Did you know that stress affects everyone?
Did you know that stress affects everyone? They happen in adults and children, even babies get stressed out. It’s a normal reaction of the body when faced with changes or demanding situations. You may notice it when you are managing your finances, your project’s deadline is coming up, when you’re about to have a child, or if you or a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness.
Stress is a normal part of life, especially now that we’re in a very fast-paced world. However, while some stress is good for you, too much of it may make you sick. If left unchecked, stress can cause many health problems including obesity, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver, and high blood pressure.
So the first step to coping with stress is to recognize its symptoms. Many people are so used to feeling stressed that sometimes they don’t know they are stressed out until they are about to break. Here are the signs you have to look out for:
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
- Frequent colds
- Muscle aches or pains
- Low energy
- Chest pain
- Cold or sweaty hands
- Nervousness and shaking
- Grinding teeth
- Loss of sexual desire and ability
- Feeling moody
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Difficulty in relaxing or silencing your mind
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling lonely, helpless, and worthless
- Isolating yourself
Stress can also affect your cognitive thinking, so watch out for constant worrying, inability to focus, forgetfulness, racing thoughts, poor judgment, and inability to see the positive side. You may also start eating too much or not eating at all. You may show some nervous behaviors and avoid your responsibilities. Moreover, you may increase your use of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.
If you notice these symptoms, taking steps to cope with your stress may prevent you from going on a downward spiral.
8 Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Communicate with supportive people
It’s important to be able to share your problems, frustrations, and how you are feeling. Consider coping with your stress by talking to a parent, doctor, pastor, or counselor. Face-to-face communication and talking can release hormones that can reduce your stress.
Take a break
You should give yourself a break if you’re feeling stressed out. If current events are causing your stress, avoid watching the news. If a loved one’s illness is behind what you are feeling, step back for a moment. This will reset your tolerance to stress and improve your emotional and mental outlook. So when you come back, you’ll be ready to face whatever it is that’s causing your stress.
Bring out your hobby
If you enjoy listening to music, reading, painting, or attending to your plants, do them. Engaging in these activities can help bring out your feelings of pleasure and joy. So go running, writing songs, playing the piano, knitting, or any hobby you are genuinely interested in. You can even start a new one if you like.
In a study “Real-Time Associations Between Engaging in Leisure and Daily Health and Well-Being”, it was found that 34% of people who engage in leisure activities feel less stressed and 18% are less sad. There were also reports of participants having lower heart rates and feeling calm that lasts for hours.
Get plenty of sleep
Not having enough sleep makes your body less able to tolerate stress. So make sure you get seven to eight hours of sleep every day. If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you can make up for it within the day. Remember, those z’s are important to cope with stress.
Avoid drugs and alcohol. Then eat well-balanced meals
While drugs and alcohol may seem to help with your stress, they are creating more problems. Plus, they can increase the stress you are feeling. Instead, focus on making your body better as well-nourished and healthy bodies are more capable to cope with stress. So eat healthy meals, drink more water, and avoid processed foods.
In line with making your body healthier, you need to exercise regularly to help deal with stress. Moreover, regularly moving your body can balance your nervous system and increase your blood circulation. This will help reduce the hormones that are causing your stress. If you enjoy exercising, that’s a plus too.
Avoid drinking too much caffeine
Caffeine increases your anxiety and makes you palpitate. So avoid drinking too much coffee, caffeinated sodas, black tea, and anything with caffeine in it. According to a study entitled “Caffeine, Stress, and Brain Function”, caffeine can increase your stress level and it doesn’t matter whether you are using it regularly or occasionally.
Have a “Me” day
It’s important to let yourself recharge once in a while. Doing so will ensure that you don’t lose yourself in the demands of everyday life. So take a day off and just do what you want to do. Do you want a massage or spa treatment? Go ahead. Do you want to go to the beach? Feel free to do so and enjoy the sun. Attend to your own needs and make YOU your priority.
Another way that can help you deal with or at least avoid some stress is to set realistic goals. If you are setting your goals too high, bordering on unrealistic, you are setting yourself up for failure. You should give yourself enough time to be able to reach your goals and keep in mind that occasional setbacks are bound to happen. This isn’t settling for less. This is being realistic.
While you can’t avoid stress altogether, you can manage it better. And with better stress management, you can have a more positive outlook and disposition in life. Moreover, you will be ready to face whatever it is that comes your way. So better coping stress techniques means being able to live a happier and healthier life.
However, if negative thoughts are too overwhelming for you to make the necessary changes and steps, it is probably time for you to seek professional help. If your problems continue or if you are thinking about suicide, consider talking to a social worker, professional counselor, or psychologist.