Most people don’t leave enough time in their life for managing their stress levels. Generally instead we develop habits that are not the best for us. Including overeating, drinking alcohol, smoking and drug abuse. Stress affects every part of your body; it can cause all kinds of issues with your health. So it is important to know how to manage it and have it under control. Like managing your weight, stress is also something we need to be constantly checking in with. If you are suffering from too much stress it is important to take into consideration what is going on in your life and how your stress levels can be reduced.
Your central nervous system is the key player in how you manage stress. The problem with your nervous system is that it can’t tell the difference between you being chased by a bear in the woods running for your life and the pressure you are facing at work. Both are signaling that your body is under stress however one is life threatening and the other is not (let’s hope). When your brain signals your body that you’re under stress you go from one phase in your central nervous system, rest and digested mode (parasympathetic nervous system), to the fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system). When your body enters fight or flight mode it is immediately flooded with stress hormones and you become on high alert for an emergency. This causes a lot of inflammation in the body, which over time can cause a lot of damage.
If you don’t correct the reason you are stressed out and it is constantly an issue for you from day to day; you would be considered under constant stress or chronic stress. This is when health problems can occur. Autoimmune diseases, weight gain, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression digestive problems, low sex drive, insomnia, the list goes on and on. So in order to prevent those things you need to notice what is causing you stress and learn how to manage it.
Examples of things that maybe causing you stress:
Internal causes: Constantly worrying, negative thinking, being pessimistic, not being open to change, being unrealistic.
External causes: Work stress, big changes, a traumatic event, being overworked, financial problems, relationship problems.
Ways to Manage your Stress:
When exercising the body pumps endorphins, the feel good hormones, through the body relieving stress. Exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain which will improve your mood. Doing rhythmic activity also allows the body to destress and takes your mind off of the things you are stressing about. Even working out for as little as 10 minutes can help you destress and relax. So using exercise to destress doesn’t have to be that time consuming.
Taking a bath, giving yourself a mini facial, doing your nails, getting a massage or getting your hair done are all great ways to destress. Making time to pamper yourself can help your mind and body destress. Self care can be done at home or by a profession but it helps you feel better and you give yourself some much needed quiet time.
Writing out why you are stressed can help organize all the overwhelming thoughts in your head. When you journal you can also reread everything that’s going so you can problem solve in other ways. Journaling can make it so you don’t have to keep all those thoughts in your head anymore. Once written down you don’t have to worry about forgetting them anymore because you can always reference them later.
Meditation reduces cortisol reduction in the body and gets our body in rest and digest mode. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and induce relaxation. Meditation has been shown to cause increases self-awareness and can train the mind to be more focused on the present moment. When meditating the body and mind is into the opposite state as you are when yours stressed, so it is the prime tool to use when combating stress. Try our daily meditation or read about getting started as a beginner.
Something soothing can be helpful to calm your stress and wind down. Chamomile or St. John Worts are both wonderful herbal teas to help fight stress. Try to avoid caffeine because it can have the opposite effect. Read about the powers of tea to learn more.
Coloring has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Coloring is a tool used in art therapy that you can do alone at home. It’s becoming increasingly more popular using art as an outlet for stress in very effective ways. Being creative is a great way to destress and feel fulfilled whether it is with coloring books or making a story board. Using your mind to be creative can take your mind off of what is stressing you.
Cleaning your house or workspace can save you time and money and also is a great way to destress. Cleaning the space around you can have the same effect as cleaning your mind. Removing the clutter around you can help to declutter the mind.