When To Seek Professional Help For Stress
Around 41.4 million U.S. adults received mental health treatment or counseling in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesSAMHSA releases 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Accessed 5/5/2022. .
If youve tried to reduce stress on your own but are still feeling overwhelmed, you arent alone. Its imperative to seek support from qualified professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and primary care doctors. Untreated stress can become chronic, says Dr. Loper, leading to low-grade inflammation associated with high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and addiction, among other adverse health consequences.
Psychiatrists may prescribe medication to help you cope with acute stress and anxiety, as well as other diagnoses. Meanwhile, psychologists, therapists and counselors can provide relief with various forms of talk therapy. Holistic health practitionerssuch as acupuncturists, Chinese medicine practitioners, naturopathic doctors and massage therapistscan provide relief, too.
Many will suggest that a person seek help once functional impairment begins at work, home school, says Fanike-Kiara Olugbala Young, D.B.H., a licensed clinical social worker and holistic trauma therapist in Roswell, Georgia. However, we know ourselves better than anyone else, so I suggest seeking support when the feelings of not being able to cope first begin.
Snuggle Your Face In Your Dog’s Fur
Or say a simple prayer to yourself, or lace up your shoes for a quick walk, or run. The point: Do something that makes you feel relaxed, says Dr. Van Niel. It’s also important to remember that everyone is different, so what is a relaxing activity for you might not be so for someone else.
“For some, this is a quick workout, but for others, it’s a meditation session,” says Dr. Van Niel, adding that reading a favorite book might also be an option. Figure out what works to calm you down, and have it in your back pocket for particularly stressful days.
What Does It Mean To Be Stress
The notion that someone could be entirely stress-free is up for debate. If a person cares about anything at all, its likely they will, at some point, experience stress in regard to it.
Life can be tough and unpredictable. Many of the challenging circumstances we face are outside our control, but that doesnt mean we have to let the pressure of those situations overwhelm us.
There are ways to cope that help us persevere through adversity, and these techniques are worth investigating for the sake of our mental and physical health. Even if its impossible to be completely stress-free, we can still reap several benefits from striving for it.
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Good Daytime Habits For Relieving Nighttime Stress
In addition to relaxation techniques, there are steps you can take during the day to relieve stress at night. A common aid is to exercise during the day. In addition to other health benefits, daytime exercise has been linked to better sleep in patients with generalized anxiety disorders. Exercise can also assist with issues such as insomnia. Another strategy for sleep hygiene overall is to wake up at a regular time. Even on the weekends, research shows that consistent wake times are an important component of sleep hygiene.
Keep in mind there is no exact schedule for how quickly youll be able to feel less stressed and anxious before going to sleep. However, consistent practice of relaxing techniques can help long-term. If you have questions or concerns about which strategy or strategies are right for you, consult your physician.
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Do Something To Make Yourself Laugh
Think back to the last time you laughedand I mean laughed . You probably felt way less stressed in that moment, right?
There’s a reason: People often hold a lot of their stress in their face, and laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension, according to the APA.
That’s why Chapman says scheduling time to interact with family on FaceTime or playing with friends on the Nintendo Switch should be a regular activity. Talking to and laughing with family and friends will get rid of those not-so-positive thoughts that can come with feeling isolated and stressed.
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What Are The Long
Too much stress over an extended period of time can cause a number of issues, including anxiety, depression, headaches and sleep problems. People who are constantly stressed may also struggle with memory and concentration.
“Because their brain is so preoccupied with having to worry about the things that keep triggering them, their normal way of processing information is interrupted,” Dr. Drummond says. People who are constantly stressed often have trouble holding on to information or remembering what someone said shortly after they’ve said it.
Chronic stress can also increase the risk of serious health problems like heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke.
How Can We Handle Stress In Healthy Ways
Stress serves an important purpose it enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. But lengthy exposure to stress may lead to mental health difficulties like anxiety and depression, or increased physical health problems.
A large body of research suggests that increased stress levels interfere with your ability to deal with physical illness, says Dr. Borland. While no one can avoid all stress, you can work to handle it in healthy ways that increase your potential to recover.
1. Eat and drink to optimize your health
Some people try to reduce stress by drinking alcohol or eating too much. These actions may seem to help in the moment, but actually may add to stress in the long run. Caffeine also can compound the effects of stress. While consuming a healthy, balanced diet can help combat stress.
2. Exercise regularly
In addition to having physical health benefits, exercise has been shown to be a powerful stress reliever. Consider noncompetitive aerobic exercise, strengthening with weights or movement activities like yoga or Tai Chi, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins natural substances that help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude.
3. Stop using tobacco and nicotine products
4. Study and practice relaxation techniques
5. Reduce triggers of stress
6. Examine your values and live by them
7. Assert yourself
8. Set realistic goals and expectations
9. Sell yourself to yourself
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Natural Ways To Relieve Stress According To A Leading Integrative Md
Stress comes at you all day, from every angle, now more than ever. Constant worry over money, job security, family, and health keeps your stress system on high alert all the time and it feels like you can never calm down. That can lock you in a never-ending stress cycle and likely searching for natural ways to relieve stress.
Chronic stress makes you feel awful mentally, emotionally, and physically. It can even change the way your body manages stress, making it much harder to break the stress cycle.
Plus, long-term stress adds an extra strain on your body. It takes an enormous toll on your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to any infection thats going around. And when youre already feeling anxious and worried, the last thing you need is a stressed-out immune system.
Unfortunately, you cant avoid stress completely. But you can take specific steps to help your mind and body calm down even in the face of non-stop stressors.
Simple Ways To Relieve Stress
Are you looking for ways to relieve stress? Were here to help. Our ever-changing world environment introduces new stressors that compound in our everyday life. Turning on the news can be overwhelming things outside of your control can cause you stress. From affecting your mood and making you feel sad or irritable, to physical complications like causing upset stomach and heartburn, stress can be detrimental to our overall health and well-being. Thankfully, there are a number of simple ways to relieve stress, many of which are quick and easy enough to fit into your day-to-day routine. Discover five of our favorite ways to reduce stress when you explore the info below.
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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.
Threat Stress And Challenge Stress
Not all stress is negative, and encouraging a sweeping policy of stress avoidance may actually do more harm than good. This can be illustrated by considering the difference between âthreat stressâ and âchallenge stressâ .
Threat stress is associated with fear, alarm, and negative emotion, and represents a response to situations in which an individual feels overwhelmed and at risk of harm. This stress is harmful and should be considered a legitimate therapeutic target.
In contrast, challenge stress is associated with situations in which an individual may feel a certain amount of apprehension, but simultaneously feels an exciting or otherwise compelling drive to face the situation and overcome its difficulties.
While nevertheless uncomfortable, this stress is constructive and can be a force for self-improvement and growth. Encouraging an individual to avoid challenge stress could lead to stagnation and the inability to confront difficult but ultimately therapeutic experiences.
For more on positive stress, we recommend spending a few minutes reading through our article on eustress.
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How To Better Cope With Stress In The Moment
Pay attention to these signs. It is important to recognize the physiological signs of stress and address these symptoms in the moment to alleviate the potential harmful effects, Dr. Sieka says.
The goal of stress management here is to acknowledge the feeling and then dial down those physiological changes and approach the challenge rationally with your mind , explains Melissa Dowd, a licensed marriage and family therapist and the San Franciscobased therapy lead at PlushCare, a virtual health platform.
If your reaction to stress sticks around even after the trigger is gone , short-term stress can become chronic, Dowd says.
Stress that is not handled well and continues without relief can lead to chronic stress and contribute to physical concerns, such as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, and high blood pressure, and mental health problems, such as irritability, depression, anxiety, and substance use, Sieka says.
Dowd says some people are more prone to chronic stress. This can be due to genetics, life experiences, and unhealthy coping mechanisms, she says.
Its good to have a few tricks up your sleeve that can help you de-escalate stressful situations quickly, such as squeezing a stress ball, distracting yourself with fidget spinners, cueing up a mindfulness app, and trying deep-breathing exercises.
How To Be Stress Free: 10 Ways To Help
Everyone today is looking for ways to overcome stress. Ideally, people would want to retire to the beaches of Hawaii and live a stress-free life, but the reality is different. Retirees continue to deal with serious stress that plague them in the form of poor health, boredom, concerns about finance, or annoying neighbors at the assisted living home. Whether you are a retiree or you are still young, you should always learn to release the stress and be healthy both physically and mentally.
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Add Meditation To Your Routine
Youve heard it before because its true: Meditation can be majorly beneficial when it comes to lowering your stress levels overall, Carmichael says. Meditation allows us to focus on something while keeping a certain mental distance from it, Carmichael says. This means its great for when youre stressed, as it can both pull you out of your mind and be present, while also helping you mitigate stress through breathing techniques and affirmations.
For this reason, Carmichael recommends implementing meditation both in the moment youre stressed and as a part of your daily routine. Ideally, you want to meditate before youre stressed, Carmichael says, meaning that you want to use it as a way to reduce chronic stress overall by becoming a more mindful person. Pro tip: Try making it a part of your day using helpful apps like Calm, which can send you reminders to meditate in case you forget.
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.
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Quick Ways To Reduce Stress
Taking care of your long-term mental and physical health is an important part of stress management. However, there isnt always time to take a nap, hike a fourteener, or read a novel. Thus, here are 25 ways to reduce stress in five minutes or less. From eating chocolate to meditating, there is a quick stress-relieving tactic for everyone.
1. BreatheSlow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique is supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body.
2. Listen to Music No matter what the song, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune makes everything seem all right. If youre in a public place, just listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood. Classical music can be especially relaxing right before bedtime.
3. Take a Quick Walk When youre feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. Youll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
4. Find the Sun If its a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy people.
8. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball You can get an impromptu, relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball.
12. Be Alone
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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Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.