Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
Can Stress Be Positive
Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations.2 However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.
Excessive or prolonged stress can contribute to illness such as heart disease3 and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.4
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.
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Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
Practicing Even A Few Minutes Per Day Can Provide A Reserve Of Inner Calm
We all face stressful situations throughout our lives, ranging from minor annoyances like traffic jams to more serious worries, such as a loved one’s grave illness. No matter what the cause, stress floods your body with hormones. Your heart pounds, your breathing speeds up, and your muscles tense.
This so-called “stress response” is a normal reaction to threatening situations, honed in our prehistory to help us survive threats like an animal attack or a flood. Today, we rarely face these physical dangers, but challenging situations in daily life can set off the stress response. We can’t avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.
One way is to invoke the “relaxation response,” through a technique first developed in the 1970s at Harvard Medical School by cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson, editor of the Harvard Medical School Special Health Report Stress Management: Approaches for preventing and reducing stress. The relaxation response is the opposite of the stress response. It’s a state of profound rest that can be elicited in many ways. With regular practice, you create a well of calm to dip into as the need arises.
Following are six relaxation techniques that can help you evoke the relaxation response and reduce stress.
Read Also: How To Stop Chest Pain From Stress
What Is The Fastest Way To Relieve Stress
There are countless techniques for managing stress. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and exercise are just a few examples of stress-relieving activities that work wonders. But in the heat of the moment, during a high-pressured job interview, for example, or a disagreement with your spouse, you cant just excuse yourself to meditate or take a long walk. In these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible.
One of the speediest and most reliable ways to stamp out stress is to engage one or more of your sensessight, sound, taste, smell, touchor through movement. Since everyone is different, youll need to do some experimenting to discover which technique works best for youbut the payoff is huge. You can stay calm, productive, and focused when you know how to quickly relieve stress.
Social interaction is your bodys most evolved and surefire strategy for regulating the nervous system. Talking face-to-face with a relaxed and caring listener can help you quickly calm down and release tension. Although you cant always have a pal to lean on in the middle of a stressful situation, maintaining a network of close relationships is vital for your mental health. Between sensory-based stress relief and good listeners, youll have your bases covered.
Simple + Quick Ways To Reduce Stress Naturally
Effective stress management strategies should help you to naturally and quickly:
- Calm your mind,
- Refocus and be more present,
- Be aware of your thoughts and feelings,
- Gain control of your emotions , and
- Stay positive in the face of challenging and stressful circumstances.
This is what enables you to take back control. Luckily, the natural stress management strategies below all help with one or more of these areas.
Here are 20 easy and effective ways to reduce stress naturally, bounce back quickly and keep stress levels low:
Recommended Reading: What Stress Does To Your Brain
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!
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.
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Quick Stress Relief At Home
Entertaining. Prevent pre-party jitters by playing lively music. Light candles. The flicker and scent will stimulate your senses. Wear clothes that make you feel relaxed and confident.
Kitchen. Ease kitchen stress by breathing in the scent of every ingredient. Delight in the delicate texture of an eggshell. Appreciate the weight of an onion.
Children and relationships. Prevent losing your cool during a spousal spat by squeezing the tips of your thumb and forefinger together. When your toddler has a tantrum, rub lotion into your hands and breathe in the scent.
Sleep. Too stressed to snooze? Try using a white noise machine for background sound or a humidifier with a diffuser for a light scent in the air.
Creating a sanctuary. If clutter is upsetting, spend 10 minutes each day to tidy. Display photos and images that make you feel happy. Throw open the curtains and let in natural light.
What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
Read Also: What Are The Signs Of Stress And Anxiety
Government Of Canada’s Role
The Government of Canada works to help Canadians maintain and improve their mental health, including coping with stress. Within its jurisdiction, the Government of Canada works to:
- generate and disseminate knowledge, and support both knowledge generation and dissemination activities undertaken by other organizations
- strengthen the capacity of the primary health care, home care and acute care sectors to effectively deliver mental health programs and services
- provide leadership and governance
- develop social marketing campaigns
- conduct surveillance on health trends in the population
- In 2007, the federal government provided funding to establish and support a Mental Health Commission to lead the development of a national mental health strategy.
Make Time For Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
Recommended Reading: Can Stress Cause Hot Flashes
Effects Of Too Much Stress
“If constantly under stress, most of us will eventually start to function less well,” says Malaika Stoll, M.D., chief medical officer of SutterSelect. Multiple studies link chronic stress to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss and even premature death, so “it’s important to recognize the warning signals,” she says.
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress if youre experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Prolonged periods of poor sleep
- Regular, severe headaches
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Feelings of isolation, withdrawal or worthlessness
- Constant anger and irritability
- Loss of interest in activities
- Constant worrying or obsessive thinking
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Inability to concentrate
How Can I Identify The Signs Of Stress
Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:15
- feelings of constant worry or anxiety
- feelings of being overwhelmed
7. Dont be too hard on yourself
- Try to keep things in perspective.
- Remember that having a bad day is a universal human experience
- When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said
- If you stumble or feel you have failed, dont beat yourself up
- Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive
- Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself
Now, we would like to move on to a more detailed look at the causes and effects of stress. In this section we will focus on the effects prolonged stress has on your body, behaviour and emotions, and look at key causes such as relationships, money, work, alcohol and drug use.
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Offline Is The New Luxury
Ask yourself: How many times did it happen that you aimlessly and unconsciously clicked on the Facebook or Instagram app on your smartphone?
With WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and co. were not only permanently hooked to our smartphones, but we are also expected to always be available, anytime and anywhere. In doing so, we expose ourselves to an incredible flood of information, which we can barely handle. If you check your emails or messages regularly, youre putting yourself under unnecessary pressure and create stress.
The information that pours down on you from all directions is a burden to your mind. On the one hand, because you feel compelled to answer and on the other hand, because some of this information will make you think of something completely different and thus defocus you.
If you feel like you need a break, turn off your smartphone. The world wont end just because you cant be reached for several hours.
Tips And Ways How To Reduce Stress Naturally
We teach mindfulness for free and use scientific studies for our articles
Youre often under stress and dont know how to deal with it properly? Dont worry you are not alone. Work, family, busy schedules, exams or important sales talks are testing your stress residence day after day.
We hope that stress is not part of your everyday life, as an increased stress level can have serious long-term consequences for your health. Thats why you should always pay attention to your personal stress level and take the right measures in time to reduce stress in the long run.
In this article, we have prepared 15 useful tips for coping with stress. Before we go into these tips in detail, well explain what stress is and what symptoms it causes. We have also added an extra chapter on stress at work, as many people suffer from it.
Jump ahead to any of the sections below:
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Whats Causing So Much Stress
Lets face it: work demands are getting worse. Youre expected to do more and work harder with even tighter deadlines.
And if youre anything like my ambitious clients, you set high standards for yourself .
Additionally, your life is jam-packed with personal obligations that constantly pull at you. This always-on-the-go lifestyle leaves little time for personal renewal.
So, how can you juggle it all yet stay positive and relatively stress-free? What you need are simple, effective strategies that work quickly to naturally reduce stress, get you back on track and keep stress levels low.
Stress Management Isnt Just About Stress Relief
Heres the thing: learning how to reduce stress wont help all that much if you cant keep stress levels low for the long-haul.
Stress has a ripple effect . The key to effective stress management is to help reduce much of this ripple effect. That will ultimately help you to remain calm, think rationally and respond appropriately so that you can more quickly bounce back instead of allowing stress to take control of you and emotionally react.
And thats what control is really all about. Controlling your thoughts and emotions. You cant be in control of your life if you dont first learn to manage your stress levels.
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What Causes Anxiety Twitching
Anxiety causes your nervous system to release neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that your body uses to send messages between neurons, or between neurons and muscles.
Some types of neurotransmitters will tell your muscles to move. When you have anxiety, neurotransmitters may be released even when theres no clear reason for them to be released. This is what can cause anxiety twitching.
Another reason anxiety can cause muscle twitching is because it can cause you to hyperventilate. Muscle twitching is one symptom of hyperventilation.
If your twitching happens long-term or interferes with your daily life, your doctor may be able to help. To diagnose your condition, theyll first take a medical history, which will include:
- questions about your symptoms
- when symptoms started
- details about the twitching
If youre also experiencing anxiety with the twitching, be sure to tell your doctor. That might be enough for them to diagnose you with twitching related to anxiety. However, they might still do tests to rule out other conditions.
These tests may include:
- blood tests to look for electrolyte problems or thyroid issues
- an electromyogram , which looks at how well your muscles work
- a CT scan or MRI of your brain or spine
- a nerve conduction test, to see if your nerves are working correctly
If you have anxiety and other potential causes of twitching can be ruled out, your doctor will likely be able to diagnose you with anxiety twitching.