Five effective strategies to help handle stress.
Stress sets off a chain of events. The body reacts to it by releasing a hormone, adrenaline, that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. When stress is constant (chronic), your body remains in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time.
Chronic stress can take a physical toll on you. You may have physical signs (such as headaches, tense or sore muscles, or trouble sleeping), emotional signs (such as feeling anxious or depressed), or both. Stress can make you feel cranky, forgetful or out of control.
First, what causes stress?
- Feel under lots of pressure.
- Face big changes in your life.
- Are worried about something.
- Don’t have much or any control over the outcome of a situation.
- Have responsibilities that you find overwhelming.
- Don’t have enough work, activities or change in your life.
- Experience discrimination, hate or abuse.
There are lots of reasons to manage OR handle stress – especially the emotional and mental health benefits of dealing with stress.
1. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Engage in relaxation techniques that can help calm your mind and body. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and mindfulness can all be helpful. These techniques can reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and promote a sense of calm and well-being.
Relaxation techniques are a great way to help with stress management. Relaxation isn’t only about peace of mind or enjoying a hobby. It’s a process that decreases the stress effects on your mind and body. Relaxation techniques can help you cope with everyday stress. – Mayo Clinic
Some relaxation techniques may include:
- Deep breathing
- Tai chi
- Music and art therapy
2. Regular Exercise
Physical activity is a powerful stress reliever. Engaging in regular exercise, whether it’s walking, jogging, yoga, or any other form of physical activity, can release endorphins, improve mood, and reduce stress. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, can improve your quality of life and relieve stress, tension, anxiety and depression. You may notice a “feel good” sensation immediately following your workout, and also see an improvement in overall well-being over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of your life.
Almost any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. Examples include walking, stair climbing, jogging, dancing, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, gardening, weightlifting and swimming. – Mayo
3. Prioritize Self-Care to handle stress
Make self-care a priority in your daily routine so you can handle stress better.
Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy.
Take time for activities that you enjoy and that help you relax and recharge. This could include hobbies, reading, taking baths, spending time in nature, listening to music, or anything else that brings you joy and helps you unwind.
4. Seek Social Support
Reach out to friends, family, or support groups when you’re feeling stressed. Sharing your feelings with trusted individuals can provide comfort, perspective, and emotional support. Surround yourself with positive and understanding people who can offer encouragement and help alleviate stress through their presence and empathy.
What is so important about social support? Research shows that social support provides important benefits to our physical and emotional health. Stress may be related to a number of health concerns, from mental health problems to chronic health problems like heart disease and migraines.
- Emotional Support
- Informational Support
- Tangible Support
- Self-esteem or Affirmational Support
- Belonging Support
5. Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can contribute to better stress management. Get enough sleep to ensure proper rest and rejuvenation. Eat a balanced diet that includes whole foods, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as they can exacerbate stress and anxiety. Taking care of your physical well-being can positively impact your ability to handle stress.
Remember that everyone responds to stress differently, so it’s important to find the strategies that work best for you.