You need stress in your life! Does that surprise you? Perhaps so, but it is quite true. Without stress, life would be dull and unexciting. Stress adds flavor, challenge, and opportunity to life. Too much stress, however, can seriously affect your physical and mental well-being.
Stress is with us all the time. It comes from the mental or emotional activity and physical activity. It is unique and personal to each of us. So personal, in fact, that what may be relaxing to one person may be stressful to another.
For example, if you’re a busy executive who likes to keep busy all the time, “taking it easy” at the beach on a beautiful day may feel extremely frustrating, nonproductive, and upsetting. You may be emotionally distressed from “doing nothing.”
Too much emotional stress can cause physical illness such as high blood pressure, ulcers, or even heart disease; physical stress from work or exercise is not likely to cause such ailments. The truth is that physical exercise can help you to relax and to handle your mental or emotional stress.
What is Stress
Stress is a feeling of being under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life. Stress affects us, both physically and emotionally.
During these situations, you may feel threatened or upset and your body might create a stress response. This can cause a variety of physical symptoms, change the way you behave, and lead you to experience more intense emotions.
Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. But beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing major damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and quality of life.
How to against to Stress
To use stress in a positive way and prevent it from becoming distressed, you should become aware of your own reactions to stressful events. The body responds to stress by going through three stages:
Let’s take the example of a typical commuter in rush-hour traffic. If a car suddenly pulls out in front of him, his initial alarm reaction may include fear of an accident, anger at the driver who committed the action, and general frustration.
His body may respond in the alarm stage by releasing hormones into the bloodstream which causes his face to flush, perspiration to form, his stomach to have a sinking feeling, and his arms and legs to tighten.
The next stage is resistance, in which the body repairs damage caused by the stress. If the stress of driving continues with repeated close calls or traffic jams, however, his body will not have time to make repairs. He may become so conditioned to expect potential problems when he drives that he tightens up at the beginning of each commuting day.
Eventually, he may even develop one of the diseases of stress, such as migraine headaches, high blood pressure, backaches, or insomnia. While it is impossible to live completely free of stress and distress, it is possible to prevent some distress as well as to minimize its impact when it can’t be avoided.
Stress relief techniques
When stress does occur, it is important to recognize and deal with it. Here are some suggestions for ways to handle stress. As you begin to understand more about how stress affects you as an individual, you will come up with your own ideas of helping to ease the tensions.
Try physical activity
When you are nervous, angry, or upset, release the pressure through exercise or physical activity. Running, walking, playing tennis, or working in your garden are just some of the activities you might try. Physical exercise will relieve that “uptight” feeling, relax you, and turn the frowns into smiles. Remember, your body and your mind work together.
Share your stress
It helps to talk to someone about your concerns and worries. Perhaps a friend, family member, teacher, or counselor can help you see your problem in a different light. If you feel your problem is serious, you might seek professional help from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker. Knowing when to ask for help may avoid more serious problems later.
Know your limits
If a problem is beyond your control and cannot be changed at the moment, don’t fight the situation. Learn to accept what is-for now-until such time when you can change it.
Take care of yourself
You are special. Get enough rest and eat well. If you are irritable and tense from lack of sleep or if you are not eating correctly, you will have less ability to deal with stressful situations. If stress repeatedly keeps you from sleeping, you should ask your doctor for help.
Make time for fun
Schedule time for both work and recreation. Play can be just as important to your well-being as work; you need a break from your daily routine to just relax and have fun.
Be a participant
One way to keep from getting bored, sad, and lonely is to go where it’s all happening: Sitting alone can make you feel frustrated. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, get involved and become a participant. Offer your services in the neighborhood or volunteer organizations. Help yourself by helping other people. Get involved in the world and the people around you, and you’ll find they will be attracted to you. You’re on your way to making new friends and enjoying new activities.
Check off your tasks
Trying to take care of everything at once can seem overwhelming, and, as a result, you may not accomplish anything, Instead, make a list of what tasks you have to do, then do one at a time, checking them off as they’re completed. Give priority to the most important ones and do those first.
Must you always be right?
Do other people upset you – particularly when they don’t do things your way? Try cooperation instead of confrontation; it’s better than fighting and always being “right:” A little give and take on both sides will reduce the strain and make you both feel more comfortable.
It’s OK to cry
A good cry can be a healthy way to bring relief to your anxiety, and it might even prevent a headache or other physical consequence. Take some deep breaths; they also release tension.
Create a quiet scene
You can’t always run away, but you can “dream the impossible dream.” A quiet country scene painted mentally, or on canvas, can take you out of the turmoil of a stressful situation. Change the scene by reading a good book or playing beautiful music to create a sense of peace and tranquillity.
Although you can use drugs to relieve stress temporarily, drugs do not remove the conditions that caused the stress in the first place. Drugs, in fact, maybe habit-forming and create more stress than they take away. They should be taken: only on the advice of your doctor.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. “When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that fight stress.” You know that exercise does your body good, but you’re too busy and stressed to fit it into your routine.
If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.
Listen to Music
Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management. Music is something that almost anybody can access and makes it an easy stress reduction tool.
What type of music reduces stress the best? How do you choose the relaxation music that is best for you? The answer partly rests with you: You must first like the music being played, and then it must relax you.
It is important to remember that quieting your mind does not mean you will automatically feel sleepy. It means your brain and body are relaxed, and with your new calm self, you can then function at your best in many activities.
Eat a healthy diet
Well-nourished bodies are more equipped to cope with stress. Start with a healthy breakfast and have healthy snacks throughout the day. Focus on the basic food groups. Watch portion sizes.
Eat breakfast, even though you may not feel hungry or believe you do not have enough time. Eating breakfast helps to kick start your metabolism for the day and also helps to stabilize your blood sugar level which will, in turn, reduce stress. Choose fruit or fruit juice and a whole-grain cereal for maximum benefits.
B Vitamins can help you feel more energetic after a stressful episode. Bananas, leafy green vegetables, avocados, nuts, seeds and also meat, fish and dairy products all contain essential B vitamins.
Vitamin C – The adrenal glands contain the largest store of vitamin C in the body and are important in the production of stress hormones. Eat citrus fruit such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi fruit, leafy green vegetables, broccoli and other foods rich in Vitamin C.
Magnesium – Can help to relax muscles and reduce anxiety. Increase your magnesium intake by eating nuts, especially Brazil nuts, but also hazelnuts and peanuts. Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, especially oats, brown rice, and beans are also good sources of magnesium. You can also take a relaxing bath with a good handful of Epsom salts (available at your pharmacist) as these contain magnesium that can be absorbed through your skin.
The best strategy for avoiding stress is to learn how to relax. Meditation, massage, and yoga can help. Breathing and relaxation techniques can slow down the heart rate and promote relaxation. Deep breathing is also a central part of mindfulness meditation.
Unfortunately, many people try to relax at the same pace that they lead the rest of their lives. For a while, tune out your worries about time, productivity, and “doing right.” You will find satisfaction in just being, without striving.
Find activities that give you pleasure and that are good for your mental and physical well-being. Forget about always winning. Focus on relaxation, enjoyment, and health. Be good to yourself.