How to handle stress healthily aims to provide simple tips to help let you cope with stress in a more wholesome way.
Stress. That’s one thing all people seem to have in common nowadays. The bustle of day to day living coupled with the challenges we face in our personal and professional lives all leaves us burned out and tired. We all feel stressed at some point or another. It is a normal and healthy reaction to a change or challenge. But the stress that continues for more than a few weeks can affect your health leaving you feeling less energetic, depressed, or can even lead to life-threatening ailments like cancer. Prevent stress from getting you sick by learning healthy ways to handle it.
Learn to recognize stress
The first step in managing stress is recognizing the presence of stress in your life. Learn how to tell if you’re just feeling tired, fatigued, or already suffering from heavy stress. Everyone experiences stress in a different way. You may be angry or irritable, unable to sleep, or suffer from headaches or stomach upset. What are the signs of stress on you? Once you know the signs you should look for you can start handling it.
Additionally, start learning how to identify situations that can cause stress. These situations are known as stressors. Your stresses can be family, work, relationships, money, health problems, or a combination of two or more of these stressors. Once you understand where your stress comes from, you can devise ways to deal with your tensions.
Avoid stress relieving in unhealthy ways
By feeling stressed, you can resort to unhealthy behaviors that help you relax. These behaviors may include:
Drinking alcohol and consuming drugs
Sleeping too much or not getting enough sleep
These behaviors can help you feel better at first, but they can do more harm than actually help. And some of these unhealthy habits can lead to unhealthier addictions that will cost more harm. Instead, use the tips below to find healthy ways to reduce stress.
Find healthy techniques to manage stress
There are many ways to manage stress. Try some to find out which ones work best for you.
Recognize the things that cannot change. Accepting that you cannot change certain things allows you to let go and not get upset. For example, you cannot change the fact that you should drive during rush hour. But you can look for ways to relax and make the ride more enjoyable, like listening to a podcast or an audiobook.
Avoid stressful situations. Whenever possible, step away from the source of stress. For example, if your family holds discussions avoid a certain topic that often bring a divide like politics, take a break and go for a walk or a ride in the car instead. You already know that this particular topic can start heated debates so it is better to just avoid it and get away. They can continue to indulge in their favorite discussions while you enjoy a long, quiet stroll.
Exercise. Performing physical activities every day is the best and easiest way to deal with stress. When exercising, your brain starts releasing chemicals that make you feel good. Doing regular exercises can also help you with your repressed energy or frustration as you can release your tensions with every physical exertion. Look for something you enjoy, whether you are walking, bicycling, playing softball, swimming, taking up a new sports activity like martial arts, or dancing. Do it for at least 30 minutes most days. Regular exercise not only relieves you of stress but it can also make you lose excess weight.
This is like hitting two birds with one stone. Get a healthier, leaner, toned body while you de-stress.
Change your perspective. Try to develop a more positive attitude to the challenges you face. You can do this by replacing negative thoughts with more positive thoughts. For example, instead of thinking, “Why does everything always go wrong?” change that idea by replacing it with “I can find a way to overcome this.” It may seem difficult or silly at first, but you might find that this helps you to turn your perspective.
Do something you enjoy. When stress is getting you down, do something you enjoy to help you get your spirits back up again. It can be something as simple as reading a good book, listening to music, watching your favorite movie, or dining out with a friend. Alternatively, you may want to start a new hobby or class you’ve been putting off in a while. Remember that pottery class you’ve always wanted to sign up for? Now may be a good time to enroll. No matter what you choose, try to do at least one thing a day that is just for you.
Learn new ways to relax. The practice of relaxation techniques is a great way to deal with day-to-day stress. Relaxation techniques help you decrease your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure. There are many types, from deep breathing and meditation to yoga and Tai Chi. Take a class or try to learn from books, videos, and or online resources.
Connect with your loved ones. Don’t let stress stand between you and your social life. Spending quality time with family and friends can help you feel better and forget about stress. Trusting your problems to a friend can also help you solve them. You’ll get someone’s perspective and learn how to see things in a different light.
Get enough sleep. Resting sufficiently during the night can help you think more clearly and have more energy. This will make it easier to handle any problems that may arise. Try to sleep between 7 and 9 hours every night.
Eat a healthy diet. Eating healthy foods helps give your body and mind energy. Avoid refreshments with high sugar content and consume many vegetables, fruits, whole grains, reduced or fat free dairy and lean protein.
Learn to say no. If your stress comes from doing too much homework at home or at work, learn to set limits. Ask others when you need help.
If you feel that you are not able to handle stress by yourself, you may now want to consider to talk to your health care provider. You may also consider seeing a therapist or counselor who can help you find other ways to cope with stress. Depending on the cause of your stress, you may also be helped by joining a support group.
Do not take stress so lightly because if left untreated this can lead to many health problems as well as mental and physical breakdown. Remember, a good and healthy life means you are physically, emotionally, and mentally stable.