Guide to Stress Management
Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever increasing demands of life. However, our brain is built to cope with stressful situations. According to the Mayo Clinic, when our brain perceives threats, surges of hormones are released and rush through our body. This release is known as the “fight or flight” response and happens not only in extremely stressful situations but everyday stressors as well. In the increasing levels of stress that have been identified in the modern day world, our “alarm system” rarely shuts off.
Stress can consume a person to the point where they shut off from their everyday activities, responsibilities, family, friends and loved ones. We all deal with a certain amount of stress everyday but are usually able to cope and move on with what needs to be done. High levels of stress can have a negative impact on your health, relationships or quality of life. So what do we do when our stress levels skyrocket and we can’t seem to get it under control?
There are multiple techniques recommended by health care professionals and they all range from seclusion for a certain amount of time to physical activity. The first step towards dealing with your stress is to identify your stress triggers. Some are obvious such as job pressures, relationship problems or financial difficulties but positive events can also be stressful such as planning a wedding. The second step is to think of strategies for dealing with the stressors you have identified. You can make temporary changes to help yourself cope such as turn off the television, shutting your laptop or go for a walk outside. When there are situations where you can’t make a temporary change, try to brainstorm ways you can reduce the irritation factor that comes along with the stressor. Sometimes the irritation factor can be the worst part of the stressor.
According to the American Heart Association, here are the most common responses to stress:
- Aches & Pains: Headaches, backaches, neck aches, stomach ache, tight muscles, clenched jaw
- Energy levels and Sleep: Feeling tired without good reason, trouble sleeping
- Feelings: Anxiety, anger, depression, helplessness, out of control, tense
- Other Emotional Signs: Easily irritated, impatient, forgetful
Some techniques that are recommended to deal with stress is to practice meditation, Tai Chi, mindfulness and yoga or else perform more active activities such as walking outdoors, jogging or participating in sports. Our diets can also be a controlled factor in dealing with stress. Eating a more balanced amount of fruits and vegetables can provide our bodies with more proper nutrition than turning to greasy and unhealthy “comfort food.” It’s important to be mindful of eating normal-sized portions as well on a regular schedule. Changing up eating habits can cause more harm than good and can also add onto the stress level your body is experiencing.
Self-talk is also something to be mindful from when dealing with stress. Instead of saying something such as, “I can’t do this,” change the negative statement into a positive such as, “I’ll do the best I can.” Other statements to switch up are, “everything is going wrong” into “I can handle things is I take one step a time,” and “I hate when this happens,” into “I know how to deal with this, I’ve done it before.” Switching up the way that you assess situations by talking to yourself can drastically change the level of stress a situation presents to yourself.
Being aware of the unhealthy habits you turn to can also help one assess the stressor and make the necessary changes in response to it. Unhealthy habits, according to Help Guide include: drinking, smoking, zoning out in front of the television or computer, procrastinating, filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing one’s problems, taking stress out on other, overeating and under eating, withdrawing from friends, family and everyday activities.
Recognizing the unhealthy habits and turning them into positives can be life changing instead of letting stress run your life—fight back with these healthy habits recommended by the American Heart Association:
- · Talk with family and friends
- · Engage in daily physical activity
- · Accept the things you can’t change
- · Remember to laugh
- · Give up bad habits
- · Slow down
- · Get enough sleep
- · Get organized
- · Practice giving back
- · Try not to worry about the small stuff
De-stress your life and take a look at the positives more than the negatives in your life!
Disclaimer: The Escali blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment More