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.”
Eat A Nutritious Diet
Nutrition can influence cortisol for better or for worse.
While all foods can be enjoyed in moderation, being mindful of the foods you eat may alleviate symptoms of stress and help you better manage your cortisol levels.
Regular high added-sugar intake may result in elevated cortisol levels. Interestingly, a high sugar diet may also suppress cortisol release during stressful events, making it more difficult for your body to handle stressful situations (
For better gut and mental health, opt for a nutrient-dense diet full of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and foods high in prebiotics and probiotics.
What Can Prolonged Stress Lead To
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.3 This means it is important to manage your stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to your body and mind.
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These Fun And Effective Ideas Will Help When Anxiety Is Getting The Best Of You
I dont know about you, but even in normal, not particularly chaotic times, I know when Im stressedmy shoulders tense up and fuse with my ears, my digestion gets wonky, and according to my boyfriend and kids, I become especially delightful to be around. Stress looks different for different people, but its usually some version of your brain and body crankily pushing back against all youre trying to manage.
The question is, what can we do to relieve stress, especially if were stuck inside? Because not to stress you out further, but both chronic and acute stress can have negative impacts on our health, and can lead us to engage in less-than-wise escapist habits.
When we think about the body on stress, its really fuel for the fight-or-flight response, says Debra Kissen, Ph.D., the co-chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of Americas education committee and co-author of Rewire Your Anxious Brain For Teens. This is helpful when we have to get in gear to, say, lift a car off a small child or flee an ax-wielding horror movie villain. Its just that when our brain continues to feel that were in danger when were not, that stress starts to create all kinds of physical and emotional problems. Add anxietydread and worry about what may happen nextand that doesnt help our stress levels.
Thats why we asked the experts for their best stress-relieving activities that you can have at the ready, even if you cant get outside.
Snuggle Kiss Or Hug Someone You Love
A strong support network is a great way to beat stress during a rough time. One study shows that social support is a hugely effective stress management mechanism with students learning to cope with stress. Another study showed that frequent hugs from a partner can lower blood pressure. Kick-start that support by cuddling up with someone you love. Knowing someone is there is often enough to help you manage your stress more effectively.
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Immerse Yourself In Sensory Details
As you imagine your scene, try to involve all of your senses. What does it look like? How does it feel? What special scents are involved? Do you hear the roar of a fire, the splash of a waterfall, or the sounds of chipper birds? Make your vision so real you can even taste it!
Effects Of Uncontrolled Stress
Work-related stress doesnt just disappear when you head home for the day. When stress persists, it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity, and heart disease. Compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.
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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.
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.
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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
How Does Stress Influence Health
A little bit of stress can actually be useful at times, but unregulated stress permeates every aspect of your life and health.
Any stressful situation, whether its persistent traffic on your commute to work or a silly fight with a spouse, puts your body into a state of fight or flight.
This type of reaction, to either fight or run away, was very valuable when we were hunter-gatherers facing real dangers and trying to survive in the wilderness.
In order to stay safe, our bodies jump into action at any sign of danger.
To prepare for running away , our bodies increase our heart rate, slow down digestion, and spike a series of hormones to allow for the strength and stamina to swiftly get out of the situation.
This is a really useful reaction when running away from predators. But, nowadays the stress we face isnt quite as evidently lethal as an attacking cave bear.
Modern stress is much more mental and low grade, think of things like:
- moving to a new home,
- world events,
- traumatic events, etc.
. . . this is what we struggle with in exchange for a civilized way of life.
All these worries mean our stress hormones are constantly being elevated and are subsequently being manifested in symptoms that youve probably experienced but attributed to other, more tangible causes.
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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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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.
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Stop Being Too Unconscious To Appreciate Life
For the sake of your sanity, its important to take a moment every day to step away from the repetition of daily life and savor the sweetness in each day.
Life is to be enjoyed, and to be fully lived you have to take time to notice the beauty that life has on offer.
Friendships are beautiful, love is beautiful.
Cherish and appreciate the magic in living by looking for the best, the good in everything.
Life gets easier when you are thankful and appreciative for it.
Get A Stock Of Your Situation
One of the reasons why you might be facing stress as a student is because you may have let all your deliverables pile up over the months due to procrastination or other reasons. Even if that is not true and you have submissions waiting around the corner, the best thing you can do in such situations where there is a severe time constraint is to first take stock of your situation. Ask yourself the following questions:
Once you have a blueprint ready in mind, you must start working towards your goals. The reason why things look overwhelming is that we often tend to fixate on our own perceptions and do not try to broaden our perspectives. Organising your thoughts and things to do will help you foresee and deliver on time.
Surround Yourself With Positivity
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What Is A ‘stress’ Headache And How Can You Treat It
It’s the most common type of headache you can getbut the term “stress” headache isn’t entirely accurate.
Right now, stress feels like the new normaland more stress in your life can lead to changes in your health.
Headaches in particular are often brought about by increased stress levels, but while “stress headaches” may be a good description of what’s going on in your body, it’s not an entirely accurate diagnosis. Here’s what you need to know about headaches triggered by stress, and how to help relieve the pain.
What Not To Say
Dont mention an issue you created. Avoid mentioning a time when you put yourself in a needlessly stressful situation. You don’t want to come across as someone who causes workplace stress.
Dont say that you were really stressed. You shouldnt focus too much on how stressed out you felt. While you should certainly admit that stress happens, try to emphasize how you dealt with the stress rather than how much it bothered you.
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Practical Ways To Handle Stress
Stress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize and cope with stress. Here are 10 ideas for handling stress without causing more strain and hassle.
1. Figure out where the stress is coming from.
Oftentimes, when were stressed, it seems like a big mess with stressors appearing from every angle. We start to feel like were playing a game of dodge ball, ducking and darting so we dont get smacked by a barrage of balls. We take a defensive position, and not a good one at that.
Instead of feeling like youre flailing day to day, identify what youre actually stressed about. Is it a specific project at work, an upcoming exam, a dispute with your boss, a heap of laundry, a fight with your family?
2. Consider what you can controland work on that.
While you cant control what your boss does, what your in-laws say or the sour state of the economy, you can control how you react, how you accomplish work, how you spend your time and what you spend your money on.
The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail since its beyond your control you only get more stressed out and feel helpless. So after youve thought through whats stressing you out, identify the stressors that you can control, and determine the best ways to take action.
Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
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Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who dont exercise .
There are a few reasons behind this:
- Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your bodys stress hormones such as cortisol in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
- Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
- Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
- Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.
Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
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Managing Stress During The Interview
Job interviews are stressful for most people. Even if you’ve interviewed a lot, it can still be challenging to stay calm and collected. You’re meeting new people in a new environment, and you’re trying to sell your credentials to someone who might be your next boss.
There are strategies you can use to handle interview stress and to sell yourself to the hiring manager.
A big part of handling stress is preparation. Be sure to research the company in advance and practice answering common interview questions. The more you practice, the more comfortable youll feel in the interview.
You can also reduce stress by avoiding negative thinking . Instead, visualize having a successful interview . Do this visualization in the hours right before the interview.
Use these relaxation techniques. If you start to feel stressed just before the interview, try taking a deep breath or two to relax. During the interview, feel free to take a breath or a sip of water before answering a question. This will give you some time to compose yourself and prepare your answer.
Watch your body language. Your body language during the interview can also help convey that you’re relaxed. Try to avoid fidgeting too much. Stand up straight and look the interviewer in the eye . By appearing calm and confident, you are more likely to feel calm and confident.
Being able to effectively handle a stressful job interview will indicate to employers that you’ll also be able to handle workplace stress.
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.
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