A Health Guide: How To Manage Your Stress Levels
310 ViewsJune 24, 2021
Stress is an everyday occurrence in all walks of life. Regularly, you will undoubtedly find yourself in pressure situations that actively make you feel anxious, agitated, and worried.
Fear not, though, as the stress that you experience need not necessarily adversely affect your overall health and well-being. There are a number of different routes that you can take to cope with this everyday plight, two of which are detailed below.
Ready to unearth the secrets of stress level management? If so, be sure to read on.
Causes Of Workplace Stress
The most and least stressful job report for 2018, conducted by CareerCast revealed that the top most stressful jobs of the year were Enlisted Military Personnel, Firefighters, Airline Pilots,;and Police Officers. The least stressful jobs were Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, hair stylist, audiologist, and University professor .
While some jobs are undoubtedly more stressful than others, all workplaces are prone to stress of some degree.
The below diagram, obtained from the WSH Institute displays the various factors that can lead to workplace stress, along with the organization and individuals role in dealing with these hazards.
Natural Ways To Lower Cortisol
If the communication between the brain and the adrenal gland is functioning correctly, the body should be able to increase and reduce cortisol production as necessary.
However, levels of cortisol can sometimes remain high even after the resolution of a stressful situation. This can have a negative impact on health.
The following simple tips may help to moderate cortisol levels:
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Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It
Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.;
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.
StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.
Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .
Rethink Advice and Information Service;
Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email;.
Specialist mental health services
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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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.
What Happens When You Are Stressed
Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. This is called the fight-or-flight stress response.
Some stress is normal and even useful. Stress can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help you win a race or finish an important job on time.
But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school.
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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.
Dont Believe You Cant Cope
A big part of successfully dealing with stressors is believing that you can overcome them. This positive mindset shift is essential for lowering your stress levels.
If you feel overwhelmed, try to reframe the issue. For example, instead of thinking of your to-do list as things you have to do, reframe it as things you get to do.
Consider adopting a mantra such as I can handle this, and repeat it to yourself daily.
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Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
How Stress Affects Your Thoughts And Emotions
You might notice signs of stress in the way you think, act, and feel. You may:
- Feel cranky and unable to deal with even small problems.
- Feel frustrated, lose your temper more often, and yell at others for no reason.
- Feel jumpy or tired all the time.
- Find it hard to focus on tasks.
- Worry too much about small things.
- Feel that you are missing out on things because you can’t act quickly.
- Imagine that bad things are happening or about to happen.
How stress affects you depends on many things, such as:
- Your personality.
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Tips For Managing Stress
Im just so stressed! How many times do we say or hear this on a daily basis? Talking about our stress is like asking about the weathereveryone has it or has something to say about it. Stress is a part of life for nearly everyone. It can motivate us to act when needed, prompt a needed change, or call our attention to something that needs deeper attention. But, stress can also be a red flag for something more problematic and, if left unaddressed, emotionally damaging.
What is stress and what causes it? The short answer is that stress is a feeling of unpleasant tension and can be experienced physically, emotionally, or as a diffuse sense of alertness or irritability. Some tension is a natural and even healthy part of the situation like getting ready to run a race, take a test, or have an emotionally charged conversation. In other situations, feeling tense can signal stress that needs more mindful attention. How your body reacts and responds to stress can be positive when its short-term but lingering stress can take a toll on your body and mind.
While we cant always control the stress that comes into our lives, we can control how we manage and react to it. In fact, understanding these stressors in order to best respond to them in a healthy way is a key component of mental health.
Feeling overwhelmed? Get help now. Text START to 741-741;or call 1-800-273-TALK
Handy Pdfs & 1 Ppt About Stress Management
Now that weve covered the various stress management solutions, here are some handy downloadable PDFs for creating your personal stress management plan:
For adults and teens, this PDF Stress diary is an excellent template put together by Mindtools.com. It helps make us aware of when we stress, how we stress and how often we stress. Download the diary and make regular entries to start increasing the awareness surrounding your stress.
Its easy for stress to come and go, with us accepting its just part of our lives instead of something that needs addressing. Once we bring our awareness to these key stress components, we can start taking steps to manage it.;
Once youve identified how you;show stress, you can start fleshing out a plan that works best for you. This Stress management PDF will help you to put in place some solid solutions, such as social support, emotional skills, ideas for a healthy life balance, and how you can best attend to your basic needs.
Specifically for teens, this PDF is an easy to use 10-point plan put together by www.fosteringresilience.com to help manage stress. It has been broken down into four digestible parts for you to work through including:
If youre looking for a handy PPT, this Reducing Stress Presentation explains how we can best manage our stress by changing our health behaviors.
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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.
High Blood Pressure And Heart Disease
According to the American Heart Association, stress can have serious long-term health consequences.;
When your stress response activates, your heart rate is higher than normal. This is not a problem if it only lasts a short time. But when your everyday life is characterized by stress, it can put pressure on your heart.
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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.
Highly Effective Tips For Relieving Stress
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief, however. What works for one person might not work for another.
And what works for you at home might not be an option when you’re at work or in the community .;
So it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. Then, you’ll be able to pick a strategy that works best for your current circumstances.;
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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.
Simple Ways To Deal With Stress At Work
Research has indicated that the percentage of Americans who are stressed at work is highand its only getting higher. According to a survey of more than 2,000 full-time U.S. employees, ages 18-79, more than half of employees find themselves stressed during at least 60 percent of the workweek.
Work stress has significant health consequences that range from relatively benign to potentially serious .
While stress at work is common, finding a low-stress job is hard . A more realistic approach is to;adopt effective coping strategies to reduce stress at your current job. Here are some stress management techniques you can try if you are finding it hard to cope with work stress
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Different Stress Management Techniques & Strategies
These tips are thing we can all benefit from doing more of. The techniques are categorized into three groups:
Explore the below options and find what combination works best for keeping your stress levels under control.
Action-oriented approaches allow you to take action and change the stressful situation.
As Nelson & Hurrell said:
Stress is inevitable, distress is not
1. Be assertive
Clear and effective communication is the key to being assertive. When were assertive, we can ask for what we want or need, and also explain what is bothering us. The key is doing this in a fair and firm manner while still having empathy for others. Once you identify what you need to communicate, you can stand up for yourself and be proactive in altering the stressful situation.
You can read more about how to be assertive here.
2. Reduce the noise
Switching off all the technology, screen time, and constant stimuli can help us slow down. How often do you go offline? It is worth changing, for your own sake.
3. Manage your time
If we let them, our days will consume us. Before we know it, the months have become overwhelmingly busy. When we prioritize and organize our tasks, we create a less stressful and more enjoyable life.
How Are You Coping With Stress
Your lifestyle choices can prevent your body from recovering from stress. For example, as you sleep, your body recovers from the stresses of the day. If you’re not getting enough sleep or your sleep is often interrupted, you lose the chance to recover from stress.
The way you act and behave can also be a sign of stress. Some people who face a lot of stress react by smoking, drinking too much alcohol, eating poorly, or not exercising. The health risks posed by these habits are made even worse by stress.
Your body feels stress-related wear and tear in two ways: the stress itself and the unhealthy ways you respond to it.
- Use this coping strategies evaluation form to help you find out how you cope with stress.
- Try this Interactive Tool: How Well Do You Bounce Back? It measures your ability to deal with life’s challenges.
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Set Reasonable Expectations In Your Daily Life
Being busy is sometimes inevitable, but regularly taking on more than you can manage can cause unwanted and unwelcome stress. Tell yourself that it’s okay to say no to activities at your child’s school or to extra projects at work you are not obligated to accept every request made of you. Additionally, don’t take on more financial responsibilities such as a new car or a bigger house if you think they’ll be a stretch. Being realistic about your finances is an important strategy for managing stress.