How Do I Shut My Brain Off After Work
When you get off work, you should relax, unwind, and get some sleep. However, it can sometimes feel hard. You may have endless rumination about the workday, with you spending time worrying about tomorrow. And the thoughts arent helpful, either, with you ending up thinking about the same things over and over.
Here are some ways to train your brain to shut off.
- Spend your time unwinding with a hobby you find relaxing. Whether its reading a book or watching a show, it can help you unwind.
- A healthy body can lead to a relaxed mind. Exercising, eating healthy, and having adequate nutrition can make you feel the unwind.
- Practice stress relievers like meditation to calm you down.
- Write down all your worries you spend time ruminating on. Change your thoughts into words on a paper, and it can help you let them go.
- Have an herbal tea or take a bath.
- If you cant sleep, get up and do something to make you feel calm. Then, try to go to bed. You could spend that extra energy into more productive actions, like writing, but make sure you do something that makes you tired.
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.
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You’re Having Trouble Learning Something New
We’ve all been there. We’re trying to learn something new, and we just can’t seem to concentrate. Whether it’s from the pressure to perform or some other kind of outside stressor, there’s a very real and very biological reason that stress might seem to interfere with your ability to learn and remember.
Researchers from the UC Irvine School of Medicine looked at exactly what goes on in the brain during times of short-term stress . They found that acute stress releases a molecule called corticotropin, which interferes with the process of learning. Learning happens in a part of the brain called the synapses, and when corticotropin is released it interferes with the synapses’ ability to communicate and collect memories: i.e., learning. The stress molecule actually destroys the structures responsible for allowing us to learn new things, and the structures only re-grow when the stress hormone is removed.
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When You’re Suffering From Chronic Stress
While some stress is good, if you’re suffering from these symptoms it may indicate the stress in your life is becoming a problem that’s interfering with your ability to function. If that’s the case, what do you do?
The American Psychological Association says that some things that can help include setting limits on what demands you’re placing on yourself, sharing your feelings with close friends or family members, and reminding yourself to try to keep a positive outlook wherever possible. They also suggest making a commitment to a single activity that will improve your overall health, like taking a short walk on your lunch break or cutting out that second cup of coffee in the morning. They also suggest trying some relaxation techniques to help you get a better night’s sleep, and also say that if stress is interfering with your daily life, psychologists can give you any number of techniques to help it all become more manageable.
Why Do I Worry About Things I Can’t Control
Worrying about things, even what we can’t control, is natural. It may come from an evolutionary leftover, where people were always worried about an enemy attacking or the weather making it hard to get water. Another reason is that we dont like to feel powerless. We would like to believe you can change the world, change peoples minds, or even change the weather, but we cant.
For example, you may believe that you can change someone’s ways when they are set in what they believe. Even your family may not listen. For example, a parent can give their child advice, but it may be the child’s choice in the end, especially if they’re an adult.
In the end, when it comes to people’s choices, share your opinion, but realize that the opinion might not matter much.
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How To Handle Stress In The Moment
You hear a lot of advice about how to reduce stress at work. But most of it is about what to do over the long term take up yoga, eat a healthy diet, keep a journal, or get more sleep. But what do you do when youre overcome with stress in the moment at your desk, say, or in a meeting? Perhaps youve heard bad news from a client or were assigned yet another project. How can you regain control?
What the ExpertsSayEighty percent of Americans are stressed at work, according to a recent study by Nielsen for Everest College. Low pay, unreasonable workloads, and hectic commutes were the top sources of tension, followed closely by obnoxious coworkers. What exacerbates the problem is that people walk into work already laden with stress, says Maria Gonzalez, the founder and president of Argonauta Strategic Alliances Consulting and the author of Mindful Leadership. If there is a hardship at home, you bring that to the office and it gets layered with your professional stress and if youre not careful it can spiral out of control. How well you react to and manage daily stressors impacts your relationships with other people, with yourself, and how others perceive you, she says. Justin Menkes, a consultant at Spencer Stuart and the author of Better Under Pressure says its critical to get a handle on your reaction to the stressful things that happen to you in the moment. Here are some techniques to do just that.
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Ways To Cope With Chronic Stress
“Its key to recognize stressful situations as they occur because it allows you to focus on managing how you react,” Dr. Stoll says. “We all need to know when to close our eyes and take a deep breath when we feel tension rising.”
Use these tips to prevent or reduce chronic stress.
1. Re-balance Work and Home
All work and no play? If youre spending too much time at the office, intentionally put more dates in your calendar to enjoy time for fun, either alone or with others.
2. Build in Regular Exercise
Moving your body on a regular basis balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. Even a daily 20-minute walk makes a difference.
3. Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants
Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may temporarily relieve stress but have negative health impacts and can make stress worse in the long run. Well-nourished bodies cope better, so start with a good breakfast, add more organic fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods and sugar, and drink more water.
4. Connect with Supportive People
Talking face to face with another person releases hormones that reduce stress. Lean on those good listeners in your life.
5. Carve out Hobby Time
Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.
6. Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga
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How Do You Not Worry About Things
When someone tells you to stop worrying about things, its easier said than done. There are a lot of things in life to worry about, after all. Your brains likes to micromanage, refuse to delegate, and stay on thoughts for far too long. A little bit of worrying is good, but you usually let worrying take a minute of your life, and then soon its taking over. Peoples worries keep them occupied in a self-destructive cycle that is hard to break.
Heres how you can stop worrying so much.
- First, think about the things you can change in life versus what you cannot change. What you cannot change in life should be ignored.
- For the things in life you can change, start making a plan to improve. For example, if you have a business and youre worried about sending the business to fail, spend time thinking of improvements. Delegate tasks related to your business in a more efficient manner.
- Learn to differentiate between ruminating and problem solving. Mentally strong people do not ruminate about their problems over and over, but look for solutions.
- Calm yourself. Take a walk outside, practice meditative breathing, and get plenty of rest.
- Avoid using drugs and alcohol as a way of masking your emotions.
- Develop healthy affirmations that replace your worries. In other words, look at what you do right and keep thinking about it. Say to yourself, Today, I remind myself that Im eating right, or something to the effect. This thought especially works if you have eating disorders.
Make Time For Fun And Relaxation
It is important to include time for fun and relaxation in your schedule. These are important for helping you to feel good generally, and that in turn reduces stress, and keeps you healthy. Looking forward to doing things that you enjoy, and that give you pleasure, helps when you have to cope with less pleasant aspects of life. Whats more, laughter has huge positive benefits for both mental and physical health.
If you are working hard, and are conscientious, however, it can feel wrong to take time out to relax and have fun.
It is therefore important to remember that you and your health are important. You should not ignore your physical or mental health in favour of more urgent activities.
If you consciously put relaxing or fun activities into your diary, and think of this as a way to keep yourself healthy and able to work, you are likely to feel much more positive. This, in turn, will mean that you feel less guilty, and therefore stressed, about doing it.
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You Have More Bad Dreams Than Good
The idea that bad dreams and persistent nightmares are a sign of stress in your waking life might sound a bit cliche, but it’s absolutely true. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, only between two and eight percent of adults have nightmares, and it’s been found that most of these nightmares are, in one way or another, an extension of the thoughts that occupy your waking hours.
At one time, it was thought that experiencing traumatic events in nightmares served as something of an emotional release for your brain. According to studies cited by Scientific American, that might not be the case at all. They found that people who experienced regular nightmares were more likely to suffer from anxiety while they were awake, and when researchers tried to use exposure to disturbing images to encourage study volunteers to have nightmares, they found those who had bad dreams were more impacted by things like stress and anxiety in their waking moments.
Ways To Manage Stress
Because reacting in the moment can often create more stress, its important to pause and take a minute to engage in gentle self care and take the space you need to gain better understanding and perspective before taking action. Taking the space and time you need to understand what is happening makes it more likely that you will find healthy solutions and also helps you understand yourself and your patterns better both of which will help the next time! So while the following list includes some effective techniques, its important to find those that work best for you and your unique situation. And of course, if you find that your stress levels are accelerating or out of control, we recommend you get help immediately.
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Effects Of Too Much Stress
“If constantly under stress, most of us will eventually start to function less well,” says Malaika Stoll, M.D., chief medical officer of SutterSelect. Multiple studies link chronic stress to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss and even premature death, so “it’s important to recognize the warning signals,” she says.
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress if youre experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Prolonged periods of poor sleep
- Regular, severe headaches
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Feelings of isolation, withdrawal or worthlessness
- Constant anger and irritability
- Loss of interest in activities
- Constant worrying or obsessive thinking
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Inability to concentrate
Stay Away From Conflict
Interpersonal conflict takes a toll on your physical and emotional health. Conflict among co-workers can be difficult to escape, so its a good idea to avoid conflict at work as much as you can.
Dont gossip, dont share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics, and steer clear of “colorful” office humor.
When possible, try to avoid people who dont work well with others. If conflict finds you anyway, make sure you know how to handle it appropriately.
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How Do I Accept Reality And Move On
It can be hard to accept reality. Reality can be unpredictable and beyond your control. People who don’t accept this truth become control freaks, which can make life worse. Here are some ways to accept reality.
- Take an objective look at the world around you. Put all your emotions to the side.
- Have a realistic view of the situation.
- Can you control this reality? If so, great. If not, realize that there are sometimes no ways to stop bad things from happening.
- Learn to manage your stress about reality. When you manage your stress, you can accept it.
- Focus on your influence on reality. If you can influence it, try to find ways for you to do so.
- Notice how you cope with reality. If you cope in a healthy manner, good. If not, find ways for you to cope healthily. For example, you can share your opinion about reality, but realize it’s just that, an opinion.
What Is Overthinking Disorder
Overthinking is not a disorder, but instead tends to be a part of anxiety disorder. People who overthink may pick through their worrying thoughts with a fine-toothed comb, using all they can to worry and over-analyze their thoughts. While critically thinking about your life is important, overthinking tends to involve making a mountain out of a molehill, and it’s important to learn ways to stop worrying and overthinking if you want to have peace of mind.
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How Do I Let My Thoughts Come And Go
No matter how hard you try, you are going to have thoughts that enter your mind and seemingly refuse to leave. How can you let them come and go? It can take some time to combat self-doubt, catastrophic predictions, and other problematic thoughts when your brain seems to refuse to delegate tasks that are helpful and instead focuses on the bad. However, there are some ways.
- When they come, distract yourself. Whether its looking at your phone, taking a few deep breaths, exercising, immediately find a way to distract yourself and make it a habit.
- Usually, these thoughts are worries. Are they valid worries? If so, think of ways to control them. Some people become control freaks of their own mind, separating the helpful from the unhelpful, and thats a good thing.
- Substitute that thought for something better. Even if it comes back, keep substituting.
- Seek help from a therapist. When people have positive things happening, but they worry constantly, they may have other mental health problems they are unaware of. Seeking help from a therapist may be your best bet to stop those thoughts.
What Can We Control
It’s important that you focus on what you can control. Without getting too deep about freewill and whatnot, here are a few things that you’re able to control.
- Your mindset. While there are some aspects of your personality you cannot change, you can train your brain to be more mindful, empathetic, and open to new ideas.
- To an extent, your health. You can choose to eat right and exercise. Certain life circumstances can make this easier or harder, but for the most part, it can be done in the end.
- Your skills. You can learn new skills for a job and go on a journey to the career of your dreams.
- Your thoughts. Using mindfulness or cognitive behavioral therapy, you can learn how to acknowledge that your thoughts are there and not let them control your life.
- Who you choose to associate with. While you can’t control your family, you can control your friends and who you decide to talk to.
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Are There Herbs Or Supplements To Reduce Cortisol
The supplement aisle at the natural foods store is hardly a one-way ticket to a stress-free life. But some items may help keep cortisol levels in a healthy range, Dr. Lin says. Research suggests these herbs and natural supplements might lower stress, anxiety and/or cortisol levels:
While some herbs might help lower cortisol levels naturally, you dont want to swallow everything in sight, Dr. Lin says. Teas like lemon balm and chamomile are quite safe. But if youre thinking about trying herbs in supplement form, talk to a trained provider first.