Everyone is stressed at one time or another. It is a normal and healthy reaction to change or challenge. But stress lasting more than a few weeks can negatively affect your health. Don’t let stress make you sick by learning healthy ways to deal with it.
LEARNING TO RECOGNIZE STRESS
The first step in managing stress is to accept that you have stress in your life. Every person experiences stress differently. You may become angry or irritable, not sleepy, suffer from headaches or an upset stomach. What are the signs of stress in your life??? If you know what signs to look out for, you can begin to manage it.
Also, identify situations that may cause you stress. These situations are known as stressors. Your stressors may be family, school, work, relationships, money, or health problems. When you understand where your stress comes from, you can develop ways to manage your stress.
AVOID RELIEVING STRESS IN UNHEALTHY WAYS
When you are stressed, you may resort to unhealthy behaviors to help yourself relax. These behaviors may include:
- Smoking cigarettes
- Alcohol and drug use
- Too much or not enough sleep
This behavior may make you feel better at first, but it may hurt you more than it helps. Instead, use the tips below to find healthy ways to reduce stress.
FIND HEALTHY WAYS TO DEAL WITH STRESS
There are many ways to manage stress. Try a few to see which ones work best for you.
- Acknowledge what you can’t change. Accepting that you can’t change some things allows you to let go of them and not get upset. For example, you can’t change the fact that you have to drive during rush hour. But you can find ways to relax along the way, like listening to a podcast or audiobook.
- Avoid stressful situations. Walk away from the source of stress whenever possible. For example, if your family is fighting over the holidays, give yourself a break and go for a walk or a drive.
- Exercise. Daily physical activity is the best and easiest way to combat stress. When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel good. It can also help you deal with holding back energy or frustration. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s walking, biking, softball, swimming, or dancing, and do it for at least 30 minutes every day.
- Change your perspective. Try to develop a more positive attitude toward difficulties. You can do this by replacing negative thoughts with more positive ones. For example, instead of thinking: "Why things always go wrong??"Change that thought to "I can find a way to get through this". It may seem difficult or silly at first, but you may find that it helps you turn your worldview upside down.
- Do what you like to do. When stress is overwhelming you, do something you enjoy that will help you get back on your feet. It can be something as simple as reading a good book, listening to music, watching a favorite movie, or going out to dinner with a friend. Or start a new hobby or activity. Whatever you choose, try to do at least one thing a day that is just for you.
- Learn new ways to relax. Practicing relaxation techniques is a great way to deal with everyday stress. Relaxation techniques help slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. There are many kinds, from deep breathing and meditation to yoga and tai chi. Take a class or try to study books, videos, or online resources.
- Connect with your loved ones. Don’t let stress come between you and your social life. Spending time with family and friends can help you feel better and forget about stress. By entrusting your problems to a friend, you can also solve them.
- Get enough sleep. Getting enough rest at night will help you think more clearly and have more energy. This will make it easier to deal with any problems that may arise. Try to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Eat healthy foods. Eating healthy foods helps to energize your body and mind. Avoid high-sugar snacks and eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or low-fat dairy products and lean protein.
- Learn to say no. If your stress is caused by doing too many tasks at home or at work, learn to set limits. Ask others for help when you need it.
If you feel you cannot cope with stress on your own, you may want to talk to your doctor. You can also see a therapist or counselor who can help you find other ways to cope with stress. Depending on the cause of your stress, participating in a support group may also help.