Take Action: Get Active
Regular physical activity can help prevent and manage stress. It can also help relax your muscles and improve your mood. So get active:
- Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity try going for a bike ride or taking a walk
- Do strengthening activities like push-ups or lifting weights at least 2 days a week
Remember, any amount of physical activity is better than none!
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Getting Started With Exercise
Before we dive into how exercise reduces stress and how it can even be used to combat depression and anxiety, a word of caution.
If you arent currently exercising, talk to your healthcare provider before doing anything too intense. Thats particularly true if you are older, overweight, or have other health conditions like cardiovascular disease.
This isnt only so that you dont hurt yourself. Your healthcare provider can help you pick exercises that are right for your fitness level and health. Well also talk later in the article about how a healthcare provider can help you set goals for your activity to make you feel even better in general, and about yourself.
That having been said, most of the exercises that have proven best at reducing stress are milder exercises like swimming, yoga, and running. The most intensive of these is running something that you can ease into if youre not doing it already.
The Mind-Body Connection
Your nervous system responsible for how you think and feel as well as how your body works runs on chemical messengers called hormones and neurotransmitters. There are subtle differences between the two, but thats beyond the scope of todays article.
The important thing is that both of these groups of chemical messengers have influence on both your body and your mind. Your body releases them in response to certain stimuli, including physical exertion. In otherwise, moving your body can change your mind and emotions.
S Leaders Can Take To Reduce Stress
What can school leaders do to help reduce student stress?
Ask and listen
First, it is necessary to assess the stress level students and teachers feel. Start dialogues earlyeither in one-on-one conversations or small group settings.
Listen to what students and faculty say by asking open-ended questions, allowing them to freely express how they feel. Dig deeper by asking how often they feel stressed throughout the dayand when they feel most stressed. This can give you insight into where to focus your efforts to reduce stress.
Analyze the student experience
Next, you want to take a good hard look at the student experience at your school. Today, students in grades 712 have more input when choosing their educational path. This is especially true at the high school level, where students and families often form relationships that exist inside and outside the classroom.
If students arent having a positive experience due to stress or other factors, they can decide to leave. To add insult to injury, their friends can follow them.
School should not be a stressful place for your students or your faculty
Your programs and schedule must provide downtime for students and faculty to recharge. These breaks in the day provide time for collaboration and comradery in the school community.
Tune in to live webinars every Wednesday during the school year to get specific, research-backed insight you can immediately apply at your school.
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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.
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
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Why Is Stress Relief Important
It seems like a no-brainer, reducingstress levels.
While we are all different, and all comefrom backgrounds with our unique take on the world, stress is something thatanyone can suffer from, at any time. It doesnt matter if you are a studentstudying for exams if you have just lost your job, or something has upset youmore than usual, it can affect anyone.
The problem is the more stressed you are,the more susceptible you are to stress-related illnesses. These include thelikes of heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and depression amongothers.
The benefits for your brain areplentiful, and this is the same for your overall health.
Stress has links to more than half of allillnesses, which put a strain on not only your body but also your wallet. Themedical costs from stress-related diseases are enormous.
Stress can affect your health in other ways as well.
Itt can lower your immunity. You are more likely to suffer from illness if you are stressed as your body does not have the same capability to fight it off.
It is also advises that stress can result in comfort eating, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. These can all have a severe effect on your health, making stress relief even more significant.
Other issues that can be caused by stressinclude increased anxiety and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
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
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Acute Versus Chronic Stress
The experience of stress can be either acute or chronic. Acute stress usually occurs in response to a short-term stressor, like a car accident or an argument with your spouse. Acute stress can be very distressing, but it passes quickly and typically responds well to coping techniques like calming breathing or brisk physical activity.
Chronic stress occurs when stressors dont let up. The roots of chronic stress can vary widely, from situations people can control or avoid to difficulties that are hard to escape . Because people respond differently to stressful circumstances, a situation that one person might find tolerable can become a source of chronic stress for another.
Chronic stress can damage both mental and physical health. Being chronically stressed may leave you feeling fatigued, sap your ability to concentrate and cause headaches and digestive difficulties. People prone to irritable bowel syndrome often find that their symptoms spike with psychological stress.15 Though acute stress can heighten certain immune responses, the wear-and-tear of chronic stress is bad for the immune system.16 Chronic stress can also affect cardiac health, with multiple studies finding a link between chronic stress and the development of coronary artery disease.17
The American Psychological Association gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Beverly Thorn, PhD, in developing this fact sheet.
Meditation Connects You To Your True Self
From a spiritual perspective, the ultimate purpose of meditation is to awaken to your true self. Although its natural to identify yourself with your body, mind, thoughts, emotions, personality, possessions, accomplishments, relationships, and preferences, these time-bound attributes arent who you really are. Your true self is pure, unbounded consciousness, which transcends space and time. Pure consciousness is also known as the field of all possibilities. The attributes of this field include happiness, love, timelessness, compassion, creativity, wisdom, peace, silence, and grace. You are already pure love, pure peace, and pure awareness. You have simply forgotten who you are.
When you spend time in the inner silence of meditation, you begin to have a spontaneous experience of the attributes of your true self. Instead of getting stuck in constricted awareness, which limits your possibilities, you experience expanded or pure awareness, which is the field of all possibilities. This awakening to your true self is usually gradual. Little by little, you release the stress and limiting thought patterns that obscure your awareness of your essential nature, which is always there, shining brightly.
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The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
Affordable Online Therapy for Stress
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Reading Takes You Away From Reality
The fact is, your current circumstancesmight be what you need an escape from.
If your life feels stressful, then youcould probably do with the relaxing escapism that reading provides. Youranxiety can feel all-consuming and hard to escape from, which is why reading isso beneficial to stress.
It allows you to be taken away to adifferent time, land or even city and can give you some time living in someoneelses shoes for a while. When you get truly lost in a good book, you forgetabout your worries for a while.
It might be just for a matter of minutes,but when life is tough these minutes matter.
Other Strategies You Can Implement
Recruiting and retaining great teachers
Teachers are becoming harder and harder to find and retain. They are your number one asset. Recruiting and retaining teachers builds a positive school culture and has a powerful impact on your school culture and student stress.
There are many programs that can help schools take charge of stress. Benefits providers often have dollars set aside for mental health and wellness. These programs are effective and can help students better cope with the world around them.
Handling stress in your school requires leadership and action. Know how much stress students are under and how they are coping. Your students experience is your top priority ensure their school day enriches their education. Maximize your schedule to benefit the entire school community. These steps will start you down the path of successfully reducing stress in your students.
How Can Listening To Music Reduce Stress
Stress the feeling of emotional tension, overwhelm, or feeling unable to cope affects us mentally and physically.
Stress has a biological impact that causes your body to release specific hormones and chemicals that activate your brain in certain ways. For example, when we are highly stressed, our heart rate and blood pressure can go up, and our adrenal gland begins producing cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Short term, cortisol can help us find the focus and energy we need to deal with a difficult situation, but when the body is exposed to excess cortisol for a prolonged period of time, it causes perpetual, exhausting states of fight, flight, or freeze. Ongoing or chronic stress can lead to developing an anxiety disorder, depression, chronic pain, and more.
Across time and space, music has had tremendous success as a tool for stress relief. While some types of music such as classical and ambient have long been studied for their calming effects, listening to your personal favorite music of any genre also has benefits.
- lower our heart rate and cortisol levels
- release endorphins and improve our sense of well-being
- distract us, reducing physical and emotional stress levels
- reduce stress-related symptoms, whether used in a clinical environment or in daily life
Some recent findings include the following:
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An Essential Oil Diffuser For A Calming Atmosphere
Oil diffusers are not cure-alls, but aromatherapy is thought to help improve physical and emotional health. Our favorite oil diffuser from Airomé Serenity is easy to use and can run continuously for eight hours. To experiment with different scents, snag a multipack of essential oils, like one from Artnaturals, which includes lavender, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree, frankincense, sweet orange, lemongrass, and eucalyptus.
What Effect Does Scheduling Have On Stress
Designing an optimal schedule is difficult. Changes occur in the school community every year. The number of students increases, making it harder to use space efficiently. As programs grow, schedules often become more about particular subject areas or specific departments than what makes the most sense for students.
Teachers make demands about when and where they prefer to lecture. Parents push for their children to take on more classes. As these demands accumulate, the schedule is strained, and the students are as well.
Building breaks into the day, securing time for clubs and leisure, and using classrooms becomes more difficult as the school day becomes more hectic.
Parents pay for private school so their children can receive the unique experience your program offers.
If students cannot fit desired classes into their schedule, they are not getting what their parents paid for. But without performance opportunities such as athletics, music, and drama, children miss out on an environment in which they can grow into well-rounded adults.
Maximizing the schedule enhances the student experience.
You should analyze your schedule every year and ensure that your scheduler has the power and flexibility to make decisions that put the children first. Teachers may prefer to teach in specific classrooms, but student needs take precedence.
Educate parents about the consequences of building too much into their childrens schedules.
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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
A Book Of Word Searches To Distract Your Mind
A fun mental challenge can help alleviate negativity and give you a clear objective to focus your mind on. This “Brain Games” book features 84 word search puzzles on a variety of themes thatll keep you engaged even when youre head is spinning. Whether youre on a lunch break or on the couch after a long day, crack open the book for a quick sleuth session.
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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.
How Does Exercise Reduce Stress
Unless youre big into the wellness world we tend to have a pretty dualistic view of ourselves. Seventeenth-century French Philosopher René Descartes would love that we dont often talk about physical and mental health in the same sentence unless were saying something bad.
What do you do when you feel stressed? Put on some music? Try to clear your head? Theyre great places to start. But doing physical activities, like running or lifting weights can also lift your spirits. Well explore how it works and how to take advantage of it.
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