How Can We Handle Stress In Healthy Ways
Stress serves an important purposeit enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, lengthy exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties or increased physical health problems. A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover.
There are several other methods you can use to relax or reduce stress, including:
Some Stress Requires Professional Help
In some cases, the lines between normal stress and serious anxiety or depression can become blurry. As such, its smart to know that some stress, particularly the kind that is ongoing, difficult to resolve, or distressing, may require the help of an expert.
This is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, seeking professional help for undue or ongoing stress can contribute to improving the quality of your life and making you a happier and healthier person.
Tip : Connect To Others
There is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood. In fact, face-to-face interaction triggers a cascade of hormones that counteracts the bodys defensive fight-or-flight response. Its natures natural stress reliever . So make it a point to connect regularlyand in personwith family and friends.
Keep in mind that the people you talk to dont have to be able to fix your stress. They simply need to be good listeners. And try not to let worries about looking weak or being a burden keep you from opening up. The people who care about you will be flattered by your trust. It will only strengthen your bond.
Of course, its not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on when you feel overwhelmed by stress, but by building and maintaining a network of close friends you can improve your resiliency to lifes stressors.
Tips for building relationships
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Tip : Practice The 4 As Of Stress Management
While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at predictable times: your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose in any given scenario, its helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself , lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
- Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
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What Are The Signs Of Stress
When you’re under stress, you may feel:
Stress also affects your body. Physical signs of stress include:
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain or loss
- Tense muscles
Stress can also lead to a weakened immune system , which could make you more likely to get sick.
Conflict And Its Consequences
Our free teaching resources look at the impact of conflict and help young people to understand the laws which help to protect people in conflict zones.
Explore conflict and its consequences with our free lesson plans, ideal for History and Citizenship teachers.
Get primary and secondary teaching ideas about:
- past and present-day conflicts, such as World War One or the conflict in Syria
- the rules of war and what constitutes a violation of International Humanitarian Law
- the humanitarian impact of conflict, and what it might be like to live in a war zone
- how people like aid workers, child soldiers and prisoners of war are affected by conflict.
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Articles On Stress Management
Stress is any change in the environment that requires your body to react and adjust in response. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses.
Stress is a normal part of life. Many events that happen to you and around you — and many things that you do yourself — put stress on your body. You can experience good or bad forms of stress from your environment, your body, and your thoughts.
Reframe Your Thinking About Stress Itself
Stress responses, including faster heart rate and breathing, evolved to improve our performance in stressful situations. Reminding yourself of stresss evolutionary value may improve your performance and paradoxically reduce feelings of stress, in that youre not adding stress about stress to the stress the original trigger aroused.
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Stress And The Concept Of Control
For me, one of the hardest facets of stress is relinquishing control. And though there is control in how I personally react and choose to respond to circumstances, theres also a feeling of helplessness a feeling that control is not completely present.
I dont have complete control over genuine and natural shifts in relationships the progression of people growing apart. New perceptions affect awareness they affect how connections are conceived.
I dont have complete control of the past, and all the baggage that comprises such chapters.
I dont have complete control over nodules in my thyroid that may or may not get bigger that may or may not require a biopsy or further treatment.
I dont have complete control over a competitive job market or a profession that may not lend itself to a stable, sufficient income.
From an evolutionary standpoint, the desire for a sense of control is a profound psychological need.
If we are in control of our environment, then we have a far better chance of survival, an article on changingminds.org stated. Our deep subconscious mind thus gives us strong biochemical prods when we face some kind of danger .
Interesting. Though life is renowned for unpredictability, individuals crave a sense of control. Some factors, though, are simply uncontrollable.
Psychologists have studied this human need for decades, referring to the concept as locus of control .
Help Is Available For Stress
Stress is a part of life. What matters most is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your stress symptoms.
If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your doctor. Many symptoms of stress can also be signs of other health problems. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and rule out other conditions. If stress is to blame, your doctor can recommend a therapist or counselor to help you better handle your stress.
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Best Ways To Manage Stress
Meditation can trigger the antidote to stress, called the relaxation response.
Goal setting and relaxation techniques reduce stress and ease the physical and emotional burdenit can take.
Stressful experiences come in many forms, such as a demanding job, a chronic disease, or an argument with a loved one. But all types of stressorseven stress from positive experiences,such as planning a partycan result in the same physical and emotional burden on health, especially when you’re an older adult. “As we age, our immune systems are less efficient, and adding stress to that can lead to disease progression or the onset of disease,” says Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.
Develop A Positive Self
The way you talk to yourself matters. Harsh self-criticism, self-doubt, and catastrophic predictions aren’t helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this,” you’ll stress yourself out.
It’s important to learn to talk to yourself in a more realistic, compassionate manner. When you call yourself names or doubt your ability to succeed, reply with a kinder inner dialogue.
Positive self-talk can help you develop a healthier outlook. And an optimistic and compassionate conversation can help you manage your emotions and take positive action.
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Accept You Cannot Change Everything
Some things are unavoidable like illness or death. Do not let it be a reason for your stress. Accept that you cannot change everything if you are looking for ways to control stress. Acceptance is the only way to manage and control it so that you can find inner peace.
Remember to look for upside in every situation and you will find that it is easier to let go of negative emotions than rallying against the forces of nature. Sometimes we make mistakes unknowingly and it can cause repercussions.
Let go of the anger and resentment. When a person learns to forgive he opens himself and accepts that mistakes will occur. Free yourself from negative energy and move on.
Talk About Your Problems
If things are bothering you, talking about them can help lower your stress. You can talk to family members, friends, a trusted clergyman, your doctor, or a therapist.
And you can also talk to yourself. Itâs called self-talk and we all do it. But in order for self-talk to help reduce stress you need to make sure itâs positive and not negative.
So listen closely to what youâre thinking or saying when youâre stressed out. If youâre giving yourself a negative message, change it to a positive one. For example, donât tell yourself âI canât do this.â Tell yourself instead: âI can do this,â or âIâm doing the best I can.â
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How To Set Yourself Up To Deal With Stress
Regular self-care practices and behavior modifications can help keep stress from overwhelming you and scale your stress response in proportion to the stressor.
Its important to understand that when it comes to stress and its impact on health, you may want to think about trying longer-term strategies and changes in lifestyle, says Michelle Dossett, MD, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant physician and clinical researcher at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
A healthy lifestyle eating well, getting high-quality sleep, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly can buffer you against the wear and tear of stress, says Holly Schiff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with Jewish Family Services of Greenwich in Greenwich, Connecticut. These steps don’t eliminate the challenge. But they will ensure your strongest, calmest, most rational self shows up to meet whatever obstacle youre facing.
BMC Medical EducationFrontiers in Physiology
As far as exercise goes, just make sure its something you enjoy. Exercise doesnt have to be intense, and you dont have to join a gym, Dr. Haythe says. I tell my patients to buy a pair of sneakers and start walking for 15 to 20 minutes a day.
How Can I Manage My Stress
Stress is a part of our modern, fast-paced society. Although challenging, unfortunately no one is immune to it. While you do not have ownership over every element of stress, there are some important aspects we can easily take charge of.
1) Identify the sources of your stress and make strong choices
Stress originates from two main causes either external or internal sources.
External sources are the elements in your life you cannot prevent or change, such as the bus breaking down on your way to school. The fact these types of stressors exist in our day may be out of your individual control, you do have power over how you might respond to them, or how you let them affect you.
Try to view situations of external stress from a more positive perspective. You could fret about being late for school, or you could look at it as an opportunity to read more school material, listen to your favourite music/podcast, etc.
Internal sources on the other hand, are the choices or the decisions you make that may lead to more stress in the long run. Common sources of internal stress include procrastination, poor time management, being unprepared, setting impossible standards, or being disorganized.
Thankfully, these examples are all personal choices and therefore, we can have total control over this type of stress. The good news is, you can easily eliminate your own internal causes of stress, simply by identify them and making choices that are the most beneficial to you.
2) Problem solve
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Stress Can Be A Good Thing
While stress is often associated with negative feelings or emotions, it bears mentioning that stress can be a good thing. In some cases, stress related to things like a job or financial security can inspire people to work harder or perform better.
This, in turn, can improve the quality of a persons life and create positive change. Beyond that, some people just cope with stress differently, turning what could be a negative experience for some into a positive experience or a learning opportunity.
Recognising Your Stress Triggers
If you’re not sure what’s causing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stressful episodes for two-to-four weeks. Then review it to spot the triggers.
Things you might want to write down include:
- the date, time and place of a stressful episode
- what you were doing
- a stress rating
You can use the diary to:
- work out what triggers your stress
- work out how you operate under pressure
- develop better coping mechanisms
Doctors sometimes recommend keeping a stress diary to help them diagnose stress.
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Different Stress Management Techniques & Strategies
These tips are thing we can all benefit from doing more of. The techniques are categorized into three groups:
Explore the below options and find what combination works best for keeping your stress levels under control.
Action-oriented approaches allow you to take action and change the stressful situation.
As Nelson & Hurrell said:
Stress is inevitable, distress is not
1. Be assertive
Clear and effective communication is the key to being assertive. When were assertive, we can ask for what we want or need, and also explain what is bothering us. The key is doing this in a fair and firm manner while still having empathy for others. Once you identify what you need to communicate, you can stand up for yourself and be proactive in altering the stressful situation.
You can read more about how to be assertive here.
2. Reduce the noise
Switching off all the technology, screen time, and constant stimuli can help us slow down. How often do you go offline? It is worth changing, for your own sake.
3. Manage your time
If we let them, our days will consume us. Before we know it, the months have become overwhelmingly busy. When we prioritize and organize our tasks, we create a less stressful and more enjoyable life.