Stress is a natural reaction to events or situations that we perceive as challenging or threatening. It helps us stay alert and active during emergencies. But frequent exposure to stress can take a toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. When left unchecked, chronic stress can cause headaches, breathing problems, insomnia, anxiety, and even depression.
Before things get much worse,here are a few tips to help you keep stress off your back:
- Know your stressors
It’s hard to fight an unseen enemy. So before everything else, find out what exactly is causing you to stress out. Perhaps the bills are mounting? Maybe you had an argument with your spouse?Or perhaps you had left a pile of work left that’s due tomorrow? We may not be able to control these stressors, but we can improve how we react to them.So take a step back from your identified stressors and give yourself time to reflect. This doesn’t just remove you from an anxiety-filled environment. It also allows you to consider things in a new perspective.
- Prepare short stress busters
Take inspiration from medical professionals working in high-stress jobs. Doctors, for example, often experience stress that can cause them to burn out. To combat this, they make use of 5-minute stress busters, or a set of activities you can do during short breaks. If you’re having a stressful day at work, these short exercises can help you take a much-needed breather. It can include simple things like taking a walk, deep breathing exercises, listening to music, or talking with colleagues. Sometimes, all we need is a short break to get some rest!
- Eat stress-reducing food
Eating food makes people happy, but don’t stress eat. Stress eating or indulging our guilty pleasures like cake, potato chips, or other junk food can have negative effects on our bodies. Opt for healthier food such as green leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts, and avocados. These are excellent sources of magnesium, a precursor for the happiness hormone serotonin.
- Take time to exercise
You don’t need to head to the gym to exercise. Any outdoor physical activity that’ll get your body moving and your blood pumping will do. Getting some sunshine can boost your mood, too. Riding a bike, jogging with your dog, or even gardening can take your mind off of troubling things. Exercising also releases happiness-inducing endorphins and the anti-stress and calming hormone GABA.
- Maintain a good sleep cycle
We are well-aware how the lack of sleep can be harmful to our health. It exacerbates stress and makes us feel exhausted. An inconsistent sleep and wake up time disturb our circadian rhythm, the internal clock we have that prepares our body for slumber. It’s suggested to have a fixed schedule for when you hit the hay and when you rise so that your body can maintain a regular sleeping pattern.If you want to oversleep on the weekend, then go to bed earlier and wake up the same time you do on weekdays.
- Indulgein your passions
Doing something we love gives us joy and refreshes our minds. What do you love to do when you aren’t working? What activities have you always wanted to try but couldn’t? Activities like writing poems and stories, playing musical instruments, or reading books can reduce your stress. Traveling and trying new things can also alleviate stress and increase happiness.
- Smile and laugh
Smiling and laughing has physiological and psychological benefits. It sounds difficult to smile in the midst of hardships, but it’s good to try! Go watch a funny movie, gossip with friends, or look at photos of happy memories. Laughing releases the mood-elevating hormones endorphin and serotonin. These hormones can increase optimism and keeps depression away. Also, according to one study, our brains and our emotions are interconnected with our facial expressions. So maintaining a positive face can make you feel better and help you recover from stressful events.
We can beat stress for a moment but as long as we are alive, we will experience it again and again. But even so, we shouldn’t allow our health to suffer because of it. We should never ignore extreme stress, so remember to take a break every now and then to unwind.