How Can We Handle Stress In Healthy Ways
Stress serves an important purposeit enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. However, lengthy exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties or increased physical health problems. A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover.
There are several other methods you can use to relax or reduce stress, including:
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.
Pause And Take A Few Deep Breaths
We tend to hold our breath whenever we are stressed, but this only exacerbates feelings of anxiety and panic. Instead, use box breathing to calm yourself and heighten your concentration. Box breathing is the technique of taking slow, deep, full breaths.
Slowly exhale your breath through your mouth. Consciously focus on clearing all the oxygen from your lungs. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose for four slow counts. Hold your breath for four more slow counts. On the next four counts, exhale again through your mouth until your lungs are empty. Hold your breath again for a final slow count of four beats.
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Do Frequent Self Check
When youre busy and under pressure to perform, its easy to go on autopilot. Periodically pause and do a quick self-assessment throughout the day. Consider your emotional state as well as your physical state .
Take 20 or 30 seconds to scan your body and identify areas that may be holding onto tension or stress, says Dr. Hendel. For example, you might be carrying tension in your jaw or shoulders. When you notice an area that is tense, gently release the tension. Over time it should become easier to recognize when stress begins to take holdand to do something about it.
Your Diagnosis What Now
You have been diagnosed with burnout and the doctor told you to keep stress levels to a minimum. That makes sense, right? He also advised you the one thing you perhaps cannot do: take time off. Not just a few days, or weeks, but a long time.
Living in the world we are, we just cannot do that. Unless we have a large amount of cash stacked away or a good rich Samaritan wants to give us free food and boarding for a year, for many of us taking a sabbatical is just not in the stars. We have to keep on working and expose ourselves to the one factor that will halt our healing process: pressure, strain
In my previous post How to Heal from Burnout, I mentioned my work situation. I had to fight to get even a week off, and that wasnt enough by far. I was working in junior high which is not the ideal environment when youre trying to heal from burnout.
Before I continue and address the symptoms and difficulties of working in a stressful environment while struggling with this mental health condition, lets first see what burnout is. Tense situations are already hard to handle under normal circumstances, so imagine this when you are not well and your mind doesnt function the way you would like to.
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Highly Effective Ways To Keep Stress Under Control In 2021
If you learned anything in 2020, it might have been that stress is nearly impossible to avoid. In 2021, the healthiest way to approach family life, work expectations, career, and future goals, while truncating stress, can absolutely be accomplished.
Human beings are resilient, list making, problem solvers, who proactively, resolve issues regarding health and happiness. What is needed is a plan for stress reduction, which encapsulates the attainment of ongoing improvements to your life.
Stressor Health IssuesBang Head Here
The human body is amazingly well equipped to handle certain types of stress, in small amounts, as a built-in safety mechanism, which guards against injury and pain. A buildup of stress, from every imaginable source, destroys brain cells, affecting your memory, mood, organizational skills, and essential socialization behaviors. It stimulates feelings of anxiety, and often anger, reducing your happiness level, in life.
To better cope with stress, do not switch out your skinny jeans, or athletic wear, for yoga pants. You can manage the stressors in your life, mitigate, and reduce them, by changing your reaction to them, with these highly effective, take charge actions:
5 Effective Ways to Keep Stress Under Control
1. Stop Gloom-Scrolling
2. Break a Sweat
3. Not Belly Fat, Vitamin C for Healthy Eating
4. Journaling Pouring Out Thoughts
5. Controlling What Happens Within
Stressed Spelled Backwards, is Desserts
Burnout At The Workplace
Although I have always loved teaching and I love my students, lets face it dealing with teenage rebellions, hormonal mood swings, the hate you, love you facets, trying to push the limits, and all the usual adolescent phases are not ideal when you are going through burnout. I couldnt handle it anymore. The doctor told me to avoid stress, but dealing with over a 100 teenagers every day made that a little challenging.
At first, I did not know how to do it, but I did make an enormous effort not to lash out and not to show any of my burnout symptoms. My symptoms were extreme forgetfulness, blackouts, not remembering how to do simple everyday tasks such as using the car gear stick or dialing a phone number,
I also had no firm hold over my emotions, and as a result they frequently burst out of me. That sieve that filters our words before they come out was also gone, so I often spoke my mind without filtering the content.
You can compare it to an unedited manuscript that is filled with errors and that just makes you cringe. Before that manuscript meets an audience, it needs to be edited and some paragraphs may need to be cut. The same counts for things we say to others most of it is best filtered before it leaves the mouth, right?
No to Little Control over Your Symptoms
Not everyone is a schoolteacher, but stress is a factor in many jobs, with some more than others.
From what I have learned, I can come up with three reasons.
High Cortisol Testing And Diagnoses
Your doctor can order a number of tests to determine if you have abnormally high cortisol levels. Both blood and urine testing help reveal a problem, but a 24-hour urine test is used more often than a cortisol blood test to diagnose Cushings disease or syndrome.
The cortisol values listed below, which can be obtained from a blood test, serve as a reference range for whats considered normal. Cortisol levels above this normal range are considered high and can be risky or problematic.
But keep in mind that values differ depending on time of day, age and the type of cortisol test preformed. Saliva tests are now also recommended and appear to be as reliable as a blood sample. Additionally, an overnight dexamethasone suppression test may also be recommended, and it involves taking a dose of a corticosteroid medicine called dexamethasone to determine how blood cortisol is affected.
Because of this, your doctor will always need to evaluate your results in light of your specific symptoms and medical history.
- Normal cortisol ranges for adults and children in the morning are between five to 23 micrograms per deciliter or 138 to 635 nanomoles per liter
- Normal cortisol ranges for adults and children in the afternoon are between three to 16 mcg/dL or 83 to 441 nmol/L
- Normal cortisol for a newborn baby is between two to 11 mcg/dL or 55 to 304 nmol/L
Final Thoughts on Cortisol Levels
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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
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How Can You Help Yourself
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.37 It is therefore important that we manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to our bodies and minds.
Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels
According to research done by the Genetics Learning Science Center, the long-term danger of having high cortisol is that it activates the fight-or-flight response, which temporarily shuts down normal reproductive, digestive and immune functions. The body targets these systems for shutdown because it doesnt need them for immediate survival.
Sensory nerve cells pass the perception of a threat, or stress, from the environment to the hypothalamus in the brain. This signals the pituitary and primary adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. If this cycle goes on for too long, someone becomes more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, infections and hormonal problems.
Some clues that may signal youre living with high cortisol levels include:
- weight gain, especially around the abdomen/stomach
- a puffy, flushed face
- higher susceptibility to infections
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Tip : Identify The Sources Of Stress In Your Life
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isnt as straightforward as it sounds. While its easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. Its all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Sure, you may know that youre constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe its your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you cant remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality ?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal or use a stress tracker on your phone. Keeping a daily log will enable you to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
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In extreme cases, the stomach pain can result in ulcers, she says. Also, ones immune system can be compromised as a result of stress leading to increased colds or infections, and stress can impact ones sleep cycle due to insomnia. Additionally, the body holds on to the agitation, leading to shaking or feeling nervous, tension in the muscles or a rapid heartbeat.
Hanna adds that chronic stress may trigger or worsen more serious issues, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, anxiety disorders, depression and other brain imbalances.
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Recognising Your Stress Triggers
If you’re not sure what’s causing your stress, keep a diary and make a note of stressful episodes for two-to-four weeks. Then review it to spot the triggers.
Things you might want to write down include:
- the date, time and place of a stressful episode
- what you were doing
- a stress rating
You can use the diary to:
- work out what triggers your stress
- work out how you operate under pressure
- develop better coping mechanisms
Doctors sometimes recommend keeping a stress diary to help them diagnose stress.
Keep Stress Under Control
Here are some things that can help keep stress under control:
Take a stand against overscheduling. If you’re feeling stretched, consider cutting out an activity or two, choosing just the ones that are most important to you.
Be realistic. Don’t try to be perfect no one is. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. If you need help with something like schoolwork or dealing with a loss, ask for it.
Get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep your body and mind in top shape, making you better equipped to deal with any negative stressors. Because the biological “sleep clock” shifts during adolescence, many teens prefer staying up a little later at night and sleeping a little later in the morning. But if you stay up late and still need to get up early for school, you may not get all the hours of sleep you need.
- Learn to relax. The body’s natural antidote to stress is called the relaxation response. It’s the opposite of stress, and is a feeling of well-being and calm. You can activate the relaxation response simply by relaxing. Learn and practice easy breathing exercises, then use them when you’re caught up in stressful situations.
You can do things to handle the stress that comes along with any new challenge, good or bad. Stress-management skills work best when they’re practiced ahead of time, not just when the pressure’s on. Knowing how to “de-stress” and calm yourself can help you get through challenging circumstances.
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Reach For Something That Anchors You In The Moment
Carry a small reminder of what you love about your life and focus on it if you feel triggered and need to center yourself. It might be a photo of your kids or pet, a small rock you picked up on a scenic nature hike, or a special necklace. Think of the gratitude you feel for your life whenever you look at this token.
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.
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What Happens To My Body When I Experience Stress
People react differently to stress. Some common symptoms of stress include sleeping problems, sweating or a change in appetite.6,7
Symptoms like these are triggered by a rush of stress hormones in your body which, when released, allow you to deal with pressures or threats. This is known as the ‘fight or flight’ response.
Hormones called adrenaline and noradrenaline raise your blood pressure, increase your heart rate and increase the rate at which you perspire. This prepares your body for an emergency response.8 These hormones can also reduce blood flow to your skin and reduce your stomach activity. Cortisol, another stress hormone, releases fat and sugar into your system to boost your energy.9
As a result, you may experience headaches, muscle tension, pain, nausea, indigestion and dizziness. You may also breathe more quickly, have palpitations or suffer from various aches and pains. In the long-term, you may be putting yourself at risk from heart attacks and stroke.10