We all have had moments where we experience high stress. Whether it’s the stresses of life, our work, or even our family, it is important that we handle it properly. Although the way people experience stress is different, unhandled stress can lead to severe health problems.
As we talk about stress awareness, it is important to note that it doesn’t always mean stress elimination. Stress can be a good thing at times. However, when that stress comes from overworking yourself for the benefit of others, you might need to reevaluate your time commitments and routines. Understanding your stress and its effect on your body can help you attain better balance within your life.
Symptoms of Stress
Everyone experiences stress differently. It is important for you to know your body and how it reacts to different events in your life. Below are a few common signs of stress that many often experience:
- Difficulty sleeping through the night
- Trouble focusing and concentrating
- Difficulty making decisions
- Mood swings or irritability
- Stomach pains, headaches, chest pain (which can later lead to heart attacks or strokes)
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, know that there are methods and strategies that you can implement to help reduce the level of stress on your body and within your life. If you notice more serious symptoms, speak with your health provider. Getting a plan of action to help reduce stress will be key to a long-lasting, healthier life.
What You Can Do
Many people experience variations of stress every day. That’s not always a bad thing. What is bad, is not knowing how your stress affects you. Take some time to reflect on how you handle stress and work to find healthy ways of coping and adjusting to whatever life throws your way.
Below are just a few tips that you can start implementing into your life today to help remove areas of stress. While there is no cookie-cutter solution, the key will be finding what works best for you.
1. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Meditation is one of the most popular techniques for individuals to feel more centered, grounded and together. By taking several moments to sit in silence and remove outside distractions, many find ways to focus on what is important and to identify or remove areas of stress.
Other forms of relaxation include yoga, music, deep breathing, reading, knitting/crocheting or finding an activity that you enjoy.
It’s important to implement these relaxation techniques into your daily life so that you can regularly take a break from the stressors and focus on enjoyment and relaxation.
Being silent is not always the best way to handle stress. Sometimes it helps to talk with someone. This could be a loved one, a friend or even a therapist. Having someone to talk to regularly, will help you keep things in perspective and can help you remember that you aren’t alone. It is also a great way to release frustration within a safe and appropriate environment.
3. Get Up and Move
Regular exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Whether it’s a nice walk or a trip to the gym, some fresh air and movement will be good for your body. Not only will it help reduce stress, but it will also help your health overall.
4. A Balanced Diet
Eating a balanced diet can help your body fight against stress in a more natural way. Some people choose to not eat at all when they are stressed, others overeat as a way of comfort. Both can have negative effects on your body. Instead, try finding a food plan that works for you—one that is consistent and well-rounded. Having these plans in place can help your body keep some form of consistency and regularity during stressful times.
5. Take a Break
Sometimes it's best to take a break from the things that stress us out the most or take some time away from our regular routine. Does the news stress you out? Try turning it off for a few days. The constant cycle of hearing bad news and carrying the weight of issues happening around the world can be burdensome. By removing yourself for a few days, or even a few hours, you may find your mind has some time to think about things that are more pleasant.
During your break, take some time to read a book or go back to one of your favorite hobbies. This is a great time to practice some relaxation techniques.
This break is also a place to recognize that there are things you can’t control—and that’s okay! Sometimes it helps to find the humor in a situation or to change your perspective. Taking a break gives you the chance to do that.
6. Ask for help
You are not alone. There should never be shame in asking for help. If you recognize extreme symptoms from stress, it may be time to talk to your healthcare provider about care options. Your doctor can work with you to determine a proper care plan that might include counseling or medication.