Take Care Of Your Body
Living a healthy lifestyle is critical for both your physical and mental health. Maintaining healthy eating, exercise, and sleep habits makes a huge difference.
Even small improvements to your diet, workout routine, or sleep schedule can make a big difference, Scott writes, in the sense that habits work off of each other and “one change makes all the other changes come more easily.”
Whats Causing Your Stress The Common Culprits
My recent research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done, said Dr. Heidi Hanna, an integrative neuroscientist and executive director for the American Institute of Stress. People have more demand on their time and energy than they have capacity, and constant connection to technology aggravates the situation.
Research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done.
She explained that many people also fail to realize that internal stress has a tendency to make external circumstances much more difficult to deal with. For example, if youre not catching enough ZZZs, eating crummy food or living a sedentary life, your nervous system is more agitated and more likely to respond hastily to perceived stressors or threats in your environment.
With all the advances in technology, its easy to forget that were still dealing with a very primitive brain pattern that is hardwired to protect us at all costs, said Dr. Hanna. If we think we dont have enough of something whether its time, energy, money or other resources like social support the stress reaction system is activated.
Other common causes of stress, outside of not being able to get it all done, include our finances, health and relationships. These things tend to be at the forefront of our minds anyway, but are exacerbated when were facing an obstacle.
You Have A Constant Headache That Just Wont Go Away
If you experience throbbing or feel pressure anywhere on the head or temple area, theres a good chance its a tension or stress headache, says Dr. Colgan. Oftentimes people point to particular troubles in their life that might be causing this pain, but lifestyle might be to blame instead. Keep in mind, if your head pain feels like a migraine headache, the worst headache of your life, or a headache that wakens you from sleep, those are signs of a dangerous health problem. You should visit a doctor immediately, advises Dr. Colgan.
What to do: When stress is the cause of your headache, the easiest thing to say is, have less stress in your life. But that advice itself is stressful, says Dr. Colgan. Knowing what your headaches coming from is helpful therapy. People oftentimes feel worse worrying and trying to figure out what the cause could be. So knowing its not some serious health problem may make a person feel better. Sometimes the most effective way a doctor can treat a patient is to teach them about their symptoms, says Dr. Colgan.
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Path To Improved Well Being
Stress can cause health problems or make existing problems worse. Talk to your family doctor if you think your symptoms could be caused by stress. Its important to make sure they arent caused by other health problems.
Learn to recognize when youre feeling stressed. Early warning signs of stress include tension in your shoulders and neck or clenching your hands into fists. Try to avoid the event or situation that leads to your stress. If thats impossible, change how you react to stress.
What Makes Us Worry
One of the keys to learning how to stop worrying is discovering the root of your fears.
For better or for worse, worrying is part of how weve evolved as humans. Biologically, our central nervous system often responds to stress and fear by worrying. When this happens, the first step to stop worrying is to reflect on what exactly is causing your anxiety.
Some feelings of worry can be healthy, pushing us to find solutions to real and present problems. However, chronic worry, even about things out of our control, can severely impact our mental health. The good news? There is a multitude of strategies to help us learn how to stop worrying, manage stress, and start thriving.
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You Have Digestive Issues
I cant stress enough how being under too much pressure can lead to physical discomfort. That feeling of nausea you get when you pull into your offices parking lot is a direct response to the stress youre already feeling about the day ahead of you. But its not as simple as a quick rumble in your stomach. It could cause problems with your digestive system that could lead to vomiting or other issues.
Why Do I Worry So Much
Chronic worry can be triggered by anything. From working at a difficult job to becoming a new parent, theres likely always going to be something in life for us to worry about. To find out why you may be an endless worrier, take some time to reflect and examine your self-awareness. Consider if any of these reasons could be causing your anxiety:
- Life changes such as having a child, divorce, moving
- Financial challenges, job loss, or planning for a big purchase
- Relationship conflict with family, friends, or others
- Physical health issues or concerns
- Everyday inconveniences like traffic or housework
- Too many social commitments, responsibilities, or obligations
- Lack of time for self-care practices and hobbies
The key to managing the anxiety that comes with each of these situations is to learn strategies for how to stop worrying and start living.
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Stress: Coping With Everyday Problems
Everyone has stress. It is a normal part of life. You can feel stress in your body when you have too much to do or when you havent slept well. You can also feel stress when you worry about things like your job, money, relationships, or a friend or family member who is ill or in crisis. In response to these strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to you muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation. However, when you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, you will feel stress which can threaten your health and well-being.
According to the APAs Stress in America study, nearly 70% of Americans experience physical and mental symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress.
Youve Become Indifferent Sexually
When youre stressed out and have a ton of issues on your mind, your sex drive is likely to decrease. You might be frustrated about it and wish you could do something about it, but when the opportunity arises, youll find yourself not being able to focus, or not being in the mood at all. Try to relieve stress by exercising often.
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Ways To Minimize The Impact Of Stress On The Body
Whether youre dealing with chronic stress or experience it occasionally on a situational basis , its possible to reset and find a more stable sense of peace and happiness in your daily life.
Treat your body well: It may sound obvious, but its worthy of repeating: Anything that helps the brain and body to have more sustainable energy is going to keep stress reactions minimized, because we can adapt more effectively, explains Hanna. Sleeping at least seven hours at night, eating healthy foods every three to four hours to stabilize blood sugar, and moving at least every 90 minutes during the day to facilitate optimal circulation can reduce the wear and tear of daily stress.
Identify and anticipate your stressors: This may require some introspection, but the effort will be worthwhile. It’s important to be aware of what things create more stress for you, says Hartstein. Is work a place that is stressful? Do you take too much responsibility for things and then not take care of yourself? Knowing what things trigger your stress is really important. If you can do some coping ahead some planning for those stressful moments you can minimize the stress and help yourself through the moments without becoming too overwhelmed.
Even just three to five minutes of slow, rhythmic breathing can start to train the nervous system to be more adaptive.
The Effects Of Chronic Stress
Your nervous system isnt very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If youre super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if youre facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in todays demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Behavioural Symptoms Of Stress
There are a number of potential indicators which suggest that a persons wellbeing is suffering so it might be that someone else points these out or you see them in yourself or others. These signs include:
- Seeming very tired or complaining they arent sleeping.
- Not voicing concerns or stopped talking to management despite an open door policy.
- A change in eating habits eating or drinking more or less than usual- and if eating more – often of high calorie items.
- Susceptibility to illness .
- Not wanting to talk about something is a key behaviour. .
- Getting angry suddenly and out of proportion to what was asked/said can also indicate deeper issues.
- Fidgety or nervous habits such as nail biting.
- Increase in drug or alcohol use.
Then there are the more subtle signs which may need closer observation, for example, slumping or a slower walk, or a lapse in personal grooming.
All of these signs may be indicators of other issues, but they are also commonly related to stress, often because one of the first things to be affected is the sleep pattern which in turn may have further repercussions on concentration, interactions and ability to perform to the standards they would want. It never hurts, if you do notice any of these in others or recognise them in yourself to stop and ask are you/am I really ok?
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Consider Whether Your Child Is Over
Over-scheduling is a big source of school stress, experts say. Many high-school students enroll in more Honors or Advanced Placement courses than they can handle, and then pile extracurricular activities on top, says Denise Clark Pope, PhD, a lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education in Stanford, California, and author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students.
If parents filled their kids’ schedules with more sleep, down time, and family time, Pope says, “We would not be in the situation we are today. It would be that dramatic of a change.”
As a fellow student, O’Brien agrees: “Kids are so consistently worried about keeping up with ‘what’s next’ and ‘what’s next,’ that it’s hard to sit down and say, ‘Wow, I’m stressed out. Let’s find out why.'”
Elementary students can be over-scheduled, too, Holt says. “There are so many things to do now. It’s not like you just go outside and play. Now there are clubs, sports, ballet, gym – plus you’re trying to get homework in there,” she says. “As a society, we’re just in a whirlwind. We’ve forgotten: We are dealing with children.”
Some children thrive under a “driven schedule,” the AAP report says. “However, for some children this hurried lifestyle is a source of stress and anxiety and may even contribute to depression.”
“Kids just have this idea that they need to be Superman,” O’Brien says.
Don’t Ignore Your Stress
People often don’t address their stress in a proactive way until they feel overwhelmed by it, and often then, they tend to be reactive rather than proactive, which doesn’t always lead to the best decision-making. Stress management is an ongoing process, not a one-time act.
It is important to have an overall stress management plan that includes not only cutting out stressors and managing stress that you feel, but actually remaining aware of the stress you are experiencing, and not letting your stress levels get too high.
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Things To Remember When Dating Is Stressing You Out
Raise your hand if you want to roll your eyes each time someone says, “Dating is supposed to be fun!”
I mean, it’s true. Dating is supposed to be fun. It provides opportunities to dress up, hang out with someone new, eat some delicious grub, and see good movies. Most folks think that stuff is fun.
But there’s certainly more to it than that. There’s the texting. The uncertainty. The awkwardness. The questions.
And all the feeeeeeeelings.
So, if you raised your hand, I give your eyes full permission to roll away. Yes, dating is fun. But it can be pretty darn stressful, too.
Now, I wouldn’t be a therapist if I didn’t gently remind you that not all stress is bad. Learning how to cope with stress in healthy ways is what life is all about, after all. Also, stress is inevitable. So trying to avoid it is probably only going to stress you out more. As they say, what we resist persists.
That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with how unpredictable dating can be, though. I know women who would give just about anything to know whether or not their crush is actually looking for something serious. I’m sure you do, too. And we’ve all had countless conversations trying to help our friends decode the mixed signals they’ve been given.
Hence, the stress. And the self-doubt. And the discontentment.
I’m sorry if you feel lonely and vulnerable and tired of being alone and ready to finally meet someone and annoyed that all your friends are getting married.
Stop Putting Off Exercise
Exercise can help you to feel less stressed in the short run and build your resilience toward stress in the long run. Many people know this but have a difficult time getting off the couch on a regular basis, especially when stressed, or too busy to get onto the couch in the first place.
It’s ironic that sometimes when we would most benefit from exercise, that’s the last thing we want to do. Push yourself to do it!
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You Try To Manage Your Stress Instead Of Your Stressors
The biggest myth we all believe about chronic stress is that you need to get better at stress management.
But stress management is actually a terrible solution to the problem of chronics stress because youre already stressed! Its like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.
Of course, some form of Band-Aid to stop the bleeding is important if you happen to get shot. But Band-Aids should not be the primary strategy we talk about for dealing with gunshot woundswe should work like hell to avoid getting shot in the first place!
See, when we make stress management our first-line strategy, we distract ourselves from really looking at the true cause of our stress, the stressor itself.
A stressor is the thing that causes a stress response.
If youre always stressed, the real solution is to fix the original cause of the stress not the feeling of stress itself.
For example, if youre constantly stressed at work, you could try and work on doing more deep breathing exercises throughout your day. And maybe your stress level will decrease a little. But no amount of deep breathing exercises will change the fact that youre still terrible at saying no to taking on too much work.
Feeling stressed at work is the messenger trying to tell you that something about how you work is deeply wrong. Over-reliance on stress management techniques is effectively shooting the messenger.
The far more important part of the equation is the stressors that are causing the stress in the first place.