Write About Your Stress
Writing about your stress and how you feel is therapeutic. And it helps you to organize your thoughts and how theyre affecting you so that you can better understand whats going on inside your mind.
Moreover, your increased awareness will help you to identify the most effective, healthy solutions.
To de-stress using this method, start by setting a timer for at least 5 minutes . Get a journal or piece of paper out and begin writing.
Write about whats going on, your feelings and the beliefs you have around your situation. Get curious about how you could be exacerbating your stress. Ask what you want to do about the situation and write about that.
Once your timer goes off, make a choice to let go.
Trigger A Pressure Point
There’s a spot between the tendonsabout two or three finger-widths above the center of your inner wristcalled the pericardium 6 that is essentially like a stress-release button. According to Nada Milosavljevic, MD, medical director of BodyLogicMD, applying pressure to this point has been used to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting and has a therapeutic effect on those dealing with chronic stress and anxiety.
Eat A Nutritious Diet
Nutrition can influence cortisol for better or for worse.
While all foods can be enjoyed in moderation, being mindful of the foods you eat may alleviate symptoms of stress and help you better manage your cortisol levels.
Regular high added-sugar intake may result in elevated cortisol levels. Interestingly, a high sugar diet may also suppress cortisol release during stressful events, making it more difficult for your body to handle stressful situations (
For better gut and mental health, opt for a nutrient-dense diet full of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and foods high in prebiotics and probiotics.
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Procrastination And Emotional Regulation
Research suggests that procrastination often relates to your mood and emotional mindset.
In other words, procrastination doesnt happen because youre lazy and unproductive or dont know how to do something . It happens because you dread the emotional distress you foresee.
Maybe you already experienced this irritation and frustration firsthand and dont want a repeat. But you could also have some preconceived ideas about how awful and difficult that chore or assignment will turn out to be.
Either way, you set the task aside, promising yourself to handle it later when you feel better able to manage those feelings.
Sometimes, its easy to see where the distress comes from:
- You put off a quick phone call to schedule your dental check-up, because youre certain you have a cavity or two and feel anxious about facing an afternoon of drilling.
- You avoid calling your sister after an argument, because you know you need to admit you were wrong and apologize.
You might have a harder time pinning down other sources of emotional distress, especially when they relate to ongoing or deeper-seated sources of emotional turmoil.
Healthy Ways To Handle Lifes Stressors
When stress becomes unmanageable, try these evidence-based tools to tackle it in healthy ways.
Healthy ways to handle lifes stressors.
Stressful experiences are a normal part of life, and the is a survival mechanism that primes us to respond to threats. Some stress is positive: Imagine standing in front of a crowd to give a speech and hitting it out of the park. Stressful? Certainly. But also challenging and satisfying.
But when a stressor is negative and cant be fought off or avoided such as layoffs at work or a loved ones medical crisis or when the experience of stress becomes , our biological responses to stress can impair our physical and mental health.
Fortunately, there are many evidence-based tools to help combat the negative effects of stress in healthy ways. They recommend that you:
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Exercise But Not Too Much
Depending on the intensity of exercise, it can increase or decrease cortisol.
Intense exercise increases cortisol shortly afterward but will decrease a few hours later. This short-term increase helps coordinate growth of the body to meet the challenge. Additionally, the size of the cortisol response lessens with routine training .
Regular exercise has been shown in numerous studies to help improve sleep quality, reduce stress, and improve overall health, which can help lower cortisol over time .
Interestingly, regular exercise has also been associated with greater resilience to acute stress and may lower negative health effects associated with stress, such as high cortisol .
That said, overdoing it can have the opposite effect. Therefore, aim for around 150200 minutes of mostly low- to moderate-intensity exercise each week and allow yourself time to rest between workouts.
Exercising regularly can help you better manage stress and promote good health, which may help lower cortisol levels. That said, avoid overdoing it and aim for around 150200 minutes of low- to moderate- intensity exercise each week.
Bonus: Kick Your Bad Habits
Managing stress at work is partially about your mindset. Your outlook can have a huge impact on your ability to cope with everyday stressors. Keep them in check so they dont become major sources of negative stress. Here are a few tips to change your mindset by break the bad habits that are holding you back:
- Stay positive.
- One way to do this is to express gratitude. Its surprising how much different your outlook is when you make a point to recognize the people and things in your life that youre lucky to have.
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Talk Yourself Through It
Sometimes calling a friend is not an option. If this is the case, talking calmly to yourself can be the next best thing.
Dont worry about seeming crazy just tell yourself why youre stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be okay.
Go On A Cleaning Binge
Giving the inside of your pantry a good wipe-down or really getting into the sofa cushions with a vacuum attachment has multiple stress reducing benefits on top of fewer visits from icky vermin: its a project that requires a little planning, but some physical activityboth of which Kissen says can reduce stressand is likely to result in a sense of achievement that lifts your mood. And working mindfully at it can reduce stress even more: one study found that folks who were told to stay gently focused on what they were doing while washing dishes boosted their effect
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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.
Tips To Manage Stressful Situations
It might surprise you to learn that biological stress is a fairly recent discovery. It wasnt until the late 1950s that endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented stress.
Symptoms of stress existed long before Selye, but his discoveries led to new research that has helped millions cope with stress. Weve compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.
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Stress Relief Techniques To The Rescue
Activities that switch on the bodys natural relaxation response feel great, Buenaver says. And they have been proven by research to improve sleep. They help by reducing the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and by slowing your heart rate and breathing. Your body and mind calm down.
Yoga, tai chi and meditation are helpful stress relief techniques. So are these two simple exercises that Buenaver recommends to patients who are struggling with sleepless nights.
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. It may help to close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly in and out for about five minutes. As you inhale, breathe down into your belly. Focus on your breath.
- If youd like, repeat to yourself, Breathing in I am calm, breathing out I am coping.
Progressive muscle relaxation:
- In a quiet place, sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Take a few gentle breaths, in and out.
- Begin tensing groups of muscles one at a time as you breathe. Hold the tension as you inhale, then release it as you exhale. Take a few breaths as you notice how relaxed each muscle group feels.
- Start with the muscles in your head, neck and face. Move down to your shoulders, hands and arms, back, stomach, buttocks, thighs, calves and feet.
- Repeat for any areas that are still tense.
As you go through this exercise, feel the presence and absence of tension so you can spot lingering tension and do something about it, Buenaver says.
Embrace Your Inner Child And Play
When was the last time you colored, played hide and seek, or watched cartoons? Dr. Saltz believed that embracing playtime as an adultespecially if you have your kids around to play withcan be amazing for decreasing stress. However, determining what that is is entirely up to you and your childhood. Don’t be afraid to get silly and embrace whatever uniqueness comes to mind.
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Learn To Recognize Stressful Thinking
Paying attention to stressful thoughts may help you reduce them.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a strategy that involves becoming more self-aware of stress-provoking thoughts, accepting them without judgment or resistance, and allowing yourself the ability to process them .
Training yourself to be aware of your thoughts, breathing, heart rate, and other signs of tension helps you recognize stress when it begins .
Recognizing stressful thoughts allows you to formulate a conscious and deliberate reaction to them. For example, a study involving 43 women in a mindfulness-based program showed the ability to describe and articulate stress was linked to a lower cortisol response (
Tending to your own happiness can help keep cortisol down. If youre feeling stressed, try listening to music or making yourself laugh.
Habit Forming Stress Relievers
There are plenty of ways to quickly lower your anxiety, but most dont necessarily provide long-term contentment. To achieve that, you need to go all in on techniques that require patience and take time to develop. Living as stress-free a life as possible means playing the long game embracing creativity and new positive habits, and adjusting them along the way.
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Do Something To Make Yourself Laugh
Think back to the last time you laughedand I mean laughed . You probably felt way less stressed in that moment, right?
There’s a reason: People often hold a lot of their stress in their face, and laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension, according to the APA.
That’s why Chapman says scheduling time to interact with family on FaceTime or playing with friends on the Nintendo Switch should be a regular activity. Talking to and laughing with family and friends will get rid of those not-so-positive thoughts that can come with feeling isolated and stressed.
Stress Management Isnt Just About Stress Relief
Heres the thing: learning how to reduce stress wont help all that much if you cant keep stress levels low for the long-haul.
Stress has a ripple effect . The key to effective stress management is to help reduce much of this ripple effect. That will ultimately help you to remain calm, think rationally and respond appropriately so that you can more quickly bounce back instead of allowing stress to take control of you and emotionally react.
And thats what control is really all about. Controlling your thoughts and emotions. You cant be in control of your life if you dont first learn to manage your stress levels.
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Get In Some Light Exercise
Dr. Saltz recommended doing any form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes, three or four times a week, which is great for stress, anxiety, and improving your mood. Some examples of heart rate-boosting activities include a light jog, dance cardio, or sex. Dr. Saltz encouraged you to find an activity that you find the most fun and stick with it. If possible, squeeze it in before work, during your lunch break, or even make exercise a family activity after work by taking a walk.
Spend Time With Your Pet
Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood.
When you cuddle or touch your pet, your body releases oxytocin a hormone thats linked to positive mood .
Plus, studies show that pet owners especially those who have dogs tend to have greater life satisfaction, better self-esteem, reduced levels of loneliness and anxiety, and more positive moods .
Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active, and providing companionship.
Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, being chronically stressed takes a toll on your physical and mental health.
Fortunately, several evidence-based strategies can help you reduce stress and improve your overall psychological well-being.
Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often are all effective methods.
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What To Do If You Have Trouble Sleeping
Sleep is often sacrificed when youre overwhelmed with stress. You may experience insomnia because of discomfort, stress from personal concerns, or side effects from your medications. If you cant sleep, try these tips:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule: go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Make sure your bed and surroundings are comfortable. Arrange the pillows so you can maintain a comfortable position.
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
Stop Thinking All Those Negative Ruminating Thoughts
This is easier said than done, but it really can help with your stress levels, according to the AHA. Its necessary to cease ruminating thoughts so you dont make your stress worse, Carmichael says. Try looking for an action-based way to move forward from this line of thinking.
On the flip side, there’s actually a healthy purpose to the awareness you experience via rumination, Carmichael says. Those negative thoughts are there to tell you something is wrong or upsetting you, and that its time to take action. Either on your own or while talking with a friend, consider what you can do about this negative emotion, or if you can exercise any control over the situation, Carmichael says. This can take you out of your mind and back into the present and lower your overall stress since youre, you know, actually trying to fix the situation in whatever way you can.
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Take Time For Some Self
ICYMI, having an orgasm is a super helpful way to relieve stress, Carmichael says. Orgasm and intense pleasure can release dopamine in the body, she explains. This kind of positive experiencealone or with a partnercan make you feel a sense of security and decreased isolation, Carmichael says, which can instantly make stress better.
Whats Causing So Much Stress
Lets face it: work demands are getting worse. Youre expected to do more and work harder with even tighter deadlines.
And if youre anything like my ambitious clients, you set high standards for yourself .
Additionally, your life is jam-packed with personal obligations that constantly pull at you. This always-on-the-go lifestyle leaves little time for personal renewal.
So, how can you juggle it all yet stay positive and relatively stress-free? What you need are simple, effective strategies that work quickly to naturally reduce stress, get you back on track and keep stress levels low.
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Facts + Tips About Anxiety To Bring Your Stress Levels Down
If a busy work life, money pressures and relationships sometimes leave you feeling stressed and anxious, you’re not alone.
Dr. Paul J. Rosch, the current Chairman of the Board of The American Institute of Stress has explained, ‘women are twice as likely to experience major depression than men. They are also up to three times more apt to suffer from anxiety disorders.’
So, take a look at these stats and facts to help you build a coping strategy for your day.