Stress, it’s a commonly used term, and everyone will deal with it at some point and some more than others, but what is stress really? When we feel heightened sensations of pressure or anxiety, the body begins to react physically, mentally, and even emotionally.
These reactions are different for everyone and every situation; this is commonly referred to as stress. When we think of being under pressure or stressed out, we associate it with negative feelings, but not all stress is bad.
In fact, it is your body’s natural defense mechanism to help you get through certain situations in life. It can also help keep you more focused and aware of your surroundings and even make you more physically capable than usual under some circumstances.
Stress Management Tips
If you can learn to identify the signs, you can also learn to manage it effectively. Let’s look at these 5 tips to help manage stress:
- Exercise – Adding mild to moderate exercises into your daily routine such as yoga, jogging, swimming, or dancing can greatly increase your mood, stimulate hormones and endorphins to help you relieve physical pain, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
- Diet – Eating a healthy diet goes much further than just managing weight; it can also lessen stress, help build your immune system, and lower blood pressure. Sticking with a healthy diet can drastically reduce the effects it has on the body.
- Restful Sleep – It is common for those who are under a lot of stress to lose sleep, which only adds to the cycle. There are some things you can do to help improve your sleep, such as exercising, cutting back on alcohol and caffeine consumption, being consistent in your sleep schedule, and putting away your electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
- Meditation – Meditation helps you quiet your mind and focus on your breathing; this practice alone can significantly reduce your anxiety levels, relaxing your body as well as your mind, and may also contribute to a more restful sleep.
- Behavior – Learning how to appropriately respond to people with who you have direct contact can reduce stress levels. Stop over-committing yourself; it’s okay to say no, walk away from heated discussions instead of engaging, learn to ask for help and be sure to allow yourself some quiet time. These steps can help keep you from getting overwhelmed in personal situations, avoiding added stress.
Warning Signs of Chronic Stress
Although acute stress is not really anything to be concerned about since it is typically short-lived, you do need to be cautiously aware of the warning signs for chronic stress as it can lead to long-term physical, mental, and emotional effects such as:
- Lack of motivation
- High blood pressure
- Decreased libido
- Trouble sleeping
- Sleeping too much
- Trouble with digestion
- And more
If you are experiencing signs of chronic stress, don’t ignore it; if it is left untreated for too long, it can spiral out of control.
If you feel like your stress is just too overwhelming for you to handle, talk to your physician to find out what other resources are available to you to help get it under control.