Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Jamie
Stress as We All Know it
Stress is a word that is not new for most of us. Individuals suffer from stress every day because of health issues, family problems, and work or financial issues.
From feeling anxious, afraid or nervous to being impatient, irritable, and overwhelmed, the symptoms of stress lie on a vast spectrum and can vary from person to person.
And while you cannot control these stress-inducing circumstances, you can certainly manage how you tackle them. However, since intensified stress levels can negatively affect your wellbeing, it is essential to adopt effective stress relieving strategies to protect your body and mind.
In this blog post, we will discuss the different causes, symptoms, and stress relief methods. So, keep reading to find out!
Numerous factors can induce stress, and the intensity of these factors is connected to the intensity of stress. From preparing for your exam to watching an important game, the reason for stress can vary for everyone.
These are a few common causes of stress:
- Being under pressure
- Significant changes in your life
- Worrying about things or overthinking
- Not having control over a particular situation
- A busy, burdensome routine
- Experiencing hate, discrimination, or abuse
- Injury or Illness
- Losing or starting a new job
- Exams, assignments, and deadlines
- Becoming a parent
- Getting married, breaking up, or divorce
- Complicated relationships with parents, children, siblings, or friends
Stress can affect our behavior, emotions, mind, and body in several ways. But these symptoms can vary greatly among individuals. Therefore, it can be tricky to tell instantly If someone is experiencing stress or not.
Following are the general sign and symptoms of stress:
- Being angry, irritable, and impatient
- Feeling overwhelmed or over-burdened
- A lingering sense that something terrible is going to happen
- Feelings of anxiousness or nervous
- Inability to enjoy
- Being depressed, worried, and tense
- Panic attacks
- Feeling sick or dizzy
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss without any actual reason
- Changes in your period or menstrual cycle
- Incapability to make decisions
- Unable to focus
- Nail biting
- Eating too much or too little
- Withdrawal of social activities
Okay, so now that you know the basics, let’s talk about the methods you can adopt to help relieve stress.
Regardless of the cause, it is essential that you know how to lower stress to ensure that it does not leave any long-lasting impact on your health.
Here is a list of the easiest and most effective stress management techniques:
Short-Term Stress Management Methods
Remember the best short-term strategies:
- Can be done anywhere
- Need very little practice to master
- And offer immediate relief
You might have had people recommending yoga or meditation to counteract anxiety. But does it actually work?
Yes, it does!
Meditation can prove to be beneficial for short-term stress relief and long-term stress management. Even if you only meditate for a few minutes, it can help alleviate stress symptoms and improve mood and cognition.
One of the best-known methods to calm you in under twenty minutes is the Transcendental meditation technique. Also referred to as the “silent mantra,” Transcendental Meditation, or TM requires you to create a mantra and keep repeating it while taking deep, slow breaths. This ” transcends” your normal thinking processes and helps the mediator achieve rest, order, stability, and mindfulness.
Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and not dwelling on past events. And while meditation and mindfulness can be quite challenging to practice, they can help bring you back into the present and prevent overthinking or worrying about the past or future.
Numerous studies have proved the effectiveness of TM in reducing stress. For example, in this experiment, people experienced improved mental and emotional health after practicing TM for twelve consecutive weeks.
Focus on Breathing
Simply focusing on your breathing can also significantly affect your stress levels.
Breathing techniques can help calm your brain and body in just a few moments. And you can even practice it during broad daylight without anyone knowing! No one will notice that you are doing this exercise. Therefore, it does not matter if you are alone or in a packed theatre; breathing slowly can help you give better control of your body and help treat stress.
Many breathing exercises can be used, such as diaphragmatic and karate breathing. However, this is the most common one.
Inhale, and count slowly to three. Breathe in through your nose and let your belly fill up with air. Hold the position for one second and slowly exhale through your nose until you reach three.
Adopt or Spend Time with a Pet
A pet can help you feel calm and relaxed. Your body releases oxytocin, a hormone linked to a positive mood when you touch or cuddle something you love. And what is a better way to release this chemical than by spending time with your pet?
A pet can help you relieve stress by giving you a purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.
Studies show that pet owners, especially those with dogs, have higher levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem, and positive moods.
Practicing self-care by setting aside some time for just yourself can help alleviate the adverse effects of stress. Studies have shown that self-care leads to lower anxiety levels and better quality of life. While lacking self-care is associated with an increased risk of burnout and strain.
To live a healthy lifestyle, it is essential to take time for yourself. This is particularly important for those who are often busy, such as nurses, doctors, and teachers.
Self-care is crucial in managing stress and does not always have to be complicated. You don’t need to spend tons of money to relax your mind; trying these easy options can also be highly beneficial:
- Going for a walk outdoors
- Reading a good book
- Preparing/eating a healthy meal
- Stretching before you go to bed
- Taking a dip in the tub
- Lighting candles
- Practicing yoga
- Using a diffuser that emits calming aromas
Certain scents can be calming if diffused through candles or essential oils. Here are some relaxing scents to try:
- Orange or orange blossom
- Roman chamomile
Using Guided Imagery
In simple words, Guided imagery is like taking a vacation in your head. For example, it could involve picturing yourself on a beach listening to the waves, feeling the warm sand beneath you, or creating any other relaxing scenario in your mind.
You can also practice guided imagery by listening to videos or someone guiding you through a peaceful scene. Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking through that scene. Allow yourself to think about all your sensory experiences and feel like you are there. Once you feel yourself loosening up, open your eyes to return to the present moment.
Long-Term Stress Management Methods
Searching for some long-term stress management methods to permanently get rid of all the anxiousness and worry?
Some habits can increase resilience to stress and improve overall wellbeing. But, simultaneously, it is vital to adopt a lifestyle that helps you deal with stress and other challenges in a healthy manner.
Here are a few lifestyle modifications you can try for long-lasting benefits!
Follow a Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods can help reduce stress. In addition, research shows that foods containing vitamins like B complex, C- and E, and minerals such as zinc and magnesium can reduce stress.
You should avoid canned and processed foods as they contain harmful chemicals. Likewise, refined sugar and carbohydrates can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate and lead to fatigue; therefore, you should also avoid them. In contrast, natural carbohydrates like whole wheat and brown rice can stabilize blood sugar and increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can relax. And foods such as avocados, eggs, and walnuts are good for energy balance and mood regulation.
In short, a healthy diet can reduce stress and help you live a long life.
Increase Physical Activity
Keeping your body on a roll and increasing physical activity can also help counteract stress and lessen its long-term effects on the body.
A 6-week study of 185 university students showed that exercising twice a week significantly decreased overall stress levels and depression.
You can start with simple activities like walking or biking and then move on to extensive exercises and workouts to find the activity that works best for you.
Take Stress Relief Supplements
Taking certain stress relief supplements can provide you with the necessary nutrients to feel your best. You can consider these supplements to help with stress relief:
- L-theanine: This amino acid has been proven to reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
- Melatonin: This natural hormone helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and aids in maintaining a regular sleep cycle, ultimately leading to less stress.
- B vitamins: Some studies suggest that B vitamins can help lower oxidative stress and promotes wellbeing
- Ashwagandha: This adaptogenic herb can also help increase the body’s resistance to physical and mental stress.
- Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination can cause you to lose productivity and make it difficult to catch up. This can lead to stress and poor sleep quality.
A study of 140 Chinese medical students illustrated that procrastination is related to higher stress levels. The study also revealed the connection between procrastination and gut health, which again is linked to our brain.
You might find it helpful to make a priority list if you are prone to procrastinating. Set realistic deadlines and start working your way down the to-do list. Focus on the important things first and allow yourself some “me time” in between.
Get Enough Sleep
The body’s natural way to fight stress and fatigue is through rest. You feel calmer and better equipped to handle problems if you are well rested. Conversely, research shows that sleep deprivation is linked to poor performance and daily dullness.
You can improve your sleep quality by:
- Avoiding intense activities right before bed
- Not intaking caffeine after 6 p.m.
- Eating lighter in the evening
- Getting enough exercise throughout the day
The journey to becoming and staying stress-free can be pretty long, but regardless, it is possible.
It depends on making better choices and shifting your focus to the good things. You can ameliorate stress once and for all by trying the above-stated methods.
It may take some time, but with consistency and dedication, you will be stress-free in no time!
Stress can affect your mental or physical health. Suicidal thoughts are often experienced by people who are under severe stress. This can be extremely dangerous. If you experience such thoughts, it is best to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
In fact, regardless of the severity of stress, it is best to seek your general physician. They might run tests to determine if stress is affecting your physical health and can suggest solutions for its management.
Talking to a certified psychologist can also help you deal with stress. It can make you more aware of your thoughts and feelings. One such example is Talking therapy, which has proved helpful in treating many stress-related mental problems.
To help you with stress, you can try some of these therapies. But, still, if you feel your stress symptoms spiralling out of control, talk to your doctor to change the treatment accordingly.
Stress is a problem that many people dream of getting rid of, but only a few are actually able to achieve. You must look for tools to help you deal with life’s inevitable ups and downs, and it can take some experimentation to find the best stress relief strategy.
By making simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce stress. For example, eating healthy, meditating, exercising and by getting a good night’s sleep, these will help with alleviating it.