Stop Putting Off Exercise
Exercise can help you to feel less stressed in the short run and build your resilience toward stress in the long run. Many people know this but have a difficult time getting off the couch on a regular basis, especially when stressed, or too busy to get onto the couch in the first place.
It’s ironic that sometimes when we would most benefit from exercise, that’s the last thing we want to do. Push yourself to do it!
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
Can Anxiety Cause Chest Pain
You may be relieved to find that the answer is YES.
Chest pain is one of the common anxiety symptoms, along with a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and dizziness.
How Does anxiety chest pain happen?
People having anxiety or panic attacks are prone to hyperventilation caused by the fight or flight response. This contracts blood vessels and may cause considerable chest pain.
General anxiety disorder is usually accompanied by poorer digestion and bloating. Bloating can increase the pressure on the lungs and lead to chest pain.
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The symptoms of an anxiety attack will respond to anxiety-control techniques, like deep breathing and relaxation exercises.
Here is one powerful technique to get immediate anxiety chest pain relief:
1. Sit with your back straight and your hands in your lap or on your thighs. Close your eyes. While doing this keep the tip of your tongue touching the top of your mouth.
When you inhale do it through your nose. Exhale through your mouth. Ready?
2. Start inhaling slowly for 4 seconds . Push out your stomach and fill your lower lungs first. Then the rest of the lungs are filled.
Hold your breath until you count to 7.
Exhale comfortably for 8 seconds.
Try to imagine that all the anxiety is leaving your body while you are exhaling. You are letting it go.
Pause for 2 seconds without inhaling and do this one more time.
Repeat until you feel your chest pain gone. And it will be!
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Tend To Your Spirituality
If you consider yourself spiritual, developing your faith can also help improve cortisol levels.
Studies show that adults who expressed spiritual faith experienced lower cortisol levels in the face of life stressors such as illness (
If you do not consider yourself spiritual, these benefits may also be available through meditation, developing a social support group, and performing acts of kindness .
For those with spiritual inclinations, developing faith and participating in prayer can help manage cortisol. Whether youre spiritual or not, performing acts of kindness can also improve your cortisol levels.
How Can I Stop Stressing
Stress is natural and can be good for you in small doses. However, too much stress can have negative health effects. Here are some ways to stop stressing when it feels like a channel in your brain that won’t turn off.
- Set some goals to stop your stressors if you’re able to control them. If you can’t, realize that there are some parts of your life that you cannot change.
- Get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise. This can help lower your stress levels.
- Take some time to unwind and focus on something that keeps you entertained or distracts you.
- Drugs and alcohol aren’t a way for you to escape from your stressors. A drink in moderation isn’t bad, but don’t drink every day excessively to get away.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your stress, be it to a therapist or a friend. By expressing your feelings, there’s a good chance you’ll grow stronger as a result.
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Best Tips For Relieving Nighttime Stress
There are numerous strategies for relieving nighttime stress and anxiety before bedtime. If youre feeling too stressed to sleep, these approaches can help you relax. Some sleepers use only one or two of these relaxation strategies while others practice a combination of them. If stress and sleep are a chronic concern, your physician can help you determine what the best approach is for you.
Stupid Stress: Taking On The Worlds Suffering
8. Recognize that it takes time to combat feeling stressed out and upset. Although you may quickly see your pattern of upset, you may persist with it despite a heartfelt desire to do differently right away. It normally takes intent, time, and work to make progress. When you accept this reality, give yourself two progress points.
9. Test healthy and sensible corrective thoughts through action. Regularly take concrete corrective actions, by, say, toning down the rhetoric of upset by using less dramatic language. See if these “experiments” lead to less upset and greater self-control. Give yourself five progress points for actively experimenting with techniques to decrease upset thinking.
10. Guard against slipping back. Each day do a quick self-check: Do I regularly address situations constructively and avoid upset? Do I proactively cope by revising upsetting exaggerations and exasperating expectations before they spread like parasitic mental viruses? Do I act as if I could roll with the punches? Can I accept—not like—bad situations without giving myself extra stress over them? Do I act with reasonable consistency using this problem-prevention approach? Give yourself ten progress points for changing course by daily following a prevention pathway.
How Do the Points Add Up?
Use the following as rules of thumb for where you stand on combatting parasitic upsets:
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Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
Rule Out Anything Medical
While shaking can be a symptom of anxiety, excessive and uncontrollable shaking is sometimes due to a medical condition. First, see your primary care physician to rule out anything medical.
All of the tips listed here are safe to try for most people when shaking is caused by temporary nerves or an anxiety disorder. If you don’t feel like you have anxiety, you may want to talk to a doctor to find another possible cause for your shaking that requires specific treatment. Otherwise, talking to a mental health professional can help you manage your anxiety and stop shaking in the long-term.
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Tip : Identify Your Stress Response
Internally, we all respond the same way to the fight-or-flight stress response: your blood pressure rises, your heart pumps faster, and your muscles constrict. Your body works hard and drains your immune system. Externally, however, people respond to stress in different ways.
The best way to quickly relieve stress often relates to your specific stress response:
Overexcited stress response: If you tend to become angry, agitated, overly emotional, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down.
Underexcited stress response: If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and energizing.
The immobilization or frozen stress response
Tip : Find Sensory Inspiration
Having trouble identifying sensory techniques that work for you? Look for inspiration around you, from your sights as you go about your day to memories from your past.
Memories. Think back to what you did as a child to calm down. If you had a blanket or stuffed toy, you might benefit from tactile stimulation. Try tying a textured scarf around your neck before an appointment or keeping a piece of soft suede in your pocket.
Watch others. Observing how others deal with stress can give you valuable insight. Baseball players often pop gum before going up to bat. Singers often chat up the crowd before performing. Ask people you know how they stay focused under pressure.
Parents. Think back to what your parents did to blow off steam. Did your mother feel more relaxed after a long walk? Did your father work in the yard after a hard day?
The power of imagination. Once drawing upon your sensory toolbox becomes habit, try simply imagining vivid sensations when stress strikes. The memory of your babys face will have the same calming or energizing effects on your brain as seeing her photo. When you can recall a strong sensation, youll never be without a quick stress relief tool.
Take a break from technology
Taking a short hiatus from the television, computer, and cell phone will give you insight on what your senses respond to best.
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Build Strong Positive Relationships With People Who Make You Feel Goodand Avoid Those Who Dont
Research suggests that stress builds up over time, through multiple small interactions with others. By themselves, few single incidents are intrinsically stressful. However, put them together, and the story is very different.
It is hard to avoid these micro-stressors, because they are too frequent and too pervasive. However, there are ways to address them, and the most important is to focus on your relationships with others. Research suggests that the two most important things you can do are to build strong relationships and connections with people who make you feel good, and avoid those who dont.
There is more about this in our page on Micro-Stressors.
What Happens When Cortisol Is High
Over the last 20 years, studies have increasingly revealed that moderate to high cortisol levels may lead to an array of health issues, such as :
- Chronic disease. Long-term increased cortisol may increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases.
- Weight gain. Cortisol may increase appetite and signal the body to shift metabolism to store fat.
- Lack of energy/difficulty sleeping. It can interfere with sleep hormones which may impact sleep quality and length.
- Difficulty concentrating. Also referred to as brain fog, some people report trouble focusing and lack of mental clarity.
- Impaired immune system. Increased cortisol can hamper the immune system, making it more difficult to fight infections.
- Cushings syndrome. In rare cases, very high cortisol levels can lead to Cushings syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
Elevated cortisol levels can be caused from many underlying issues such as overactivity or cancer of the pituitary or adrenal glands, chronic stress, and medication side effects .
Further, existing chronic disease may lead to higher cortisol levels, causing a chicken or the egg type of scenario .
Therefore, its best to work with a qualified health professional to establish the root cause of your health issues. Along with this, you may want to introduce some effective lifestyle habits that may help you better manage your cortisol levels. Here are some recommendations:
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Signs Its Time To Seek Help
Even with a good self-management plan, sometimes you may need more support. A mental health professional can be a great resource, but theyre particularly important to see more urgently if you have thoughts of self-harm or feel drawn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Seek help right away if you have suicidal thoughts. Call your healthcare provider or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK . Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or go to the nearest emergency room.
Remember: Chronic stress is something many people experience, but it doesnt mean you have to slog through it, and certainly not alone. The sooner you get care and prioritize your own healing, the sooner you can feel more like yourself.
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Taking Steps To Manage Stress
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How To Stop Feeling So Stressed
Stress is the result of stressful thinking
The term stress was first used by Dr. Hans Seyle in the 1930s to describe the physiological responses to situations that people judged to be stress–full. Toward the end of his career, Seyle was asked at a medical conference about how to eliminate stress.
‘If anyone tells you they can eliminate your stress, run,’ he replied. ‘What they are really saying is that they want to kill you. The absence of stress is not health, its death.
So if youre feeling a little stressed right now, dont wish all your stress away. Rather take a minute to rethink how youre thinking about what youre finding stress-ful.
Reassess perceived threats
To help you think smarter about whatever you have going on start by asking yourself whether youre over estimating the challenges coming your way or under-estimating your ability to handle them. Or perhaps both.
Psychologists have found that our stress levels are directly linked to the extent to which we assess our resources are being threatened or depleted or will become insufficient to meet a threatreal or perceived. In other words, its not that any particular person, event or circumstance is in itself stressful, but rather the assessment we make of our ability to cope with that event.
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.
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Smile Like You Mean It
Dont roll your eyes the next time someone advises you to grin and bear it. In times of tension, keeping a smile on your face especially a genuine smile thats formed by the muscles around your eyes as well as your mouth reduces your bodys stress responses, even if you dont feel happy. Smiling also helps lower heart rates faster once your stressful situation ends.
What Can We Control
It’s important that you focus on what you can control. Without getting too deep about freewill and whatnot, here are a few things that you’re able to control.
- Your mindset. While there are some aspects of your personality you cannot change, you can train your brain to be more mindful, empathetic, and open to new ideas.
- To an extent, your health. You can choose to eat right and exercise. Certain life circumstances can make this easier or harder, but for the most part, it can be done in the end.
- Your skills. You can learn new skills for a job and go on a journey to the career of your dreams.
- Your thoughts. Using mindfulness or cognitive behavioral therapy, you can learn how to acknowledge that your thoughts are there and not let them control your life.
- Who you choose to associate with. While you can’t control your family, you can control your friends and who you decide to talk to.
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