationships exceed your ability to cope.
Is it helpful?
Not in most cases but some stress can be beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or work deadlines.
How bad is it?
Untreated chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression, and obesity.
Can we fight stress?
By finding positive, healthy ways to manage stress as it occurs, many of these negative health consequences can be reduced. Everyone is different, and so are the ways they choose to manage their stress. Some people prefer pursuing hobbies such as gardening, playing music and creating art, while others find relief in more solitary activities like meditation, yoga and walking.
Stress management tips
Effective stress management techniques can offset the negative effects of stress in your life. Try these proven, fast, and reliable stress remedies.
- Talk it out: If you’re suffering stress from office or a relationship, try to talk it out. Many times talking your heart out can provide simple solutions.
- Take a break from the stressor: It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project or a relationship but when you give yourself permission to step away from it, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed.
- Acceptance: Don’t be a master of the result. Accept that you can’t control many events around you. Just do your best and keep moving ahead.
- Positive attitude: Nothing lasts forever. See the good happening around you. There’s too much beauty to quit. There’s a lot of good happening in the world. Focus on the good and positive part. The habit of optimism and positive thinking can bring better health, better relationships, and everything good.
- Manage time: One good tip to handle stress is to manage your time well. Don’t waste time on things that don’t need attention. Invest time in your daily tasks. Make a calendar. Make a priority matrix.
- Exercise: The research keeps growing— exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. Even a 10-minute walk, run, or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect.
- Diaphragmatic breathing: Every day you take tens of thousands of breaths so you might be surprised to learn that you might not be doing it right! Diaphragmatic breathing is one of the simplest yet most important stress management techniques available.
- Meditation: It’s undoubtedly one of the best stress management techniques known Meditation makes you more resilient and less reactive to stress by decreasing the number of neurons in the area of the brain associated with fear, anxiety, and stress. Meditation helps you quiet your mind and master negative thought patterns which are often the root cause of stress. There are many kinds of meditation, and one that stands out for stress relief is mindfulness meditation.
- Yoga: One reason for the explosion in interest in this 5,000-year-old practice is that people are looking for a way to de-stress. Any kind of physical exercise will reduce stress, but yoga excels at it. Besides yoga poses, there are many yoga-based breathing techniques. One technique is Sudarshan Kriya.
- Guided imagery: A method of relaxation which concentrates the mind on positive images in an attempt to reduce pain, stress, etc. It has the built-in capacity to deliver multiple layers of complex, encoded messages deep inside—positive, healing, motivating messages through simple images.
- Self-hypnosis: Hypnosis is a trance-like state characterized by extreme relaxation, increased suggestibility, and heightened imagination. Self-hypnosis occurs when you intentionally put yourself in this state without the help of a hypnotherapist.
- Music therapy: Music is used for many different issues, from stress relief to mental, emotional and behavioral problems. It’s beneficial for any individual, both physically and mentally, through improved heart rate, reduced anxiety, stimulation of the brain, and improved learning.
- Aromatherapy: It’s a healing and relaxation technique that makes use of the scent of essential oils. Dozens of essential oils deliver stress relief.
- Enjoyable pastimes: You almost certainly already have your own favorite stress reduction strategy. Creating art, listening to music, or getting absorbed in your favorite hobby are all legitimate stress management techniques.
- Smile and laugh: Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
- Nature: Nothing heals like mother nature. Go outside and spend some time in nature. It will lower your cortisol, blood pressure, and pulse rate while increasing heart rate variability.
- Volunteer: With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you reduce stress, find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Giving to others can also help protect your mental and physical health.
- Get social support: Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not alleviate your stress if you share your works woes with one of them.
- Gratitude: Expressing gratitude creates a surge of feel-good brain chemicals that will make you feel happier and more relaxed. A common way of expressing gratitude is by journaling but I find sharing grateful thoughts with others even better. This benefits both you and the recipient.
- Green tea: It provides focus and energy while it relaxes you.
- Reduce dosage of intoxicants: Many times we think that some alcohol or drugs might provide a temporary solution for stress but in fact, it’s even more dangerous. Any type of intoxicants add up to the stress and the situation may become worse.
- Get social support: Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you.
- Visit a professional: If you’re not able to cope up with all the solutions provided, visit a mental health professional who might be of help. A visit to a psychologist or your family doctor might be the only solution.
- Attend workshops: Nowadays, many professional do stress management workshops across the globe. Find someone good from the internet and registers for their workshops.
- ME time: A short trip alone often helps calm the body and mind. When you’re with yourself you can come up with creative solitons for your stress.
- Break up: This is the lender of the last resort. Sometimes you have to be strict and call it off with a company or a stressful relationship to stop living a stressful life. Although not an easy thing to do, it may be the only solution in a particular case. Give yourself a priority. Nothing is more important than yourself. There’s always a time to lead and a time to leave.
Although stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel. These tips often involve getting your mind away from the source of stress.