Whats Causing Your Stress The Common Culprits
My recent research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done, said Dr. Heidi Hanna, an integrative neuroscientist and executive director for the American Institute of Stress. People have more demand on their time and energy than they have capacity, and constant connection to technology aggravates the situation.
Research shows the most common cause of stress is the feeling that there isnt enough time to get it all done.
She explained that many people also fail to realize that internal stress has a tendency to make external circumstances much more difficult to deal with. For example, if youre not catching enough ZZZs, eating crummy food or living a sedentary life, your nervous system is more agitated and more likely to respond hastily to perceived stressors or threats in your environment.
With all the advances in technology, its easy to forget that were still dealing with a very primitive brain pattern that is hardwired to protect us at all costs, said Dr. Hanna. If we think we dont have enough of something whether its time, energy, money or other resources like social support the stress reaction system is activated.
Other common causes of stress, outside of not being able to get it all done, include our finances, health and relationships. These things tend to be at the forefront of our minds anyway, but are exacerbated when were facing an obstacle.
Tip : Make Quick Stress Relief A Habit
Its not easy to remember to use your senses in the middle of a minior or not so minocrisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to drive or play golf. You dont master the skill in one lesson you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Eventually youll feel like youre forgetting something if you dont tune into your body during challenging times. Heres how to make it habit:
Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of a long day or sitting down to pay bills.
Identify and target. Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, such as commuting. Vow to target that stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor and so on.
Test-drive sensory input. If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day. Keep experimenting until you find a clear winner.
Have fun with the process. If something doesnt work, dont force it. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming.
Help Others Learn How Not To Care
When you are in the midst of learning how not to care, helping others do the same can feel great. You are getting your good deeds done, but not as a pushover or doormat. You are caring for others that deserve to learn the same things youve learned.
This lets you offer aid to those who are in a similar situation. In the process, you are learning how to take your own advice.
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Identify Your Personal Stress Triggers
We all have particular situations or people that make us more stressed. Some of these are easily identifiable and may be avoidable. However, sometimes stress may build up over time, and result from a pattern of incidents or events, rather than a single trigger.
This will make it easier to take action to address your stress levels.
Get Into The Right Frame Of Mind
“We can control our responses to circumstances, even when the circumstances themselves are beyond our control,” Scott writes. “In doing so, we can greatly lessen our negative experience of stress.”
It’s all about having a positive attitude. For example, it’s better to avoid the all-or-nothing mindset: Rather than say, “This is the worst day ever,” say, “Today was a bad day,” she advises.
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Be More Realistic About Your Capabilities
It is helpful to remember that most people underestimate how long it will take to do something, and overestimate how much they can do. This means that they end up taking on too much, and then failing to deliver.
Develop the simple habit of doubling your time estimates for any task.
You are then far more likely to under-promise and over-deliver. This will make everyoneincluding youmuch happier than the other way round .
Look For Patterns In Your Behavior
“Do you always end up feeling like a victim? Pick emotionally unhealthy friends or lovers and therefore end up unhappy? Sabotage your successes and achievements? Think you want to be alone, then hate it?” says Koenig about looking for patterns in your behavior. Whether you feel like a victim when something goes wrong or you talk down to yourself when you slip up, examine these situations and figure out why you do and feel these things to fix these emotions and make yourself strong.
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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.
Get Your Head Below Your Heart
Put your head between your knees, or stand and hang your head and arms toward your toes. Getting your noggin below your heart has restorative effects on the autonomic nervous system , lessening your reactivity to the fight-or-flight response Papp ME, et al. . Increased heart rate variability but no effect on blood pressure from 8 weeks of hatha yoga a pilot study. DOI: 10.1186/1756-0500-6-59 .
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Other Types Of Relaxation Techniques
Many de-stressing therapies have common goals. They aim to help you pay attention to your body and focus on aspects of your breathing or other exercises that will lower your blood pressure and increase feelings of well-being. You can try:
- Biofeedback, which measures body functions and helps you learn to control them.
- Self-hypnosis, in which a practitioner teaches you to relax when you hear a phrase or get a nonspoken cue.
- Massage therapy, which can include Swedish, sports, Shiatsu, or other types of massage.
- Music therapy, when a therapist uses music to accomplish health goals.
- Art therapy, which uses art to enhance your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
- Aromatherapy, or using essential oils as a type of treatment.
- Hydrotherapy, which can include soaking, compresses, or even steam baths.
While relaxation practices are mostly safe for heathy people, there have been reports of negative impacts, such as increased stress, bad thoughts, or a fear of losing control. Talk to your doctor about what practice might be best for you, depending on the relaxation technique you want to try and your health.
Allow Yourself To Feel Then Feel Better
You may have heard that it’s not healthy to “stuff your emotions” or to deny you feel the way you feel. This is true.
While it is important to find a balance between acknowledging your emotions and engaging in rumination, remaining in denial is not healthy either.
A more effective way to help yourself through stressful times is to become more aware of how you feel and why by journaling, talking things out with a close friend, or talking to a therapist if necessary, and then working toward engaging in activities that will give you a healthy emotional lift and moving on.
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Create A Holiday Schedule
The best way to manage all of the events and festivities you have to attend during the holidays is to create a schedule. This allows you to plan everything out, know what’s coming up, and know what has passed. A holiday schedule will also eliminate last minute forgotten tasks that might slip your mind and result in even more added stress. Staying organized is key to a relaxing holiday, so take advantage of calendars and planners to map out what your holidays will look like.
Why This Technique Works
Stress is a mental or physical tension, and both manifest from your relationship to the procession of thoughts in your head.
Mindfulness allows you to step out of the procession and watch it go past, without being carried down the fast-flowing river.
When we get pulled down a heavy stream, our emotions and bodies react as if the danger or pain contained in the thought is real, immediate, and must be dealt with now. Thats why we feel discomfort even when someone reminds us of a stressful situation we were trying to forget.
Reconnecting with the present reminds us that here is the only time there really is.
Focusing on your hands is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps to ground the soul and provide stability in the physical body.
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Here Are A Few Ways That I Have Become A Much Happier Person By Living A Stress
We all have different triggers that leads to stress, as well as different reactions to that stress. Some of us get anxious, others shut down, and many get angry. Certainly these three reactions are only a mere drop in the ocean of reactions that people have to stress. There are people who get so worked up over stressful events or feelings that they make themselves physically ill.
The thing is, it doesn’t have to like that. Changing your personal reaction to stress is easy to say, but not as easy to do .
However, when you feel like you’re going to succumb to stress , here are 14 tricks that you can begin to practice and use to calm yourself down in just five minutes.
Tip : Bring Your Senses To The Rescue
To use your senses to quickly relieve stress, you first need to identify the sensory experiences that work best for you. This can require some experimentation. As you employ different senses, note how quickly your stress levels drop. And be as precise as possible. What is the specific kind of sound or type of movement that affects you the most? For example, if youre a music lover, listen to many different artists and types of music until you find the song that instantly lifts and relaxes you.
Explore a variety of sensory experiences so that no matter where you are, youll always have a tool to relieve stress.
The examples listed below are intended to be a jumping-off point. Let your imagination run free and come up with additional things to try. When you find the right sensory technique, youll know it!
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Help Yourself To A Little Honey
The amber elixir from our buzzy friends may help relieve anxiety, fight off depression, and even protect the brain Rahman MM, et al. . Neurological effects of honey: Current and future prospects. DOI: 10.1155/2014/958721 .
Deadlines Can Make Us Stressed No Doubt But They Are Also Galvanising And Useful For Pacing Our Efforts
Such top-down deadlines are not without risks, however. They can rob work of its inherent reward and make staff stressed and feel they do not have autonomy. So, its a balancing act.
Libermans collaborator Maayan Katzir suggests that an alternative to deadlines is to provide staff with mild progress indications, especially as they near task completion. For example, she told me, if a team needs to produce a certain amount of units, then, without imposing a deadline, merely informing everyone on the progress nearing the end could lead to a mild motivation enhancement.
Deadlines can make us stressed, no doubt. But they are also galvanising and useful for pacing our efforts. Were living through strange days during which time feels unstructured some have likened it to that odd period between Christmas and new year. The new findings suggest the strategic use of deadlines, and paying extra attention to monitoring our progress toward set goals, could be one solution that helps us stay focused as one week blends into the next.
Dr Christian Jarrettis a senior editor at Aeon magazine. His next book, about personality change, will be published in 2021.
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Your Focus Shifts When Obsessed With Winning
The goal of winning is a perfectly sound one, and many people have one. But theres a difference between wanting something and being obsessed with it. When youre too obsessed with winning, your focus changes. So your priorities shift to make the concept of simply winning your entire life and goal.
This kind of focus shift can damage your emotional and mental wellbeing, adding stress to your life from these lofty goals and making you anxious with every perceived loss. If all you want to do is win, the things that usually help you feel better dont work out. Here are some ways that your focus may shift so that stress and anxiety are heightened.
Tips To Manage Anxiety And Stress
Try these when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity , or a combination of the two.
- 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
- Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
- Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find its more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
- Recruit an exercise buddy. It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
- Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
If you are the parent of a college-aged child with an anxiety disorder, here are some tips to help with managing his or her anxiety.
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What Should I Do If Im Dealing With Extreme Stress
Sometimes the stressors in your life are very serious. Some examples of extremely stressful situations are: being in a serious accident being the victim of a crime or sexual abuse, or experiencing violence in your family life, including daily fighting, yelling, and hitting. These serious stressors can have lasting effects on the way your body and mind handle stress, and this can set you up for mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder .
Here are some resources for coping with extreme stress:
You Compare Yourself To Others
Obsession with winning means obsession with competition, so youre going to start checking out the people who you consider your competition. This makes you ripe for falling into the trap of constant self-comparison. You might:
- Attempt to match up with the progress and work of others, even if their methods dont work well for you
- Change your ideas of success regularly to be whatever the person closest to the finish line has.
- Desire the wins of others, even when theres no possible way to get them due to separate contexts and circumstances
- Become complacent when you think youre further ahead than others, setting yourself up for a tortoise and the hare type of situation
- Become discouraged when you cant seem to have precisely what other people do
Some kinds of self-comparison can be helpful. Looking to people who are successful for inspiration is a fantastic way to learn from them and apply knowledge to yourself. But theres a line to draw with that motivation. Too much comparison and your positive thinking drop as you desperately try to keep up with what you see in others.
Comparison is always a little flawed because you know all your worst sides, but you only see the positive sides that they choose to show to the world in others. You dont know what is going on in the lives of others, what is helping them, and what their journey is, so youll never have an accurate comparison here.
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