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.
The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
Affordable Online Therapy for Stress
Get professional help from BetterHelps network of licensed therapists.
Need urgent help? .
Who Does It Affect
Generalized anxiety disorder affects between 5% and 6% of people at some point in their life. GAD often starts sometime between late childhood and early adulthood, though it’s not uncommon for it to begin much later in life. Children may also be diagnosed with GAD. In children, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder can look like GAD, so a mental health professional will carefully look at where the child’s worry is coming from before they make a diagnosis.
There are some groups of people at higher risk of getting the disorder:
WomenWomen are almost twice as likely as men to develop GAD.
Older adultsIts not uncommon for people to develop GAD later in life.
People with another mental illnesses or substance use disorderPeople living with GAD often have another mental illness. Mood illnesses like depression, other anxiety disorders and substance use disorders commonly occur with GAD. People who start to experience GAD when theyre younger may be more likely to be diagnosed with more than one mental illness.
Family membersGAD seems to run in families, so you have a higher risk of developing the illness if a close family member also has GAD.
Recommended Reading: How To Treat Stress Naturally
Focus On What You Can Control
While there’s a lot we can’t change in life, there are some things that we can influence. For instance, while we can’t control the actions of others, we do have control over how we behave in response to them. You may not know how you’re perceived by someone, but you can choose to show kindness towards them. Similarly, we may not know what’s around the corner, but we can make sure we’re looking after ourselves and following a healthy lifestyle so we’re in the best position to help others if a challenging situation does occur.
“When people feel overwhelmed by the lack of control, you have a choice in how you behave,” explains Crowe. “So you can either go towards the anxiety and the fear and get completely caught up in it or you can choose to be more mindful about your reactions to things.”
List Of Adaptive Coping Strategies
Coping strategies are methods for addressing the impact of upsetting, anxiety-provoking, or stressful events . Coping strategies can be further classified into similar clusters of strategy, for example:
- Emotional or emotion-focused strategies , also referred to as emotional support and acceptance-based strategies
- Problem-focused strategies or solution-focused strategies
- Dysfunctional strategies
In a meta-analysis of coping strategies used by carers of patients with Alzheimers disease, Li et al. found that:
- Dysfunctional coping strategies did not affect anxiety development.
- Emotional support strategies and acceptance-based strategies were associated with lower anxiety.
- Surprisingly, solution-based strategies were associated with more anxiety, but this relationship is based on only one study and should be interpreted with caution.
Anxiety and depression often occur together. In the same meta-analysis, Li et al. found that dysfunctional coping strategies predicted the development of depression. In contrast, emotional-support strategies and solution-based strategies had a protective nature and were not associated with the development of depression.
Also Check: How To Avoid Stress At Work
Focus On Your Influence
You can influence people and circumstances, but you can’t force things to go your way. So while you can give your child the tools he needs to get good grades, you can’t make him get a 4.0 GPA. And while you can plan a good party, you can’t make people have fun.
To have the most influence, focus on changing your behavior. Be a good role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
When you have concerns about someone else’s choices, share your opinion, but only share it once. Don’t try to fix people who don’t want to be fixed.
Simple Steps To Deal With Stress And Anxiety
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Do you wonder if you may worry too much? And how much anxiety is officially “too much?” To answer these questions, you may need to deepen your understanding of stress and anxiety, and how they help and hurt you.
Also Check: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause High Blood Sugar
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:
Also Check: How Does Stress Cause Migraines
Set Small Achievable Goals
Anxiety sufferers tend to set unrealistically high expectations for themselves. To counteract this tendency, set goals that you can easily accomplish. This builds your confidence and your sense of accomplishment.
When you are learning skills to handle stress and reduce your anxiety, small steps work best. For example, if your goal is to integrate deep breathing into your life, start by practicing for one-minute intervals three or four times a day instead of for an hour all at once.
Setting small, achievable goals will help will take you farther than you can imagine over time. It will help you reach your final destination: a happier, low-anxiety life.
Try Supplements Or Change Your Diet
Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.
- kava kava
- dark chocolate
However, it can take up to three months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If youre taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Stress
How Does Worry Work
Worry actually has an important function in our lives, according to Luana Marques, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. When we think about an uncertain or unpleasant situation such as being unable to pay the rent, or doing badly on an exam our brains become stimulated. When we worry, it calms our brains down. Worry is also likely to cause us to problem-solve or take action, both of which are positive things. Worry is a way for your brain to handle problems in order to keep you safe, Dr. Marques explained. Its only when we get stuck thinking about a problem that worry stops being functional.
So How To Stop Worrying
If you notice you’re caught up in a worrying storyline, know that you have the power to break the cycle. When it comes to short-circuiting the anxiety loop that worry puts us in, meditation can be a great ally. With practice, we learn to step away from the thoughts and emotions that entertain worst-case scenarios instead, we develop an awareness that allows us to not only see what our mind is inventing, but to also be less triggered by worry. We are essentially training the mind to be calmer, more at ease, and less reactive.
One such tactic is to acknowledge the presence of such thoughts in the mind, as uncomfortable as that may be. A trick to accomplish this is to think of your worry as a movie playing in your mind. As a viewer, you are there to sit and watch the film â not change the film in any way, even though you might naturally want to rewrite the script or silence the film altogether. Hitting âmuteâ might seem appealing, but it doesnât allow us to see the worry for what it really is: another thought among many, many thoughts.
Don’t Miss: How To Overcome Stress Depression And Anxiety
Try Relaxation Techniques Including Headspace To Interrupt The Worry Cycle
There are many science-backed relaxation techniques that counter feelings of anxiety and stress. Incorporating them into your daily life can promote a calmer frame of mind, and help ward off worry. We just might find that we spend a lot less time feeling uncertain and concerned about what lies ahead.
How Intense Is Work Right Now These Simple And Useful Techniques May Help Lessen Your Anxiety
Are you under intense pressure at work? Perhaps you’re a busy entrepreneur and founder of a startup racking up 60 hours per week to keep your business afloat. Or the CEO of a company that just got handed three months to turn the ship around.
Whatever high-impact role you’re in , things like anxiety, burnout, constant worry, and even depression may be par for the course.
Mental health is serious business, and not staying on top of yours can seriously affect how you perform. If things are turbulent right now and anxiety is beating up on you, you can get your peace back. But it takes looking in the mirror, acknowledging the truth, and making changes.
Here are eight ways to take control.
Read Also: How To Deal With Stress Naturally
Stop Worrying By Focusing On What Youre Grateful For
As we focus on one negative thought, it primes our brain to look for more. By contrast, looking for a silver lining can help train your brain to search for positives and interrupt the cycle of worry. This is one reason why a daily gratitude practice can be so helpful and even life-changing.
Having trouble finding something to be grateful for? Take a step back and look for what is interesting about the situation or funny. Engage your mind through curiosity and humor. This can quickly shift you into a better place and provide a needed break from the negative thoughts. You can even try to be curious about the way you worry.
While it may take practice, learning to turn your negative thoughts around can be a great way to stop worrying.
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
Don’t Miss: Why Does Stress Cause Migraines
Meditation For Worrying About The Future
Learn how to move forward with less stress in the first part of this 10-day meditation course .
Listen to Fear of Future: Pt 1 – 12 minutes
Most thoughts, emotions, and anxiousness caused by worry are negative, imagining worst-case scenarios, anticipated threats, or scenarios that reflect our own lack of self-worth.
For instance, the worry could be that someone weâre meeting wonât like us or that an upcoming flight will lead to an emergency landing or that the nagging pain weâve noticed might well be a serious health condition. Most of the time, our worries donât pan out. Thatâs because worry is often invented by the mind, and is rarely rooted in fact or truth. Eventually, we come to realize that worrying about the future doesnât prevent tomorrowâs troubles, it just robs today of its joy. As an old quote goes: âWorry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.â
Occasional anxiety over the future is a normal part of life. In fact, our brains are evolutionarily wired to worry: our cave-dwelling ancestors, who imagined the worst when they heard leaves rustle, had better odds of surviving a predator by being in this state of constant alert. So worrying, to some extent, is a natural part of life â we worry about paying a bill, or how a first date might turn out, or if the weather might ruin a planned BBQ.
Talk To Someone You Trust About How You’re Feeling
Just talking to someone about how youre feeling can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, work out what you want to say to them, and then just go for it. If youre finding it tricky, weve got four more steps for talking to someone you trust here.
Recommended Reading: What To Do When You Are Sad And Stressed
Stress Is Closely Related To Worry So Worry Less
So how do we worry less? Obviously easier said than done but the first step is to distinguish between worries that require your attention and worries that are unnecessary.
The following questions can help you clarify this:
Can I do something about this problem?
Is this something I always worry about, but nothing ever happens?
Is this something that has a solution?
Will my worrying make this situation better or worse or have no effect at all?
If there is something you can do about the problem, take action or consciously choose not to take action.
People often delay or avoid taking action or making decisions because they are worried about making a mistake.
If the situation is out of your control and there is nothing you can do, worrying does not make the situation better!
Tell yourself that your worries are not helpful and let them go. Again , I know this is easier said than done, but it can improve with practice.
It can help to challenge your thoughts about the worry and ask yourself:
Wheres the evidence for that? or
What would be so bad about that? or
Is this problem so important that I should spend all my time thinking about it?
To read more about reducing worry read The Number One Question That Helps Worrying