Talk It Out With A Friend
When youre feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle.
Theyre especially important when youre under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
The Effects Of Chronic Stress
Your nervous system isnt very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If youre super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if youre facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in todays demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:
Sometimes It’s Like You Forget To Breathe
You’re sitting there in class and you get a mediocre test grade. All of a sudden you’re convinced that you’ll never get into college and that your future is over. Your emotions can spiral out so fast that you actually feel light-headed, or slightly tingly, or straight-up shaky. So what’s up with that? Sometimes when you’re all worked up you literally hold your breath to keep the tears down and/or the emotion in. And it’s not something you should ignore. “Research has shown that there is no such thing as a spontaneous panic attack,” says Ehrman. “Holding your breath, rapid breathing, a little dizziness these can and will get worse over time.”
So What Can You Do About It?
First off: Make sure to get enough rest and ~breathe~ . “It’s important to create space in your day for your brain and body to be in a state of calm,” Ehrman explains. “That keeps the stress from piling up.” Aside from catching all of the you can, building in five-minute brain breaks every day where you sit and count your breaths or picture yourself in your happy place will help, too. And if the symptoms of stress and that sense of being SO overwhelmed don’t let up, talk to an adult you can get real with, whether that’s your mom or a school counselor or your doc. They can help you figure out a plan to lighten your load and deal with the pressure you’re feeling.
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Be Honest With Everyone For The Whole Day
A lot of times, the mental stress and strain we feel is from having to present this happy front to social media and our friends and family.
We feel like we need to have it all together and be strong for the people around us, but you would be surprised at how many people are also struggling.
Im not saying to tell the cashier your whole life store, but when they ask, how are you?, you really can respond with feeling a bit stressed, actually!.
It may start productive and comforting conversations, or youll just feel better for being honest and not having to have the extra stress of pretending not to be stressed.
Let’s Start At The Beginning: Cellular Stress
We think of stress as “too much to do, too little time,” but for our cells, it’s different. According to Mark Menolascino, M.D., integrative and functional medicine physician, “Cell stress is when your cells are being negatively impacted by external and internal factors, which compromises their ability to function efficiently.” And considering we’re made almost entirely of cells, which ensure the function of our heart, brain, lungs, muscles, and more, we want them on their game. But like everything in life, our cells face obstacles that cause them stress.
“Many of these are uncontrollable, such as age and environment,” Menolascino said. “But plenty are within our control such as diet, exercise, and sleep. The biggest and most common contributors to cell stress are free radicals, which increase with age, poor lifestyle choices, and some health issues.”
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Make It A Habit To Reward Yourself
Tired of all those things that make you stressed and depressed? Go ahead and allow yourself to take a break. Watch a movie, go to a park, invite some friends over, have a fancy meal, or do whatever pleases you, makes you happy or interested. You ought to have a good time with yourself and feel worthy of feeling well again this is how you can get back to your normal life. Take as many small joyful moments as you possibly can a the moment, especially after:
- You completed a task
- Did something you didnt want to do
- Changed a negative thought with something more helpful
- Focused on the brighter side of the situation.
Helping Children And Youth Cope With Stress
Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic eventlike a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
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Improving Your Ability To Handle Stress
Get moving. Upping your activity level is one tactic you can employ right now to help relieve stress and start to feel better. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially if you exercise mindfully .
Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress when youre feeling agitated or insecure. Even just a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe your nervous system. So, spend time with people who improve your mood and dont let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life. If you dont have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.
Engage your senses. Another fast way to relieve stress is by engaging one or more of your sensessight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement. The key is to find the sensory input that works for you. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.
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How To Manage Stressors
There are several techniques to successfully manage stress. The next time youre feeling stuck and overwhelmed, try these suggestions from Little Rock, Arkansas-based psychiatrist Rhonda Mattox, M.D.:
- Calm your body. Pay attention to thoughts and breathing patterns. Many times when we are stressed, our breathing patterns shift to rapid and shallow, says Dr. Mattox. Prioritize slowing your breathing down and breathing from your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing has been proven in studies to lower your cortisol and reduce physical signs of stress. This is done by laying on your back or sitting up with one hand just below your ribcage and one on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through parted lips, and your diaphragm should rise while your chest remains still the entire time.
- Practice your boundary setting to avoid yes stress. Many times we have overcommitted, and that is the main culprit of our stress, Dr. Mattox says. People pleasing is at the root of not feeling comfortable saying no, or yes stress, she adds. Address this tendency honestly to better maintain your personal boundaries. Seeking therapy may help, since guilt and manipulation may affect your inability to say no.
- Break big tasks down into smaller to-dos, and dont be afraid to delegate. Dr. Mattox says the use of planners and journals can be particularly helpful in proactively addressing and managing stressors.
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Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
Your Mood Changes And It Affects Your Personality And Libido
Anxiety might make you feel overwhelmed, moody, or depressed. If you find yourself doubting your abilities or avoiding other people, stress is probably interfering with your emotional health. Your libido might also suffer. Try to identify and eliminate as much stress as possible and see a doctor to rule out physical problems. Communicate with your partner and stay in touch with friends.
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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.
Staying Busy Is Your Antidepressant
Many people are either afraid or unwilling to address the true causes of their suffering and unhappiness.
This is partly because its not always clear. Depression, for instance, has many partial and interactive causes, from genetic vulnerabilities and inflammatory autoimmune responses to ruminative thinking styles and social stressors. So it can be understandably hard to completely understand all the causes and contributors to your suffering.
But for many of us, despite this complexity, there are at least some reasonably clear causes of unhappiness that we could work to improve:
- Nearly everyone with depression or anxiety would benefit from more regular exercise.
- Most people with low self-esteem and self-worth issues would benefit from working to improve their habits of negative self-talk.
- Almost anyone who struggles to regulate their emotions would benefit from better sleep habits.
- Nearly everyone with anger issues would benefit from a regular mindfulness practice.
The point is, there are usually plenty of reasonable ways to address the underlying causes of our suffering. The problem is, theyre hard:
So I get it. There are real challenges.
But its how we respond to these challenges that matter. For many people, the challenges of addressing core causes feels like too much. And so they resort to coping mechanisms and treating the symptoms:
When youre constantly busy, you but a tremendous toll on both your body and mind.
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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
Create A Spa In Your Bathroom
I dont care if your bathroom is falling apart with black sludge dripping from the ceiling .
You can still create a spa in your bathroom.
Fill up the tub, light some candles, and turn the lights off and just soak and sit.
Do a face mask, put in your favorite smell into a bath bomb, whatever you need to do.
Close the door behind you and pretend youve stepped into a spa at a fancy hotel and dont come out until youre feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world again.
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Youve Not Figured Out What You Can Control And What You Cant
or maybe youve not yet accepted what you cant control.
Im loath to bring up Stoicism since were all getting a little sick of an ancient philosophy being brandished as a solution to all of lifes ills. But theres something to it in this regard.
Theres nothing more guaranteed to heighten stress than a difficult task or situation that gets more challenging and taxing the harder we try. The difficulty escalates because were trying to influence that which cannot be influenced, and then getting frustrated and stressed about it.
Trying to reason with an unruly toddler or teenager.
Trying to shape an outcome from a difficult conversation.
Trying to influence a market or environment through sheer will and hope.
We can only control the things within our grasp and thats usually only what we do and say. Anything else is in the lap of the gods.
As long as you fight outside forces and lament how unfair life is, the more youll contribute to the turmoil that youre feeling.
Injustice feels stressful. Frustration contributes to stress. Disappointment leads to a sense of failure which adds stress to life too.
Let go of that which you cannot control for a less stressful life.
Spend The Whole Day Alone
If you get recharged by spending time alone, youre going to have to eventually just give yourself the space to recuperate and work through your stress alone.
Send the kids to their friends house for the day, kick the husband out to go play sports with his friends, whatever you need to do to get that one day of solitude.
And when you have it, plan for it.
Are you going to lounge around all day in your pajamas?
Are you going to get something done that has been stressing you for out forever?
Are you going to indulge in all of your favorite foods that your family isnt invited to share?Do what you need to do and enjoy the time spent alone.
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Quick Things To Do When Your Feeling Stressed Out
We all get stressed out from time to time from work, school, or our busy schedule. Its okay to be stressed every so often but if there is a constant stress in your life, it could be very damaging to your health and well-being. Stress can lead to headaches, stomach pain, muscle tension, fatigue, and even heart attacks. It can cause you to pick fights with people and put a strain on your relationships with friends, family, and partners.
Now, you may not be able to change what is stressing you out, but you can control how you respond to the stress. One of the main things that I like to do when I am stressed out is to create a list. I write down everything that needs to be done and cross off each one when the task is completed. This helps me to see how much I have to do and helps me feel in control of the situation.
What I do to handle stress might work for you or there may be easy and quick ways to help you deal with stress. If you notice that youre showing signs of stress, there are 3 quick things that you can do to help yourself.
Practice Breathing Exercises
This is the easiest thing that you can do to control your stress because you can do it anywhere. Just breath. Relax your mind. Focus on your breath, pushing all other thoughts aside. Be conscious of the breath coming in and going out focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling.
Change Your Environment
Treat yourself to some dark chocolate.