Ways To Cope With Chronic Stress
“Its key to recognize stressful situations as they occur because it allows you to focus on managing how you react,” Dr. Stoll says. “We all need to know when to close our eyes and take a deep breath when we feel tension rising.”
Use these tips to prevent or reduce chronic stress.
1. Re-balance Work and Home
All work and no play? If youre spending too much time at the office, intentionally put more dates in your calendar to enjoy time for fun, either alone or with others.
2. Build in Regular Exercise
Moving your body on a regular basis balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. Even a daily 20-minute walk makes a difference.
3. Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants
Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may temporarily relieve stress but have negative health impacts and can make stress worse in the long run. Well-nourished bodies cope better, so start with a good breakfast, add more organic fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods and sugar, and drink more water.
4. Connect with Supportive People
Talking face to face with another person releases hormones that reduce stress. Lean on those good listeners in your life.
5. Carve out Hobby Time
Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.
6. Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga
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.
Technique #2 Body Scan
Most of us ignore the signals our bodies are giving us throughout our day. This skill enables you to check in fairly quickly with your body to make adjustments or gather important information about your feelings.
To do a body scan, it is easiest to be sitting or laying down with eyes shut. Starting at the top of your head, notice the way your scalp and forehead feel. Then move down to notice your face, and so on. Mentally check in with each portion of your body in turn.
If you come across an area that feels tense, simply linger there to take a relaxing breath, loosen the tension, and then continue on until you make it all the way down to your toes. This process can take as little or as long as youd like.
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Go Ahead And Leave The Party If You Want To
Some people thrive in social situations like happy hours or Zoom trivia night. Others…not so much.
If you fall into the latter group, one easy way to relieve stress fast is to get out of that uncomfortable situation . Its okay to prefer small, intimate gatherings with friends, says Dr. Van Niel. And hanging out at a party is not worth stressing yourself out all night.
Procrastination As A Mental Health Symptom
The source of procrastination sometimes runs a little deeper than a difficulty regulating emotions.
If you live with anxiety, for example, you might spend a lot of time worrying about what specific tasks involve or feeling nervous about what could go wrong. These kinds of fears can absolutely lead to delay.
The link between anxiety conditions and perfectionism can also play a part in procrastination. When you dont believe you can do something perfectly, you might feel anxious about doing it at all and continually put it off instead.
Depression, which often wears away at energy and self-worth, can also involve procrastination. You might neglect certain responsibilities because you cant muster up the motivation to complete them, or because you doubt yourself and your skills.
Procrastination can also result from
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How To Reduce Stress Anxiety And Depression
Too much stress can result in chronic anxiety and depression. Yet, it does not mean that we cannot control them anymore. Of course, stress can be normal or destructive. So, we do not want stress to rule over your life. In this sense, we provide you with the top seven tips to reduce or relieve these disturbances.
Go On A Cleaning Binge
Giving the inside of your pantry a good wipe-down or really getting into the sofa cushions with a vacuum attachment has multiple stress reducing benefits on top of fewer visits from icky vermin: its a project that requires a little planning, but some physical activityboth of which Kissen says can reduce stressand is likely to result in a sense of achievement that lifts your mood. And working mindfully at it can reduce stress even more: one study found that folks who were told to stay gently focused on what they were doing while washing dishes boosted their effect
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Your Attitude Can Increase Or Reduce Stress And Tension
Dealing with stress and tension should begin from within you. External causes might be the trigger for them, but in most cases, your attitude and thoughts are the real causes.
You might not always be able to deal with external condition, but you can certainly teach yourself to change your attitude.
With a change of attitude, stress and tension would be reduced and might even disappear, irrespective of your external conditions.
Take two different people, with different mental attitudes, and put them in the same situation.
If you observe their behavior, you will see two different behavior patterns.
- One might get stressed easily, feels exhausted, and dwells on negative thoughts.
- The other person remains calm, relaxed and happy, and at the same time also energetic.
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There Are Two Ways to Deal with Stress and Tension
There are ways to release stress and tension after they appear, and there are ways to prevent them from being created.
There are certain things you can do when you experience stress and tension, something like first aid, and there are methods that prevent stress and tension from coming into existence.
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.
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Top Ways To Reduce Stress
Stress. We all experience it, and everyone can benefit from reducing it. Stress can wreak havoc on your health – including your heart health. And reducing stress can go a long way to helping you prevent and maybe even reverse conditions that can lead to heart disease. So, what can you do to reduce your stress and save your heart?
Here are some tips for reducing stress that can have the added benefit of improving your heart health.
Point Your Brain At A Problem
If the stress is more mental than physical and you feel your mind looping around itself, give yourself a discrete task, such as organizing your shoes or doing a word puzzle. When youre stressed, your brain may be saying, weve got a problem to solve so it keeps spinning. Thats a good time to engage your mind, says Kissen. If you give it a task to focus on, youll feel calmer and be better able to deal with whats actually stressing you out.
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Recognize The Signs Of Stress
Signs of stress in youth can show up in a number of ways:
- Irritability and anger: Children dont always have the words to describe how they are feeling and sometimes tension bubbles over into a bad mood. Stressed-out kids and teens might be more short-tempered or argumentative than normal.
- Changes in behavior: A young child who used to be a great listener is suddenly acting out. A once-active teen now doesnt want to leave the house. Sudden changes can be a sign that stress levels are high.
- Trouble sleeping: A child or teen might complain of feeling tired all the time, sleep more than usual or have trouble falling asleep at night.
- Neglecting responsibilities: If an adolescent suddenly drops the ball on homework, forgets obligations or starts procrastinating more than usual, stress might be a factor.
- Eating changes: Eating too much or too little can both be reactions to stress.
- Getting sick more often: Stress often shows up as physical symptoms. Children who feel stress often report headaches or stomachaches, and might make frequent trips to the school nurses office.
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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How To Use Stress Medicine
It’s important to remember that you should never take any anxiety drugs alone, and you should try to avoid them if possible.
Medications are not evil – certainly not as evil as many people will tell you. But mental health medications have downsides. It’s more than just side effects. Medications can actually harm your ability to cope with stress in the future, because of:
- Physiological Dependence That’s when the body requires the medicine because it’s adapted to the effects. Your brain starts to depend on it, to the point where your natural stress coping ability gets even worse. If you stop taking the medication, you’ll suffer from intense side effects. You have to wean off it slowly, and you have to take it every day even if you’re not feeling anxious that day.
- Psychological Dependence Perhaps more troubling is psychological dependence. This is when you depend so much on the medicine that you don’t do anything else to cure your anxiety. When you stop taking the medication and experience some stress, you’re going to want to go immediately back to medication, and this type of behavior can make it much harder to cope with anxiety.
It’s important to keep that in mind. You need to make sure that you’re only choosing a medicine as a last resort because of these risks, and even if you do choose a stress medicine and feel better, make sure that you’re still learning proper coping strategies so that your anxiety doesn’t come back when you stop taking the medicine.
Turn To God In Prayer
When you’re overcome with anxiety, stress, and loss, more than ever, you need to turn to God. He is your ever-present help in times of trouble. The Bible recommends taking everything to him in prayer.
This verse in Philippians offers the comforting promise that as we pray, our minds will be protected by an inexplicable peace:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God promises to give us peace beyond our ability to understand. He also promises to create beauty from the ashes of our lives as we discover that hope comes from loss and joy springs from times of brokenness and suffering.
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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.
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Technique #: Deep Breathing
Find a comfortable seated position with the spine erect. Inhale the breath through the nose into the bottom of the lungs so the belly expands. Continue breathing in to fill the midsection of your lungs so your rib cage expands. Breathe in until you feel the top of your lungs fill up and naturally expand your upper chest.
Then slowly release the breath out the mouth, feeling the upper chest lower first, then your rib cage, and finally draw your abdomen up and towards your spine to empty out the remaining breath out of your lower lungs. Repeat this pattern for a few minutes.
Find your own comfortable rhythm to it, making sure the exhale is a bit longer than the inhale.
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Get A Good Nights Sleep
Sleep and stress tend to cause a vicious cycle if youre stressed, then you cant sleep, which makes you ill-prepared to handle the stressors of the next day, leading to more stress. To relieve stress before bed, try some relaxation techniques and disconnect from technology as much as possible an hour before bedtime. To ensure the proper amount of rest , set an alarm reminding you to go to bed.
Tip : Recognize When Youre Stressed
It might seem obvious that youd know when youre stressed, but many of us spend so much time in a frazzled state that weve forgotten what it feels like when our nervous systems are in balance: when were calm yet still alert and focused. If this is you, you can recognize when youre stressed by listening to your body. When youre tired, your eyes feel heavy and you might rest your head on your hand. When youre happy, you laugh easily. And when youre stressed, your body lets you know that, too. Get in the habit of paying attention to your bodys clues.
Observe your muscles and insides. Are your muscles tense or sore? Is your stomach tight, cramped, or aching? Are your hands or jaw clenched?
Observe your breath. Is your breathing shallow? Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath. Notice when you breathe fully or when you forget to breathe.
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Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Years of research have found PMR helps reduce anxiety and calm breathing. Lie down and relax, and then tighten, hold and then release each muscle in your body, one at a time, starting with your toes and moving up to the crown of your head. Do this slowly and methodically, and dont forget the muscles of your face. It may be more relaxing to listen to someone else walk you through the exercise. Visit this link to find audio, video, and scripts that you can record and then playback to yourself.