Stress is something inevitable that happens to almost everyone of us. No one is safe from stress and most people are affected by stress on a physical and mental level. Stress happens when you perceive that demands placed on you, such as work, school or relationships. It is when everything exceeds your ability to cope. There are stress that are beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or work deadlines. Well, an extreme amount of stress can result in health consequences, affecting the immune, cardiovascular, and neuroendocrine and central nervous systems, and take a severe emotional toll. Stress can lead in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. There are research show that stress can contribute to the development of major illness, such as heart disease, depression, and obesity.
However, there are positive and healthy ways to manage stress as it occurs. In blog, we are dedicating this month of November to International Stress Day, which is celebrated in the first Wednesday of November. So how do you deal with stress? Here are some points that will definitely help you.
1. Exercise – Working out is one way of limiting stress as it relaxes your body and mind. It is believed and proven that exercise will improve your mood. You can work up to 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise like brisk walks or other exercises. Remember to set a fitness goal so that you don’t miss any day and you get to work on yourself more.
2. Relax your muscles – When someone get stressed, your muscles get tensed and to help loosen them is to refresh your body by stretching, enjoying a massage, taking a hot bath or shower, and by getting a good night’s sleep.
3. Deep breathing – Stop and take a few deep breaths to take the pressure off you right away. It is surprising how much better you will feel once you get good at it. You can start by sitting in a comfortable position with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor or you can lie down. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a relaxing place. Start by taking a deep breaths in and out, do this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.
4. Eat well – As our elders used to say, everyone should have a balanced diet that will help you feel better in general. A healthy diet may help control your moods. It is important that you don’t miss any meals as it can increase your stress level.
5. Slow down – Sometimes we just need to slow down and chill out. If you are someone who gets stressed with being late, then here is what you can do. Set your watch 5 to 10 minutes ahead. When you’re driving on the highway, switch to the slow lane so you can avoid road rage. Break down big jobs into smaller ones.
6. Create a toolbox of techniques – One stress-shrinking strategy won’t work for all your problems. For instance, while deep breathing is helpful when you’re stuck in traffic or hanging at home, it might not rescue you during a business meeting. Keeping a stress diary for a few weeks is an effective stress management tool as it will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed. Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and note what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally. Give each stressful episode a stress rating (on, say, a 1-10 scale) and use the diary to understand what triggers your stress and how effective you are in stressful situations. This will enable you to avoid stressful situations and develop better coping mechanisms.
7. Take Control – Stress can be triggered by a problem that may on the surface seem impossible to solve. Learning how to find solutions to your problems will help you feel more in control thereby lowering your level of stress. One problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and coming up with as many possible solutions as you can. Decide on the good and bad points of each one and select the best solution. Write down each step that you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how will it be done, when will it be done, who is involved and where will it take place.
8. Preserve good boundaries – If you’re a people-pleaser like me, saying no feels like you’re abandoning someone, have become a terrible person or are throwing all civility out the window. But of course that couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, those few seconds of discomfort are well worth avoiding the stress of taking on an extra activity or doing something that doesn’t contribute value to your life. One thing I’ve noticed about productive, happy people is that they’re very protective of their time and having their boundaries crossed. But not to worry: Building boundaries is a skill you can learn.