How To Monitor And Reduce Your Stress Levels
In this blog I will be discussing how to monitor and reduce your stress levels by using your heart rate, some simple berthing exercises and some other tricks. You can very simply improve you overall internal health, especially that of your nervous system and your immune system by increasing your heart rate variability . This can be most easily done if you can learn to inhale for 6 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds .
The heart appears to work in a 12 second cycle when you are resting or doing simple tasks. You can synchronise your breathing to your heart rate by inhaling for 6 seconds as your heart rate increases, and your exhale for 6 seconds as your heart rate decreases.
Figure 1: Heart rate variability in an adult with controlled slow breathing: horizontal axis is time, vertical axis is heart rate, ascending lines correspond to slow controlled inhalation, descending lines correspond to slow controlled exhalation by Simon Borg-Olivier
This photo shows a graph of my heart rate variability over 5 smooth breaths in a simple seated posture. Notice how on inhalation my heart rate goes up to as high as 72 beats per minute. Then when I exhale my heart rate goes down to as low as 42 beats per minute. Increased HRV is one the best indicators of internal health. Good yoga can easily teach this. For adults HRV is generally very poor without something like good yoga in your life.
I took these photos using the App called Stress Doctor. More about this App and HRV below
Buy Yourself Time And Space
Allowing your brain time to adjust and “come down” from stressful activities helps your system to regulate in a healthy way. If you’ve been jumping from virtual meeting to lunch prep and immediately into a stressful family phone call, remember to add a little space. Pause before answering your phone, give yourself a five-minute breather between work and family time, set an alarm to remind you to stretch a few times a day, and find ways to delegate some tasks. Each little bit helps.
What Does This Tool Help You Learn
Although everyone responds differently, major life changes are some of the biggest causes of stress, both positive and negative. This interactive tool gauges your stress level based on the number of life changes you have had recently. Your score shows a rough estimate of your current stress level and the likelihood that you will have health problems due to stress in the next 12 to 18 months.
Check all of the events that have occurred in the past 6 months to find out your stress score.
Adapted with permission from: Miller MA, Rahe RH . Life changes scaling for the 1990s. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 43: 279292.
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A Blood Test Will Tell You How Stressed You Are
Can you determine the level of stress in your mind? Yes, a blood test can tell the level of stress you have. Read to know more.
Measuring stress levels is something we havent thought of before. All of us get stressed at some point of time. But if your stress levels are constant and doesnt seem to go away, you can know the magnitude of your stress with a simple blood test. Well, it is done by measuring the level of stress hormone Cortisol in the body. Its value would tell how stressed you are. This hormone is produced by the adrenal glands when your body detects any threat or your mind is stressed. In such a situation, the brain releases ACTH or adrenocorticotropic hormone which triggers the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol.
Set Goals For Improvement
Use your stress diary to set goals on how to better handle your stress. The best goals are SMART specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Include an action plan to achieve your goals. For example, make a list of stress management techniques that work for you. Your stress tracker app should also provide tips for stress relief.
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Who Is This Stress Quiz For
Answer the quiz questions below to see if you or a loved one may be suffering from too much stress.
The questions below relate to life experiences common among people who are enduring a significant amounts of stress. Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
What Does Your Score Mean
After you use this interactive tool, you will be better able to see how much stress life changes are causing you. Your score will appear as one of the following:
- You have low stress.
- You have moderate stress.
- You have high stress.
If you have a moderate or high stress level, you are more likely to develop a stress-related illness in the near future.
As with all screening tools, the results of this tool are only an estimate. The way you deal with stress depends on several things. These include your ability to cope with change , how significant life events are to you, and how much support you get from family and friends. There may also be events that cause you stress that are not included in this tool.
Your results can give you a rough measurement of your stress level due to life changes. If you have moderate or high amounts of stress in your life, consider what you can do to avoid adding more stress to your life and what you can do to cope with current stress.
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Lack Of Sleep
Measuring Heart Rate Variability
In the past, fitness trackers measured only average heartbeats per minute. While its true your average beats per minute will skyrocket under stress, heart rate variability is a more accurate indicator of stress. HRV is the variation in the length of time between each heartbeat.
A higher variability means youre calm and under less stress, while a low variability between beats means youre experiencing more stress. The same rule applies to heartbeats from a health standpoint. A high HRV means youre in good shape, while a low HRV means youre either out of shape, fatigued or dehydrated.
Stress Test To Determine Stress Level Evaluation
Are you under too much pressure? Are you super cool or totally stressed out? Take this simple stress test to identify your stress level. Answer the questions given below and click the ‘Calculate Stress Score’ button.
In the current social and economic setup, stress is inevitable. However, you can control and manage stress by dealing with it effectively. Do not let stress and strain push you out of control and sabotage your personal, social and family life.
Rate your stress level by answering these questions and find your stress score. A sound mind will help you live longer and stay away from diseases. This test will let you know where you stand when it comes to dealing with stress and tips to stress relief.
Also Check: Can Depression Be Triggered By Stress
Measure Your Stress On Your Smart Watch
If your phone does not have a heart rate sensor, you can measure your stress using your Galaxy watch instead.
On your watch, navigate to and open the Samsung Health app, and then swipe to and tap the Stress tracker.
When youre ready, tap Measure. You may need to agree to the information and grant permissions first.
Make sure you’re wearing the watch and that its snug on your wrist. Otherwise, the measurement may not work. Stay quiet and still while the watch measures your stress level.
Afterwards, your status will be displayed. To view the information on your connected phone, swipe up and tap Show on phone.
You can also set your watch to measure your stress level continuously. To do so, navigate back to Samsung Health, and then swipe to and tap Settings. Tap Stress, and then tap Measure continuously. Please keep in mind that this may reduce battery life over time.
You can also practice breathing exercises with the Stress tracker on your watch. After measuring your stress level, swipe to Breathe and use the plus and minus icons to change your preferred cycles if needed. Then, tap Start. You can tap Stop to halt the cycles.
Test Your Stress Level
The questions on this test will be customized for you based on your current situation so that you can feel less stressed out after you complete the test.
So if you feel like you’re about to explode, take this test and see if it helps you calm down.
- Optimized support for mobile devices
- All the images on this test are SVG vector images, compatible with all smartphones and pads.
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Measure Your Stress Level With Samsung Health
With the Samsung Health app and a supported phone or smart watch, you can measure your stress levels by checking your heart rate and some other factors. If you’re feeling stressed, use the guided deep breathing function to help you relax.
Note: To use this feature, your phone or smart watch must have a heart rate sensor. This sensor is not available on all phones, but you can connect a wearable device with a heart rate sensor to measure your stress. This feature may also not be available on iOS devices.
Does Acute Stress Disorder Go Away
Acute stress disorder is a short-term condition and symptoms usually go away over time. Consult with your doctor about the most effective form of treatment for ASD. Treatment may include a psychiatric evaluation, therapy, and medications. Many people with ASD are later diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder .
Read Also: Why Do I Have Stress Incontinence
When To Seek Treatment
Getting help if you’re feeling overwhelmed is never a bad plan. I’ve had many clients admit they were nervous to make an appointment because they didn’t think their symptoms were “bad” enough. Don’t worry, in therapy, there’s rarely such a thing.
If you’re still on the fence, take a look at how your stress is affecting your everyday life. If you’ve tried some management techniques and you’re still having trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, constant worry, or any of the signs listed above, please reach out to a health care provider. Using the “Find a Therapist” tool on Psychology Today is a great place to start to locate counselors in your area. And of course, get immediate help if you’re having any thoughts of self-harm. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is there to help at 1-800-273-8255. No one needs to go through it alone. You have full control over the process but the benefit of additional support with managing what is likely a very heavy load.
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When To Get Help
If youâre struggling with stress and donât know how to cope, you may want to seek help from a specialist. Your primary care doctor can be a good starting point. They can help you figure out if the signs and symptoms youâre experiencing are from a medical issue or an anxiety disorder.
They can also refer you to a mental health expert and provide you with additional resources and tools.
Some of the signs itâs time to get help:
- Your work or school performance is suffering
- Youâre using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco to deal with your stress
- Your eating or sleeping habits change significantly
- Youâre behaving in ways that are dangerous to yourself, including self-mutilation
- You have irrational fears and anxiety
- You have trouble getting through your daily responsibilities
- Youâre withdrawing from friends and family
- You think about suicide or hurting other people
If your stress has gotten to the point that youâre thinking of hurting yourself or someone else, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911. You can also call one of the free suicide prevention helplines, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You donât need to give your name.
Also Check: How To Cope With Caregiver Stress
How Much Stress Level Is Normal
There is no normal level of stress. Everybody has a unique stress tolerance and handles stress differently. Its important to understand your stress level and seek help when you may be physically affected by stress. You can learn more about the impact of unhealthy stress levels in Psych Centrals article Can You Die From Stress?
Mental And Emotional Signs
Stress can also affect how you think and feel, making it tough to get through your normal responsibilities and make rational decisions. In some cases, this kind of stress can impact behavior in other ways, and some people turn to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or other harmful substances to cope with their feelings.
Excessive stress may also affect your appetite, causing you to eat more or less than usual, and it may affect or eliminate your motivation to exercise and stay fit. Additionally, the feelings you get when youâre stressed may make you feel like withdrawing from friends and family and isolating yourself.
Some of the psychological and emotional signs that youâre stressed out include:
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Racing thoughts or constant worry
- Problems with your memory or concentration
- Making bad decisions
Read Also: How To Control Stress And Anxiety
Popular Smartwatches With Stress Monitoring Feature
There are several smartwatches in the market that you can consider buying for accurate stress monitoring. Here is the list of premium smartwatches that offer better accuracy and sensors:
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 comes with Samsungs new BioActive sensor. It can show you body composition like Body Fat, Body Water, Fat Mass, etc. It also detects stress levels continuously and notifies when you need a break or breathing exercises.
Check here: Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Bluetooth
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7 comes with an ECG sensor that accurately detects the heart rate and SpO2. It also features a meditative breathing option that shows beautiful animation for breathing exercises to help keep the body calm.
Check here: Apple Watch Series 7 GPS
Fitbit Sense is an advanced health-oriented smartwatch with dedicated sensors for each health metric. It has a dedicated EDA sensor for stress monitoring with really good accuracy. Besides, it can also measure heart health and skin temperature.
Garmin Vivosmart 4
Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a slim fitness tracker with premium health tracking features. It has a wrist-based Pulse Oxygen sensor that detects blood oxygen saturation accurately. It also features stress tracking and a relaxation breathing timer to control stress levels.
Check here: Garmin Vivosmart 4 Smartwatch
Reduce Things That Amp Up Your System
Caffeine, alcohol, high-sugar foods, and late-night phone scrolling may all be really tempting when stress is high. While these may offer short term energy or relaxation, the longer-term consequence is often increased anxiety and poor sleep quality.
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How To Check Your Stress Levels And Heart Rate On Your Mobile Phone
Feeling stressed is one thing. But what if there was a way to quantify it? A few weeks ago, Palo Alto-based startup Azumio launched a Stress Check app that claims to measure your stress levels.
Their first app, Instant Heart Rate has already been downloaded 8 million times. Unlike most apps out there, these health apps don’t require extra accessories. Azumio co-founder Bojan Bostjancic explained how the light in the camera’s flash can measure blood flowing through your finger for patterns that would elevate stress hormones. The light can tell subtle changes in color on the skin’s surface that reflect the person’s blood flow patterns. The same technology is used for the heart rate app, but less time is needed .
“Increasing awareness of heart rate and stress levels among your social network of friends is extremely important,” he told me during the interview. “Studies show that the more people are socially connected, the less they are affected by chronic diseases.”
Note: Over the past week, I’ve been using the apps to see how different situations affect me. It’s been interesting to see how my stress levels change throughout the day and see what situations get my heart racing.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
How To Manage Your Stress Level
Tomorrow youre delivering a sales presentation to your companys biggest client. Your boss and the client companys CEO will be there. A lots riding on a deal going through what you say and how you say it will really count.
But youre not anxious. On the contrary, youre charged up. You feel sharp and focused. Youve got a solid command of your material and know the clients needs well. Looking one last time through your slide deck, you recall a story the companys CEO once told you about his business that you can work into the introduction to make it that much stronger.
If you recognize something of yourself and your experience in this scenario, you know that a certain amount of stress, in the right circumstances, can enhance performance. Whether were competing in a sporting event, presenting a closing argument to a jury, or negotiating the terms of a business deal, the adrenaline surge triggered by stress increases our focus and heightens our efficiency, enabling us to perform at the top of our game.
Yet we also know that stress, far from enhancing performance, sometimes undermines it. When our stress level is too high or the stress has lasted too long, we cant concentrate. Creativity fizzles out and frustration sets in. We become distracted, forgetful, irritable.
So wheres the boundary between good stress and bad stress? And how do we know when were close to crossing that line so we can make sure we dont?
The Yerkes-Dodson Curve