Stress is the body’s natural defense system against threats or challenging situations. Stress is what helped our ancestors to survive and it can be a positive thing when you are facing a real danger. However, when you are frequently suffering from stress, even if there isn’t an actual threat, it becomes pathological and has serious consequences for your health. It can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and physical issues like sleep problems, headaches, digestive issues, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.
If you are suffering from chronic stress you need to learn how to manage it, this will help you become a healthier person both physically and mentally as well as enjoy your life more. Here are the most effective tips that will help you cope with stress.
Working out doesn’t only work for achieving a slimmer body but it works great as stress relief and the best part is that it is an activity you can enjoy. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to go to the gym or buy equipment. Any physical activity, whether it is dance, Zumba, yoga, kickboxing, swimming, or anything else will keep stress levels low.
When you exercise you put your worries away for a moment, you are only focused on doing the movements right and completing the exercise. Instead of thinking in negative things you concentrate on the rhythm of your movements. Once you get used to exercising you will enjoy the moment and challenge yourself to do harder workouts, all of these are going to distract you from negative thoughts and stress.
Exercise has a direct effect in your brain and neurotransmitters, it increases the production of endorphins which are chemical compounds responsible for your well-being and “happy” mood. Practice at least 150 minutes of exercise a week to manage stress.
Massages release tension beneath your muscles, something that happens often when you suffer from chronic stress. By creating friction against the skin it increases the temperature and blood flow to your muscles, both things that are going to make you feel relaxed. It reduces the levels of cortisol in your body which is the hormone responsible for stress symptoms and releases endorphins that will make you feel good and calm.
Deep Breathing Exercises
One of the stress management techniques that you can apply no matter where you are or what you are doing is deep breathing exercises. Becoming more aware of your breath can reduce stressful thoughts and release the tension on your body. When you take shallow breaths your body is not being oxygenated properly and that increases your heart rate and muscle tension all of which is going to increase your stress levels. Every time you feel stressful check if your abdomen is expanding each time you breathe, it should always expand and contract when you are breathing. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth, repeat it several times until you feel your body is relaxing.
Practice Some Hobbies
What is that thing you enjoy doing the most? What makes you feel passionate? Find a hobby you love and practice it. Even if you have a busy lifetime take some free time to do something you enjoy without having to worry about responsibilities. Hobbies can also be challenging which will give you a purpose and won’t make you feel like you are “wasting your time”. Practicing will bring joy to your life and increase your levels of endorphins.
Take a Break From Work
If you suffer from chronic stress you may as well be suffering from work burnout. Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?
- Lack of Motivation.
- Sleep Problems.
- You never feel the energy even after sleeping well.
- You frequently feel frustrated, unhappy, irritated, and impatient.
Those are symptoms of work burnout and you can mitigate them by taking a break from work. Overworking can affect your well-being, productivity, and trigger stress
When you take breaks from work you will feel more motivated, boost your productivity, become a creative thinker, and have better mental health. You will be more relaxed and lower your stress levels. The breaks can be taking vacations, staying a few days at home just to fully relax, or taking short breaks at work like taking a long walk, meditating, practicing deep breathing exercises, or listening to your favorite music.
One of the best ways to manage stress and have positive thoughts is to meditate. This is an old practice that involves clearing your mind, focusing on the present moment, and having a body-mind connection. When you meditate you put your negative thoughts away for a moment and focus on your breath, the way your body feels, a mantra, or an image depending on the type of meditation you do.
Regardless of what type of meditation you choose, they will all have the same benefits: trigger your body’s relaxation response, increase your positive mood, reduce the heart rate, and reduce the physical effects of stress. You will become more aware of your negative thoughts and be able to stop them. You will enjoy those benefits even after you finish the meditation.
Visit a Therapist
Sometimes your stress levels are so high that you start to notice symptoms of depression or anxiety and at-home stress management techniques aren’t enough to reduce it. In that case, you need to seek professional healthcare. When your stress levels start to interfere with your daily life and relationships it is time to visit a therapist. You don’t have to deal with that alone. A professional will provide you support and strategies on reducing the stressors.
Chronic stress can have many negative effects on both your physical and emotional health. Learning stress management techniques is crucial when you are constantly having stressful thoughts and feel like you are no longer enjoying life. Lower your stress levels and improve your quality of life. You deserve to feel good and fall in love with life.