In today’s fast-paced world, we often forget to stop, take a good look around, and ask ourselves how we’ve been feeling. People are so used to living with the symptoms of stress that they often don’t realize they’ve been hurting their overall well-being!
However, stress has a detrimental impact on our physical, emotional, and mental health, even more so than we may realize.
Common physical symptoms of stress include:
- Tight muscles
- Chest pain
- Appetite issues
Common emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Inability to focus or motivate
- Sadness or depression
Common mental symptoms of stress include:
- Feeling the need to over or under eat
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Less motivation to leave the house or exercise
Tip #1: Identify Your Stressors
Identifying stressors isn’t an easy task. People are often so used to making up excuses or “brushing off” their symptoms of stress that they forget what it feels like to live with a stress-free body and mind. As a result, the stress builds up and eventually reveals itself in unhealthy habits, attitudes, and behaviors (i.e., using drugs or alcohol to calm nerves).
Start a ‘stress journal’ to help identify your habits, behaviors, and attitudes when you’re experiencing symptoms of stress. This way, you can start to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and use different techniques to calm yourself down before letting the stress build up.
When you recognize that you’re feeling stressed, write down:
- The cause of stress
- The symptoms you’re experiencing
- How you acted as a result of these symptoms
- How you did (or didn’t) make yourself feel better
Tip #2: Exercise!
Stress often increases the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in our bodies, causing us to feel anxious or restless for no reason. Exercise not only metabolizes these hormones, leaving us in a calmer, more relaxed state – it also releases endorphins, hormones that act as a natural painkiller and mood enhancer.
Furthermore, exercise tires out the body and increases your chances of having a good night’s sleep!
Pro Tip: Meditation, even just for 5 minutes, is a mental form of exercise that strengthens your mind’s ability to deal with stress.
Tip #3: Switch Your Coping Mechanisms
People often choose coping mechanisms that are harmful to the mind and body, like drugs and alcohol. Although such coping mechanisms are ‘quick fixes’ for stress symptoms, they cause more stress on the body in the long-run.
Other unhealthy coping mechanisms include:
- Binge eating
- Filling up every moment of the day to avoid thinking about your problems
- Taking your stress out on others
Try these healthy coping mechanisms instead:
- Green tea is filled with antioxidants and other health benefits that reduce stress and increase serotonin levels.
- Natural stress remedies such as Ashwagandha and Valerian Root reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
- Music is heavily linked to our emotions and therefore can help control how we feel.
- People underestimate the power of breathing. When we’re stressed, our breathing tends to shorten and become more rapid, adding to the anxiety. Try practicing calming breath techniques.
Everyone manages stress differently, and the tips we mention might not be the most effective for your stress management. That’s why it’s so important to keep a stress journal and identify the stress management methods that work best for you!