Make Time For Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
Have You Had Any Recent Major Life Changes
Life changes such as getting married, moving to a new city, or losing a job can all be stressful. You can’t always control these things, but you can control how you respond to them.
To find out your current stress level based on recent changes in your life, try this Interactive Tool: What Is Your Stress Level?
How To Get Stress Under Control
By | Submitted On April 04, 2009
In the middle of the 20th century physiologist Hans Selye labeled our reaction to life’s challenges with a simple word: stress. Now, 50 years later, there’s a conversation you hear so often, it’s almost a chorus: You ask a friend, “How are you?” and she replies, “I’m OK, but I’m feeling a little stressed.”
In fact in the 21st century, stress has become synonymous with life and is associated with almost every aspect of our lives, personal and professional alike. Not all stress is bad. Stress does however become a danger when it goes unrecognized, is poorly controlled or becomes pent up over long periods of time.
For most women, stress ranks at the top of the list of daily problems.
What is the natural stress response?
Whenever you perceive that you are physically or psychologically threatened, an inbuilt alarm-system in your brain triggers the adrenal glands to release complex hormonal cascade of over 30 stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
Those stress hormones give you the extra strength and speed you need to deal with the threatening situation. This reaction is known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, or the stress response. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best.
If you frequently find yourself feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, it’s time to take action to bring your life back into balance.
How to control stress?
– Identify your own stress symptoms.
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Try To Get Some Regular Exercise Every Day
Exercise is one of the best methods for managing stress because it can relieve both the physical and emotional effects of stress. Consider fitness choices that also deliver specific stress-reducing effects like yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or one of the martial arts, all great ways to get rid of pent-up stress and negativity. “Exercise can help regulate and dissipate in a productive way those ‘fight or flight’ stress chemicals in the brain,” says Kubiak.
Develop Techniques That Will Help You To Feel In Control Of Your Life
There is plenty of research that suggests that the single factor that causes most stress is feeling out of control.
One way that you can help yourself to avoid stress is to develop techniques to help you solve problems and make decisions more easily.
For example, one problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
There is more about this and other techniques in our series of pages on Problem-Solving and Decision-Making.
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Accept Your Emotions All Of Them
If youre trying to get better at managing emotions, you might try downplaying your feelings to yourself.
When you hyperventilate after receiving good news or collapse on the floor screaming and sobbing when you cant find your keys, it might seem helpful to tell yourself, Just calm down, or Its not that big of a deal, so dont freak out.
But this invalidates your experience. It is a big deal to you.
Accepting emotions as they come helps you get more comfortable with them. Increasing your comfort around intense emotions allows you to fully feel them without reacting in extreme, unhelpful ways.
To practice accepting emotions, try thinking of them as messengers. Theyre not good or bad. Theyre neutral. Maybe they bring up unpleasant feelings sometimes, but theyre still giving you important information that you can use.
For example, try:
- Im upset because I keep losing my keys, which makes me late. I should put a dish on the shelf by the door so I remember to leave them in the same place.
Accepting emotions may
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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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.
Identify What Youre Feeling
Taking a moment to check in with yourself about your mood can help you begin gaining back control.
Say youve been seeing someone for a few months. You tried planning a date last week, but they said they didnt have time. Yesterday, you texted again, saying, Id like to see you soon. Can you meet this week?
They finally reply, more than a day later: Cant. Busy.
Youre suddenly extremely upset. Without stopping to think, you hurl your phone across the room, knock over your wastebasket, and kick your desk, stubbing your toe.
Interrupt yourself by asking:
- What am I feeling right now?
- What happened to make me feel this way?
- Does the situation have a different explanation that might make sense?
- What do I want to do about these feelings?
- Is there a better way of coping with them?
It can take some time before this response becomes a habit. With practice, going through these steps in your head will become easier .
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Talk It Out With A Friend
When youre feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle.
Theyre especially important when youre under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
How To Deal With Stress
You’re not born knowing how to deal with stress. Instead, you slowly learn over time what does and doesn’t work for youmostly.
While stress is a normal part of life, it’s still tough to live through. And sometimes you get thrown curveballs you haven’t deal with before. While some research has shown that short bursts of stress can be good for you, a new study out of Ohio State University and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dealing with persistent, long-term stress can actually change your genes, leading to an increase in inflammation that can bring on a variety of health issues.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to learn how to cope with stress the right way. Also, it’s nearly impossible to fully banish stress from your life. “Over the course of a lifetime, everyone will be confronted with various types of stress,” Monifa Seawell, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in Atlanta, tells Health. “Because of this, it’s important to develop healthy ways to manage stress.”
These are the best, expert-backed ways to de-stress right now.
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Look After Yourself Physically
When you are physically fit and well, it is much easier to cope with stress.
When you become stressed, it is harder to motivate yourself to care about what you eat, or whether you exercise. However, not doing so can also make you more stressed. Get into good habits while your stress levels are fairly low, and you may find that they never go up again. These good habits include:
Taking regular exercise
Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
These are the fight or flight hormones that evolution has hard-wired into our brains and which are designed to protect us from immediate bodily harm when we are under threat. However, stress in the modern age is rarely remedied by a fight or flight response. Physical exercise can be used as a surrogate to metabolise the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.
Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.
You can assess your levels of daytime sleepiness with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
High Cortisol Levels Vs Cushings Disease Vs Cushings Syndrome: Whats The Difference
When the pituitary or adrenal glands produce abnormally high levels of cortisol for a duration of time, a doctor may diagnose a serious, chronic disorder called Cushings disease.
Cushings disease is usually caused by tumors on the adrenal or pituitary glands and often causes symptoms like rapid weight gain, a swollen face, fatigue, and water retention/swelling around the abdomen and upper back. It impacts women between the ages of 25 to 40 most often, although people of any age and gender can develop this condition.
Diagnosable Cushings disease caused by an overactive adrenal gland is considered much rarer than just having generally high cortisol levels. In other words, you have a much greater chance of experiencing high cortisol at certain times due to increased stress in your life than you do of ever being diagnosed with Cushings disease. While people experience at least somewhat high levels of cortisol at one time or another during very stressful episodes , rates of Cushings disease diagnoses are still very low compared to other hormonal/endocrine conditions like thyroid disorders or diabetes, for example.
Low Cortisol Levels: Addisons Disease and Adrenal Fatigue
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Focus On Just Two To Three Stressors At A Time
You cannot deal with everything or everyone in your life that makes you feel stressed. Instead, focus on just two or three main stressors at a time.
If you use a stress diary, or a tool like our quiz Whats Stressing You Out?, it is easy to identify the most common and/or most stressful situations in your life. You can then start to work out what you can do to resolve them.
Once you have sorted your top stressors, you can then move onto lesser stressors.
Accept The Things You Can’t Change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.
“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.
“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”
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Maintain A Proper Sleep Schedule
Stick to your daily sleep routine and try to avoid late nights, even though you probably dont have to get up so early anymore, says Kirkpatrick. Lack of sleep can cause your cortisol levels to stay elevated, so sticking to a regular bedtime can give them a chance to drop off. So find the right balance to help say so-long to stress.
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Tips To Manage Stress
We all have stress at work, at home, and on the road. Sometimes we can feel especially stressed because of a bad interaction with someone, too much work, or everyday hassles like getting stuck in traffic.
Negative stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best mentally, physically and emotionally. But no ones life is completely stress-free. Its important to know how to manage the stress in your life. Try these three simple techniques for dealing with it.
1. Positive Self-Talk
Negative to Positive
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To really make it work, practice positive self-talk every day in the car, at your desk, before you go to bed or whenever you notice negative thoughts. Its a great practice to teach kids, too!
2. Top 10 Emergency Stress-Stoppers
Emergency stress stoppers are actions to help you defuse stress in the moment. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations, and sometimes it helps to combine them. Here are some ideas:
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Aim For Regulation Not Repression
You cant control your emotions with a dial . But imagine, for a moment, that you could manage emotions this way.
You wouldnt want to leave them running at maximum all the time. You also wouldnt want to switch them off entirely, either.
When you suppress or repress emotions, youre preventing yourself from experiencing and expressing feelings. This can happen consciously or unconsciously .
Either can contribute to mental and physical health symptoms, including:
Pay Attention To Your Eating
Like alcohol or drugs, food often becomes a crutch when coping with difficult times. Soothing your pain with high-calorie, high-sugar, or high-fat comfort foods feels good at first, but it can quickly spiral out of control when your mind and body begin to associate negative emotions with eating. At the first sign of stress, anger, or sadness you’ll instinctively reach for food rather than dealing with the feelings at hand. Overeating can also make you feel bloated and sluggishand that’s not going to do your mental health any favors, Smith says. Instead, he says, focusing the bulk of your diet on “reasonable portions of healthy food” can help you stay clear-headed so you can better tackle the stressors ahead. And, Smith adds, if you happen to have some junk food in the mix, it’s OKjust as long as it’s not your go-to when you feel frazzled.
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Tips For Getting Stress And Anxiety Under Control
Fifty percent of us, at some point in our lives, will have a diagnosable mental health condition. Depressive illnesses, generalized anxiety, various phobias, and panic disorders are more common than we think. Luckily, there are ways to identify if what youre dealing with is stress-related or something more.
The two most common disorders are depression and well actually, depression, said Dr. Duane DiFranco, senior medical director, Health Care Value at Blue Care Network. But usually the one that relates most closely with stress is generalized anxiety disorder.
These days, there are online tools that can pinpoint symptoms and help you on your mental health journey. DiFranco suggests two websites that focus on depression and anxiety, respectively. For depression, there is a patient health questionnaire called the PHQ-9. And for individuals struggling with anxiety, he recommends the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale.
Its impossible to discuss stress, depression, or anxiety without mentioning alcohol and how it plays into all three. On the latest episode of the A Healthier Michigan Podcast, hosted by Chuck Gaidica, DiFranco explains the dangers of drinking, the importance of sleep, and Positive Psychology.
Theres a simple rule of thumb you can follow to determine if you or a loved one have alcohol use disorder.
Techniques for Positive Psychology:
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How Can You Avoid Stress
Stress is a fact of life for most people. You may not be able to get rid of stress, but you can look for ways to lower it.
You might try some of these ideas:
- Learn better ways to manage your time. You may get more done with less stress if you make a schedule. Think about which things are most important, and do those first.
- Find better ways to cope. Look at how you have been dealing with stress. Be honest about what works and what does not. Think about other things that might work better.
- Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat well. Don’t smoke. Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Try out new ways of thinking. When you find yourself starting to worry, try to stop the thoughts. Or write down your worries and work on letting go of things you cannot change. Learn to say “no.”
- Speak up. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse. Assertive communication can help you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way.
- Ask for help. People who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
Sometimes stress is just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help, but you may also want to see a counselor.
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