Stress is our body’s defensive mood in any tough situation. When we face a challenge, our body becomes alert and produces a great amount of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine to face the challenge. As a result, the chemicals create some immediate reactions to our body, which are:
- Rapid heartbeats, palpitations
- Increased blood pressure
- Our body starts sweating
- The muscles clench
These are some reactions which we face from the starting of our human existence. Our body used to prepare itself to defend any external threat or natural calamities in such ways, as in, while encountering any wild animal or earthquake, and made a ‘fight and flight’ response, which is also known as “stress response”.
Although the nature of our struggle has changed, it still creates the same pressure, reactions or “stress response” on our body and mind in this epoch of capitalism. There are a wide range or reasons which may make us stressed, say, workload, financial difficulty to any personal problem.
Stress in-general is not a bad thing; it sharpens your concentration and helps to stay focused. But constant exposure to stress is fatal. It affects your overall physical, emotional, or mental health leading to a wide range of threats, as in, asthma, arthritis, heart attack, stroke, diabetic, skin conditions, acne, psoriasis, eczema, permanent hair loss, GERD, gastritis, ulcerative colitis, high blood pressure, obesity, depression and many more.
Today, we’ll discuss the emotional symptoms of stress and 10 ways to manage stress.
Emotional Symptoms of Stress
Being exposed to stress for a long time affects our mental health greatly. Mental damage is not less alarming than physical problems, rather they are more scary because we cannot see the damage it causes and often tend to overlook it.
Be careful when you notice the following symptoms in you or someone near to you and start working on it before it becomes chronic:
- Poor judgment
- Anxiety and worry
- Irritation and anger
- Unhappiness and moodiness
- Being confused or indecisiveness
- Feeling emotional and overwhelmed
- Loneliness and isolation
- Difficulty to concentrate
- Forgetfulness and being unmindful
- Declined thinking and reasoning skills
10 Ways to Manage Your Stress
If you find the above-mentioned symptoms common, start following the suggestions without making any delay:
Regular exercise reduces the level of stress hormone, cortisol and adrenaline, and stimulates the production of endorphins which helps us to relax. Regular exercise will help you to balance your heart rate, also it will increase your metabolism, support your digestive, immune and cardiovascular systems. You can,
- Start practicing aerobics, it will help you to relieve physical tension and ease the ‘fight and flight’ response.
- Yoga is an excellent way to make a balance between your body and mind. It is a mind-body exercise that syncs our body posture with a controlled breathing practice which reduces the stress hormone.
- You can combine different forms of exercise, like weight-lifting, aerobics or Zumba, or practice a certain form in a day. Try different forms of exercise.
- Walk, jog or cycle around your city. Swimming also helps a lot. Engage your body with some activity, especially if you do a desk-job, being active physically is a must!
- There are chances that you may clench your jaw, mouth exercise may help you to relax. Consider chewing some flavorful gum (sugar-free of course!), it gives a great sensory feedback and reduces the cortisol level.
Getting some restful sleep is required for every person, you can never skip this from your daily routine. Sleep helps a lot to reduce stress, a well-rested body and mind can deal with stress better. Try the following tips:
- Try aromatherapy if you find it challenging to get a peaceful sleep. Lavender, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, German Chamomile, Melissa – these essential oils are often used in bedtime to reduce stress.
- Drink chamomile tea, it is a great source of antioxidants. It may function like benzodiazepine which is a prescription drug used to reduce stress and induces sleep.
- Avoid any type of electronic device at least 30 minutes before going to bed. It improves the quality of sleep and decreases anxiety.
- Do some gentle leg-work to feel relaxed. Like lift your legs and do a little squat – these will help to bring flood flow down to your legs and help the body to relax.
- Do not work-out before going to bed, at least before three hours of your sleep-time.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS, MEDITATE, AND TAKE REST
In this trying time, people do not take proper rest. Our life has been a race, we should change our perspective towards life and be kind to yourself as well as to others. Mindfulness helps us to decrease the intense stress responses. It changes our thought pattern and creates a positive outlook toward life. You will start to focus more clearly and make more aware, conscious decisions. Your reactions toward stressful situations will change. You’ll have better knowledge about yourself, your desires, and better control over your emotions.
- Take regular breaks from your hectic routine life. Pass a lazy-day in a week, it’s okay not being productive for a day. Your body and mind will be grateful to you and get a chance to charge up.
- Practice breathing exercises regularly, especially when you feel stressed. Deep breathing practices is vital for being stress-free.
- Try these mindfulness exercises: Body scan meditation, Sitting meditation, Walking meditation, The name game, Intention setting exercises, Candle study exercise, Stillness exercise, Gratitude list exercise, Follow your breath exercise.
IDENTIFY YOUR PROBLEMS AND WORK ON THEM
Go straight to the root of your sufferings. Identify what’s bothering you and solve your problem – this is important. You cannot mask stress very long, it’s better to recognize your stressor or what triggers you the most. Once you can identify the stressor, it will be easy for you to stay alert and manage it efficiently.
- If it is work-related issues, talk to your manager; in case of a personal problem – talk, seek help from others. There must be a solution to every problem, you have to seek for the solution rather than tangling in the problem.
- Learn to say “no”. Do not commit if you don’t feel like doing a thing. You should establish healthy boundaries.
- Aggravation does not solve a problem. Be assertive.
- Work on your childhood issues, this is an issue people do not talk about much, but maximum time this turns out to be the root of all our turmoil.
PRACTICE PRIORITY MANAGEMENT AND ADJUST YOUR EXPECTATIONS
You should plan your day the night before. Spend at least 15 minutes to prioritize your tasks, it will help you to prepare mentally. Also,
- Prioritize your work, and finish the easy and less time-consuming task first.
- “Cut your coat according to your size.” Your dreams should be practical, and you should not pressurize yourself to point that you lose your peace.
- Think carefully about your and other people’s expectations on you. Do you need to change? Is it your high hope that is torturing you, or it is the society’s pressure? Ask yourself. Make a practical set of standards to follow in your life.
- Practice gratitude, be grateful for your life and always count your blessings.
DON’T GET ADDICTED TO SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media affects people’s sense of self. It is also responsible for poor sleep habits. Restless fixating, loads of unsettling information and the fear of missing out (FOMO) may lead to dissatisfaction about your life. The feeling of incompetence, jealousy, and negative body image will take your peace of mind away. Do not forget, people always show the best of their life in social media, hiding their suffering. Do not fall in the trap, never compare what life has gifted you with to other people’s flicking luxury.
- Spend 30 or less than 30 minutes per day on social media.
- Be mindful what content you consume on social media. Do not let everything affect you.
- Use social media for good purposes. There is so much negativity out there, refrain from getting involved. You can use social media for good purposes, like fund-raising for needy people or create awareness for noble works.
BE POSITIVE AND CONFIDENT
Don’t be too hard on yourself, accept yourself as the person you are. Do not treat yourself the way you would not treat your loved ones. Always respect yourself and forgive. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is not a bad thing, it teaches you life. Makes you humble and prepares to face the hurdles of life. Practice the following:
- Laugh, always try to stay happy and cheerful. Instead of judging yourself constantly take care of your mental health.
- Stop procrastination. Procrastinating does not make your task any easier, rather it makes you worry constantly.
- Ask for help when you need it, learn to delegate tasks.
- You can spend time on your hobbies. Dancing, gardening, painting, sports, playing an instrument – these all help us to calm down.
- Write down your thoughts. Maintain a to-do list.
- Live in the moment; every moment is precious. Don’t get lost living a mundane life, this life is not a destination, it is a journey which you need to enjoy.
COMMUNICATE, CONNECT TO PEOPLE AND NATURE
Communication is a life-saving skill, you should learn to communicate efficiently to get a stress-free life. Most often lack of communication leads us to many tough situations which we could easily avoid with proper communication.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to your loved ones, family and friends. People are social beings, it is not possible to live alone and stay sane.
- Create a good support-system. A good support system is very necessary for a healthy, stress-free life. You can get along with various difficulties with others’ cooperation in stressful times.
- Try to connect with new people, it will help you to understand the world better.
- Nature is also a great stress reliever. Try to add some green in your life, and connect your soul to nature. Pass some time appreciating nature.
HEALTHY DIET AND NUTRITION
High doses of caffeine intake increase stress, reduce alcohol, drugs, and caffeine intake. Although five cups a day is considered moderate, you should cut it off if you’re sensitive and can not tolerate this amount of caffeine intake. Follow these:
- Make sure your body gets all the vitamins. Eat green, preferably organic vegetables, and fresh foods. Check if your body produces enough blood. There is some diagnosis like anemia, which may make you feel stressed. You may feel fatigued, lethargic and stressed all the time.
- Consider taking herbs and supplements. Omega-3 supplements can help you to reduce anxiety symptoms by 20%. Ashwagandha, L-theanine, Rhodiola, Glycine, and B vitamins will help a lot.
- Drink plenty of water. Men and women respectively should take about 15.5 cups (3.7 litres) and 11.5 cups (2.7 litres) of fluids intake a day. It is also important to take shower regularly and keep yourself moisturized. Stress can cause uncomfortable flare-ups and keeping yourself moisturized will help to relax.
DEVELOP COPING STRATEGIES
It is very important to develop coping strategies to fight stress. If you feel stressed very often practice the techniques in your everyday life. Also practice these:
- Change your perspective towards the stressor that you can not change immediately. Create a positive narration in your mind.
- Time management is a life-saving drill. Learn time management for a relieved, stress-free life.
- Learn new skills. This habit will help you to stay relevant and updated. You should never stop learning; an active, engaged mind can fight stress strongly.
- Listening to music or getting a massage would work. You can treat yourself with different types of healing music and spa.
Stress can be a result of childhood maltreatment, or it may run in your family. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor if you cannot manage it yourself. There are treatments, medications and therapies for you to cope up with this problem. Stress can produce a lot of physical and psychological diseases. Though mental diseases are still being treated as taboo in our society, remember, you would not overlook the disease if it was a physical one and see a doctor as soon as identifying it. A lot of people commit suicide every year due to depression; like cancer, treat yourself before it spreads and causes a life. Take care!