Reduce Caffeine And Alcohol
Caffeine is a great stimulant, and many nonprofessionals believe that it is good for fighting depression. For this, you need to be careful, as Caffeine being a stimulant may worsen anxiety.
On the other hand, alcohol is a depressant. While you may seem to notice that alcohol is helpful in making you fall asleep during the night, it does not automatically mean that you get quality sleep. Instead, it can harm you even more, as alcohol and depression have a reciprocal need and interaction.
For instance, alcohol intake can worsen the symptoms of depression, and depression makes a person attracted to alcohol use.
Make A List Of Things Youre Grateful For
We get it, it can be difficult feel gratitude for anything when it feels like the world is falling down around you. But showing gratitude for the smallest things, like a warm cup of tea or a sunny day can lift your spirits and reduce anxiety, Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at NY Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and host of the Personology podcast, tells Health. If possible, start a daily gratitude journal where you list what you’re grateful for that day, turning the stress-relieving habit into a routine.
Simply Talking To Someone Can Help You Release Stress
Venting about whats stressing you out can feel really, really good. Research shows that complaining to your coworkers is good for your mental health and helps you process your feelings. It also helps you bond with coworkers and cope with stress.
Friends outside of work can also be a great resource when it comes to reducing your stress. Try calling a friend and talking to them about whats on your mind and overwhelming you. Chances are youll feel like a load was lifted off your shoulders after youre done.
A third available resource is talking to a therapist. When you process stressors in your life with a therapist, this can help you work through whatever is causing tension in your mind and body. Your therapist can also help you do guided breathing exercises simply ask them to do one with you the next time youre in a session. You can also try Headspaces 1-minute deep breathing exercise meditation.
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Stomach And Intestines: Fear
When were afraid, tension can occur in the stomach muscles and the intestines. Its no coincidence that certain experiences make us feel sick to our stomach. The more one denies or represses ones fears, the stronger the tension and physical reactions become.
To relieve psychosomatic tension in the stomach, try identifying your fears and what is causing them, and talk about them with someone who is a good listener and whom you trust. Psychotherapist Sean Grover explains, The more you can express the fear in words, the less of a hold it will have on your body. This technique of speaking out loud about the fear and giving names to the feelings that come up is a tremendously effective method in healing childhood traumas as well.
Impact On Our Heart And Circulatory System
The best way to understand how our heart and blood vessels are affected is to know what happens in our body just when an unexpected event occurs. This could be being cut off in traffic and having to slam on your brakes or seeing your young child fall into the pool.
Under this circumstance, our heart rate rapidly increases, and our heart muscle must contract stronger. This happens due to the release of stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol. Simultaneously, our blood vessels widen to allow more blood to pump to our muscles and back into our hearts. This, in turn, increases our blood pressure. This bodily response is familiar to us as the fight-or-flight response.
Now, imagine your body going through this process on a near-daily basis as it would if you had chronic stress. It can create inflammation in the coronary arteries and potentially increase cholesterol levels. Both factors have been linked to causing hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks.
For women who are pre-menopausal, extra estrogen can aid in their ability to handle stress and therefore decrease the effects of stress. For postmenopausal women, estrogen is no longer present to provide protection, thus increasing the risk of stress-causing heart disease.
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From Stretching To Mindfulness Follow These Simple Strategies To Reduce Stress And Its Impact On The Body
Three out of four adults in the U.S. say they suffer symptoms of stress, such as headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, and insomnia, according to the American Psychological Association. This year has been particularly stressful with the country facing the COVID-19 pandemic and navigating uncertain times.
Many people dont realize how damaging stress can be, says , a NYPBeHealthy well-being coach at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. Stress can impact many aspects of well-being, including your sleep, digestion, and overall outlook on life.
But there are easy strategies to help you relax and de-stress.
Making a commitment of just 1030 minutes daily to exercise, stretch, listen to music, meditate, or practice any other form of self-care may help you feel calmer and allow you to reset, says Biondi, who suggests these five simple steps to reduce stress.
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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How To Reduce Stress Using Mindfulness Meditation
Now that we understand just how important it is to manage our bodys stress response, what are techniques we can use to reduce stress? One helpful approach for how to reduce stress is practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and engaged in the moment. Mindfulness lets us step back from unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of challenging situations. It lets us calm the mind, get in touch with our body, and gain perspective of the world around us.
People who incorporate mindfulness meditation into their lives often report a greater sense of positivity, patience, acceptance, and compassion, as well as lower levels of stress, sadness, and frustration. A study published in mindfulness journal PLOS ONE found that 10 days of practicing mindfulness meditation using the Headspace app reduced stress by 14%.
Pay Attention To Sleep
Some people have a hard time going to sleep even at night, because of too much stress or worry. Sometimes, such worry or stress leads to sleep disorders. On the other hand, a sleep disorder may come first, and result in anxiety in the long run. Having said that, research has found out that sleep deprivation may contribute to the aggravations of anxiety.
Moreover, a lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing heart disease or heart failure. Some may also increase their risk of having high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and irregular heartbeat. These are just some of the reasons why you should pay attention to your sleep pattern.
On a much deeper view, disrupted sleep is almost present in other mental health issues like depression, affecting your daily living. For instance, it can negatively impact your work performance, academic performance, cognitive ability, and increases the risk of physical injury. Surely, these health problems that may arise in the future may create additional worries. Therefore, it is better to take care of your sleeping pattern as early as possible.
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Get In Some Light Exercise
Dr. Saltz recommends doing any form of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes, three or four times a week a is great for stress, anxiety, and improving your mood. Some examples of heart rate-boosting activities include a light jog, dance cardio, or sex. She encourages you to find an activity that you find the most fun and stick with it. If possible, squeeze it in before work, during your lunch break, or even make exercise a family activity after work by taking a walk.
Fight Stress In Your Life Today
We can learn to reduce stress quickly and at the moment as well as preparing ourselves for the day with stress management techniques. Each of these techniques can be related to different ways we are exhibiting stress in our lives.
And so, be mindful of how you are experiencing stress. Is our mood changing? Try breathing, meditation, or yoga. Is our body starting to hurt? Try walking, essential oils, or napping.
As we learn to fight stress in different ways, we will begin to unlock more happiness, calmness, and freedom in our lives.
Previously published on February 23, 2020, with Publishous on Medium
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Types Of Relaxation Techniques
However, a whole range of relaxation practices can help you power down and de-stress.
There’s no one shoe that fits all, Smith says. He points to five or six approaches based on scientific observation and experience that really do work for stress reduction. There are other therapies, too, that you might find helpful. You can do one at a time or you can practice some together.
Avoid Nicotine And Alcohol
Alcohol, nicotine and other dependency-building substances may easily become things that your body relies on to release stress. This could result in your body being unable to release stress until it receives such substances.
Alcohol and nicotine can also cause chemical changes in the brain and cause oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the human body.
Furthermore, alcohol releases added amounts of cortisol, altering the way your brain perceives stress and how it responds to it. Cortisol also happens to promote habit-based learning, increasing your risk of becoming a habitual drinker to cope with stress.
Besides keeping your stress levels low, avoiding nicotine and alcohol can also help prevent a handful of other potential health problems, from lung and throat cancer to infertility.
While substances like alcohol may feel like an easy escape mechanism, remember that it keeps your problems around in the long run. Its still best to tackle your stress head-on to gain full control of your mind and body.
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Quick Stress Relief At Work
Meetings. During stressful sessions, stay connected to your breath. Massage the tips of your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Sip coffee.
On the phone. Inhale something energizing, like lemon, ginger, peppermint. While talking, stand up or pace back and forth to burn off excess energy, or take calls outside when possible.
On the computer. Work standing up. Do knee-bends in 10-minute intervals. Suck on a peppermint. Sip tea.
Lunch breaks. Take a walk around the block or in the parking lot. Listen to soothing music while eating. Chat with a colleague.
Your workspace. Place family photos on your desk or mementos that remind you of your life outside the office.
What Stress Does To The Body
When you come across something you perceive as threatening whether thats an oncoming car or your boss tone of voice your eyes and ears send signals to the amygdala, an area of the brain thats involved in emotional processing. When the amygdala detects danger, it sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus, which then signals to your nervous system to trigger the fight-or-flight response.
When this response is initiated, stress hormones flood your body, causing your heart to beat faster than normal and your pulse and blood pressure to go up. Simultaneously, you start to breathe more rapidly and your body sends extra oxygen to your brain, increasing alertness.
A variety of other hormonal changes and physiological responses occur when your body reacts to stress. When this fight-or-flight response is repeatedly activated, it can cause health problems over time including high blood pressure and brain changes that contribute to anxiety and depression.
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Where Stress Gets Stuck In The Bodyand How To Release It
In a new video collaboration, Lauren Roxburgh, structural integration and alignment specialistand our resident fascia and pelvic floor authorityteams up with a medium, meditation leader, and author of Intuitive Being, Jill Willard to help us manage stress depending on how we react to it in the body. In her ongoing body work with clients, Roxburgh says she can actually see and feel stress stuck in the bodyand that it tends to build up in five areas, depending on how each individual responds to stress Roxburgh calls these five areas the stress containers.
Together with Willard, who brings her deep knowledge of the mind/body/spirit intersection and the nature of energy movement within the body , Roxburgh explains how stress gets stuck in the body, what it does once stuck there, and how to treat each of the five areas it gets stuck in.
Embrace Your Inner Child And Play
When was the last time you colored, played hide and seek, or watched cartoons? Dr. Saltz believes that embracing playtime as an adult can be amazing for stress. Bonus points if you have actual kids around to play with. However determining what that is is entirely up to you and your childhood. Dont be afraid to get silly and embrace whatever uniqueness comes to mind.
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Scientists Explain How To Release Stress Trapped In Your Body
We all know the signs of common stress and chronic stress:
- Tense shoulders
- Less emotional control
- Impaired judgment.
Do you notice how the symptoms arent just physical? It affects our entire being. We carry that stress in our minds and our bodies.
It can become trapped there if we dont find a better way to both cope with the stress and release our bodies of it. Stress doesnt have to take over our lives. We can take control. Scientists explain how to release stress trapped in your body.
Go Outside For A Few Minutes
Dr. Monique Tello, a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that sometimes, getting outside for a quick walk or fresh air is a great option to reduce stress quickly.
If someone is feeling very stressed and they have the chance to change their environment, get fresh air, see nature water, trees they should, Tello told TODAY. Exercise, take a brisk walk.
This strategy is great for people who feel restless or unable to concentrate and there are studies to support its effectiveness, she added.
Were always going to be faced with challenging situations, but they dont always have to stress us out, Tello said.
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Incorporate Deep Breathing Into Your Day
People who are stressed take short quick breaths and relaxed people generally have nice deep rhythmic breathing.
When you control your breathing it tells your body that you are safe and shuts down that fight or flight nervous system response.
If you dont know how to get started in deep breathing the Headspace App is a good way to get started. You can practice breathing exercises in the morning or before you go to bed.
If you find yourself in a stressful situation during the day, take a minute and go to the bathroom or your car and take some long slow deep breaths using your belly.
It tells your body you are safe and is one of the ways for you to learn how to relieve stress and anger in your body.
Just by being aware that you need to learn to control your stress and anger can make huge impacts on your life.
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.
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How To Practice Focused Meditation
Here are six tips to help you practice focused meditation. Based on your availability and interest, these tips may change and evolve. Thats the point: to create a structured practice that caters to your needs.
1. Find a Comfortable Seat
As with any meditation practice, comfort is truly key. The physical body responds to meditation practice by alerting you to whether it is comfortable and supported or stressed out and in pain. This is best observed in practitioners who tend to slouch and lose the tall, supported spine that is essential to meditation practice.
A simple rule in meditative sitting is to ensure that your hips are higher than your knees. Therefore, choosing to sit in a chair instead of on the floor may be a smart decision or perhaps propping yourself up on a cushion. For meditation techniques overall, it does not matter how you sit. All that matters is that you are supported and comfortable sitting for some time.
2. Choose Your Object of Focus
Every meditation training session is going to be different because no single day is the same for any one person. Therefore, experienced meditators know that choosing an object is more about listening to what you need at this time versus following any doctrine or rule.
3. Set Your Desired Time or Go With the Flow
Likewise, if you have the time, you can also listen to your body and come out of your meditation when you feel its right to do so. This is often a beautiful practice of listening and tuning in.