8 easy but effective ways to combat stress
Stress is one word that elicits emotions in our lives. It can be good and , it can be dangerous. Good stress can push you to your success while bad stress can be detrimental to your health.
It is important to understand your stress level and manage it .
Stress comes as a result of a certain change in life. These changes can be emotional, physical or emotional. If a person is in danger the brain puts the body on a fight or flight mode also referred to as the acute stress response.
The body produces chemicals such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine in preparation for defense. These chemicals lead to increase in breathing, heart rate, trembling and blood pressure. Once the danger is over, the body has a way of sensing and it calms down.
Signs of stress include irritability, poor feeding habits like eating less or overeating, lack of sleep, and anger.
Prolonged periods of stress a may lead to a myriad of health complications such as heart attack, panic attack, stroke, migraine headaches, depression, eating disorders, gastro-intestinal problems like acidity and ulcers.
How to manage stress
#1. Time management: Stress and time management are inseparable. Good time management practices go a long way in reducing stress. Procrastination and last minute rush may lead to stress. If you plan your time well, create time for rest and leisure, you will be amazed at how stress free your life will become.
“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.”
– Viggo Mortense
#2. Identifying your stress triggers: Perform a personal audit on yourself and pick out the things that cause you discomforts and anxiety. Find out how you can improve your life by eliminating or working around them to reduce the negative impact they have on your life.
#3. Learn how to say no: The ability to say ‘no’ to something that is against your wish is liberating. Accepting every request from friends, family and colleagues can be overwhelming. It can derail your plans and interfere with your time schedule. Saying no should not leave you feeling guilty. Use the right words to explain yourself so as to maintain the relationship.
#4. Good financial management: Poor financial management and debts can leave one feeling stressed and hopeless. Invest in financial knowledge. Look for ways to boost your income. Invest and spend your money well. Live within your means and accept your status.
#5. Keep a positive attitude: Positive minded people are more likely to keep their stress levels at bay unlike their counterparts. Being assertive is better than being aggressive. Negative people respond to stress by being aggressive and defensive while positive people are more assertive. Learn how to have positive self-talk. It goes a long way in boosting your self-esteem. Negative self-talk can result to stress, low self-esteem and misery. An optimistic person handles stress better than a pessimistic person.
#6. Seeking support from counselors: The first step to solving a problem is identifying it and then accepting it. If you feel that your level of stress is high, seek for professional help. Early intervention is important to avert cases of mental health or depression. Depression can come as a result of prolonged stress and may take a lot of time to heal. Other mental conditions like dementia are irreversible. Stress is the biggest trigger of mental disorders.
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”
– George Burns
#7. Seeking social support from loved ones: Spending quality time with loved ones takes away a lot of stress. If you are going through a stressful moment, you can open up to a close confidant. Friendships give you a sense of purpose and belonging. You can also get yourself an accountability partner to help you achieve your goals and keep you on your toes.
#8. Keeping your body fit. A healthy body handles stress better. Eat a balanced diet, exercise and take enough water. Having a good sleep makes the body recover well from a stressful episode. Other methods like yoga and meditation are also used to identify and fight stress.
Word of Caution: Some people turn to bad stress coping mechanisms such as using alcohol, smoking, using illicit drugs and
overeating which may lead to obesity. These mechanisms complicate an already bad situation because it affects the well being of the body.
“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.”
– John Newton”
Finally, high stress levels can lead to dangerous health complications. So it is imperative to fight stress with every available resource. Build your social network, look for ways to reduce stress and boost your happiness. Identify your stressors and deal with them. What is out of your control should not receive your focus.