Watch A Favorite Television Show
One of my favorite tips for how to stop stressing out is to ignore the world around you and put on the television.
Often, we encourage each other to turn off the television and go out and do something else, but not in this case!
Youll likely have a favorite television show that helps make you feel calmer, likely a comedy or show you grew up watching.
If youre feeling stressed and just need to watch something that is going to instantly put you in a better mood, put that television show on with no regrets.
Have a whole television show marathon if you want, snuggled up on the couch and checking in with your favorite characters.
Avoid dramas or action-based shows that may put you more on edge.
You want this to be easy, fun watching.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress
Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune. But, because people handle stress differently, symptoms of stress can vary. Symptoms can be vague and may be the same as those caused by medical conditions. So it is important to discuss them with your doctor. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself , lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Behavioral symptoms of stress include:
- Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Exhibiting more nervous behaviors, such as nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing
Meet Up With A Friend
What are friends for besides helping us stop stressing about everything?
Social interaction is often a good thing when it comes to being stressed, as it can make us feel more normal and let us vent our frustrations out.
It also helps us turn our attention to other people instead of just our own hectic schedules.
Make plans to meet up with a friend that you trust and is a good listener, and make sure to fit it in where you can.
If youre stressed because your schedule is so busy and you cant find time to meet people, see if you can plan to hang out while doing something you already needed to do anyway like picking the kids up from school or even do something simple like your grocery shopping together.
Reach out for that human connection!
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Write Down Your Feelings
Writing down your feelings is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress. Knowing what you are feeling will help you to learn more about yourself, which can help you feel grounded and not swayed and overwhelmed by your emotions. Start by just writing one thing you are feeling in that moment and continue to write every day. Writing down your feelings can help you to become less stressed and anxious.
Take Some Form Of Action Specifically Take Time For Yourself
Take a break. Take a breath or at least a minute to stop and breathe. Take a moment to plan. Take lunch with a coworker to talk it through. Take a meeting with your supervisor to express your frustrations . Take an entire night to sleep. Take a vacation.
Take some time for yourself.
The point is to take action to help get out from under the rut you may find yourself in. Taking a moment to distract yourself and evaluate your current situation allows you to see things more clearly.
Only then can you genuinely identify whats overwhelming you at work and then take action to address it.
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Stress Survey: What Types Of Stress Are You Coping With
Problem solving the controllable aspects of a stressful situation is one of the most effective ways to lower our stress. Identifying the problem and breaking it down into manageable chunks is the first step in creating a plan of action.
You can use this survey to help identify the different sources of stress in your life, and to track your progress in coping with them in a healthy way. Check the boxes beside the sentences you feel apply to you, then brainstorm strategies for coping with or solving each problem. See the Coping with Stress section of this wellness module for more information and tips on how to ensure your coping choices lead to reductions in stress and a healthier, more fulfilling life for you and your loved ones. Try taking the survey once a month to track patterns in your behaviourand the positive and negative ways you manage stress.
Adapted from: Holmes and Rahe, 1967 Wheaton, 1997.
About the authors
Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division helps people access the community resources they need to maintain and improve mental health, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness. CMHA BC has served BC for over 60 years.
Anxiety Canada promotes awareness of anxiety disorders and increases access to proven resources. Visit www.anxietycanada.com.
Select sources and additional resources:
How Therapy Can Help With Emotional Overwhelm
Therapy is often a helpful way to sort through difficult emotions, especially those that occur as a result of stress or trauma. In therapy, you may be able to:
- Understand the roots of your overwhelming emotions
- Explore ways to self-soothe, such as meditation
- Address recurring stressors that contribute to overwhelm, such as marital conflict
- Learn coping skills to deal with any stressors that cannot be prevented
- Treat any mental health issues contributing to overwhelm
With each concern that is resolved, you will likely find that dealing with other stressors becomes easier. Even focusing on one or two issues can significantly reduce your distress. Even if your problems seem endless, know that therapy can help you manage your life one step at a time.
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Return To Your Breath
Whenever our emotions change, we can notice the change in our breath and vice versa. We often breathe more fully and slowly when were in a place of joy and satisfaction. On the other end, we experience quick and shallow breaths when we experience anxiety, fear and similar emotions.
Studies show that a direct link exists between our emotions and breathing. As a result, theres the opportunity for us to manage how were dealing with emotions by returning to our breath. Whether youre feeling sad, anxious, scared or angry, observe your breath first then, make the conscious decision to breathe more fully and deeply.
One of my favourite breathing patterns when feeling stressed or anxious is box breathing:
Breathe in through your nose for a count of four
Hold for a count of four
Breathe out slowly through your mouth for a count of four
An alternative is alternate nostril breathing, known as Nadi ShodhanaPranayama in Sanskrit. Some of the incredible benefits of this breathing technique include helping to create balance and relaxing the mind and body. View the detailed steps on how to practice alternate nostril breathing here.
Stress And Your Health
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
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How Can I Better Cope With Emotional Stress
There are many techniques that can be tried to help you better manage your emotional stress. Try one or more of the following:
Take some time to relax: Take some time to care for yourself. Even if you can devote only five to 15 minutes a few times a day to relax, take a break from reality. What activity helps you relax? Some ideas include:
- Read a book.
- Take a walk. Practice yoga.
- Listen to music, sing along to a song or dance to music.
- Enjoy a soothing bath.
- Sit in silence with your eyes closed.
- Light a scented candle.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is learning how to focus your attention and become more aware. You can learn to feel the physical changes in your body that happen in response to your changing emotions. Understanding this mind-body connection is the first step in learning how to better manage your stress and how emotions affect your body. Mindfulness can also help you focus your mind on the immediate what can I do to bring my mind and body to a place of calmness. If you can figure out what helps you feel more calm and relaxed in that moment, you know youve figured out one of your stress triggers and what works to manage it.
Distract your mind and focus on something else: Focus your mind on something other than whats causing your stress. Do something fun. Watch a funny movie, play a game, engage in a favorite hobby . Volunteer for an activity to help others. Do something with people you enjoy.
What To Do When You Feel Stressed
Everybody gets stressed from time to time. Different people feel stress in different ways. Some ways of dealing with stress like screaming, hitting someone, or punching a wall don’t solve much. But other ways, like talking to someone you trust, can start you on the road to solving your problem or at least feeling better.
Try taking these 5 steps the next time you are stressed:
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Signs And Symptoms Of Stress Overload
The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You dont notice how much its affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. Thats why its important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.
- Other mental or emotional health problems
- Chest pain, rapid heart rate
- Loss of sex drive
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawing from others
- Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits
Things To Do When You Are Feeling Stressed
1. Get more sleep.Prioritizing your sleep is not something that lazy people do. Making sure we get enough sleep is like making sure you drink enough body youre treating your body right. Youre giving yourself time to recharge. You allow your brain to take a rest and come back on a full battery. There is nothing wrong with that! Let yourself rest. Youll notice a huge change in your ability to function.
2. Eat food that makes you feel good.Lets not drift into food shaming here. When I say food that makes you feel good, thats exactly what I mean! If you want that amazing smelling burger on the menu, get it! If the day feels more like a salad kind of meal, then go for it! The best thing to do for yourself is to do the thing that will make you feel happy, energized, and alive.
3. Indulge in a guilty pleasure.I dont actually like the term guilty pleasure but Ill use it so that you catch my drift. Do something that you usually feel guilty about doing, except replace your guilt with only pleasure! Love the fact that you are enjoying doing a particular thing. Tell yourself you dont need to experience shame for taking care of yourself.
6. Relax and detox in a sauna.This takes the bath idea to the next level. If youre a member of a commercial gym, youve got this at your fingertips. Let the toxins emerge from your skin, and youll leave the sauna feeling like a new person!
21. Dance in your underwear to a favorite song.For freedoms sake.
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Jr, Russell Noyes. The Familial Prevalence of Anxiety Neurosis.Archives of General Psychiatry. American Medical Association, 01 Sept. 1978. Web. 30 Sept. 2019.
Can Genes Be Turned on and off in Cells? Genetics Home Reference NIH.U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2019.
LiisaTyrväinena. The Influence of Urban Green Environments on Stress Relief Measures: A Field Experiment. Journal of Environmental Psychology. Academic Press, 24 Dec. 2013. Web. 30 Sept. 2019.
Epigenetics between the Generations: We Inherit More than Just Genes. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2017. Web. 30 Sept. 2019.
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Finding The Right Words In A Stressful Situation
Stressful situations arent supposed to be easy. If youre trying to help a loved one work through their own anxious feelings, you have an opportunity to say the right thing. These messages above are a kind, thoughtful way to respond without increasing their stress.
Nobody likes to be told to stay calm or move on. No matter how simple the situation seems from the outside, feelings are valid in their own way. Be mindful of your own response and be a strong listener. As long as youre focusing on acknowledging their experience and feelings, youre making a positive step in the right direction.
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What Makes Us Stressed
Many things that can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.
Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.
Stop Putting Off Exercise
Exercise can help you to feel less stressed in the short run and build your resilience toward stress in the long run. Many people know this but have a difficult time getting off the couch on a regular basis, especially when stressed, or too busy to get onto the couch in the first place.
It’s ironic that sometimes when we would most benefit from exercise, that’s the last thing we want to do. Push yourself to do it!
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When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
Check In With Your Feelings
Instead of denying what you feel, be a conscious observer of emotions and feelings. Also, pay attention to your thoughts and how they lead to changes in your emotions, and how you feel.
I used to think the right thing to do in situations where I felt sad, empty or anxious was to deny these feelings. After all, you shouldnt feel these emotions when youre on a spiritual journey, right? Wrong! Youre allowed to feel all the feels and its important to avoid repressing them.
So, whenever you find yourself in such unmotivated states, prioritise being a conscious observer. This will help you notice the origins of such feelings and you can take the necessary steps from that point.
Affirmations are great, but if youre not fully observing why youre feeling a certain way, youll only be using the affirmations as a form of resistance to what youre dealing with.
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Be Mindful Be Thankful
Stress management is really about perspective. When we lose direction and feel like everything is coming at us all at once, we feel trapped. This is when we shut down. The truth is so much of life is going well if we just take the time to appreciate it. It may feel impossible in the moment, but try to take a minute to recall something that made you feel grateful. You may want to try journaling those moments down. So when you begin to feel overwhelmed, you have the moments right in front you.
It doesnt have to be profound. Im thankful for the flowers blooming.My kids ate dinner without throwing a fit. It just needs to be a way for you to change your perspective.