Stress is something most people are all too familiar with. But stress is not all bad. While mostly associated with negative situations like losing a job, getting into a car accident or having relationship problems, positive scenarios like having a baby or getting a promotion can also cause stress.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a human response to a difficult situation that motivates you to get through it. The easiest way to explain it is this: When you are being chased by a lion in the wild, your body’s fight or flight impulse will activate to (hopefully) get you out of the situation.
Stress, these days, look a little different than the above-mentioned scenario. As I have mentioned before, losing a loved one, getting divorced, becoming a parent or financial struggles are all stressors we might face.
Why Is Chronic Stress Bad?
When stress persists without proper management over a long period, your body will develop coping mechanisms to try and deal with being in fight or flight mode all the time. Chronic stress can have many negative effects on the body and mind such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, sleep problems, anxiety and depression. It can also make you more susceptible to frequent infections and illnesses.
If you are having difficulty coping with the pressures of everyday life, using various stress management techniques might help. Below are three of the most effective ways to regulate stress daily.
Stress Management Methods That Actually Work
Learning how to manage stress will help you become happier, healthier and more productive with the resilience to meet challenges head-on. Below are our top tried and tested methods to help you deal with stress.
Breathing deeply sends a message to your brain to calm down. Incorporating breathing exercises in your daily routine will keep your body in a calm and relaxed state. You can do this anywhere at any time.
Take long breaths, counting to three while inhaling and again when exhaling. It might feel uncomfortable at first but keep going until you notice your body feeling more relaxed.
Meditation has long been practised to produce a deep state of relaxation and tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention on one thing (breathing, chanting a word or phrase) to eliminate thoughts running rampant through your mind. Regular meditation can rewire your brain and change the way you respond to stress.
A few minutes a day is all that’s needed. So, find a quiet spot and get comfortable. Concentrate on your breathing or word while taking deep breaths. If your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back. Start with five minutes at first and work your way up to longer sessions.
Talk to Someone
Talking to someone (therapist, life coach, good friend) about your problems can help you find new ways of thinking about situations that cause stress so you can find solutions. It also provides a safe place for releasing your emotions.
Therapists often use cognitive behavioural therapy to help someone recognise their triggers, understand thought patterns and identify steps they can take to change how they respond to stress.
Don’t let stress ruin your life! Find a stress management method that works for you.