How To Overcome Stress In Everyday Life
By: Jessica Anderson
Updated November 08, 2019
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn
If you're dealing with a heavy load of stress, you likely feel its weight in every area of your life. Stress is a common occurrence in adulthood, but it can be debilitating if it's intense and constant. Luckily, stress is not only common but curable as well. With the right tools, you can overcome stress and return to living a happy, healthy life. This article will cover tips to overcome stress in daily life; first, we'll go over some background information about stress in general.
Three Main Types of Stress
When you feel overcome by stress, remember that you are not alone. More than 70 percent of American adults admit to feeling stressed or exhibiting anxiety on a daily basis. These challenges come in a variety of forms, but each is common and curable.
When working to eliminate stress in your life, it can be helpful to understand the type of stress that you're experiencing. There are three main types of stress: Acute, Episodic, and Chronic. Acute stress is caused by a short-term event, such as planning a wedding. Episodic stress is short-term, but it happens repeatedly. For example, meeting work-related deadlines or getting children to school on time can cause episodic stress. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is long-term stress due to major life events like a chronic illness or persistent financial troubles. Each of these forms of stress can develop from and affect all areas of your life including work, relationships, health, finances, and trauma.
If you're facing life stressors and have the physical and mental symptoms that often accompany stress, know that it's common. Luckily, you can alleviate your symptoms by overcoming your stress. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) highlights more than fifty side effects of stress, including mental and physical changes. You might lose focus on a task, feel overwhelmed, experience bouts of anger, have frequent headaches, have trouble falling asleep, or experience tense muscles and fatigue. These are all normal symptoms that will get better when you find ways to lower your stress levels.
It's important to take care of yourself when you are dealing with stress. If you avoid it, it could lead to addictive behaviors like smoking, drug use, and alcohol abuse. Stress could also lead to gambling, impulse buying, overeating, decrease in exercise, withdrawals from social functions, and lowered productivity rates. These are all common ways of coping with or reacting to stress, but they don't solve the problem causing the stress. Instead, things could get worse, and you may find yourself with dealing with a more serious issues like anxiety, depression, acid reflux, other mental-health-related issues, heart disease, and stroke. Clearly, stress can cause serious problems. Luckily, by taking steps to overcome your stress, each and every one of these symptoms can be resolved or avoided.
Living A Stress-Reducing Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes can help you to overcome stress in your life. When you fill your life with healthy habits, you're likely to have less stress in your life. You can plan ahead and use the techniques below to help you reduce stress. They may help you avoid triggers as well.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
You can try deep breathing anywhere, from the aisles of the grocery store to behind the wheel of your car. If this works for you, you may also want to explore meditation and yoga. Yoga in particular can ease the muscles in your back, neck, and chest, all of which are commonly affected by stress.
Getting your blood pumping will increase your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Exercise also causes your brain to release natural endorphins, which help you to decrease stress levels. When you feel better, you'll want to work out more, so a little exercise can quickly kickstart a positive cycle.
New research shows that chewing gum is actually linked to lower stress levels and higher alertness. Gum is a simple addition to your life, so it's worth a try.
Journaling is known to reduce stress levels significantly. It helps you put your life events in perspective. When you can clearly see what's happening in a given situation, you can determine if your reactions are appropriate or stress-induced. Journaling can also help you to pinpoint the stressors in your life, so you are better able to remove or remediate them.
Get Some Rest
When you get enough sleep, your cortisol levels balance and you feel more capable to tackle daily tasks. (Cortisol is a hormone related to stress.) If you're not able to sleep well at night, consider taking a nap. The additional rest may be what your body needs to recover from stress.
Physical contact with another human being has been proven to reduce cortisol levels and lower blood pressure. Give your friend or family member a hug, or enjoy intimacy with your significant other. The physical touch will surely lower stress levels for both parties.
Create Structured To-Do Lists
Planning your days and weeks in advance can make busy schedules less stressful. You'll be able to make sure you're staying productive without overdoing it. To-do lists can also help you balance time for personal and professional duties. When you're making plans, consider building in time not only for productivity, but also for rest and self-care. Proactively scheduling is a great tool to avoid or eliminate daily stressors.
Take a Bath
When you take a bath, the quiet time alone and the warmth on your skin can lower stress levels significantly. Add the following essential oils to your bath, and aromatherapy will help you reduce your stress even more: Lavender, Sandalwood, Roman Chamomile, Orange, Rose, and Frankincense.
Please remember to feature all genders in photos… that being said, we'll move image 4 to the section above because it may be hard to find a pic of a man taking a bath!
Regulate Your Diet
Certain nutrients can provide your body with stress-fighting fuel. Consider adding green tea and Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. You may also want to take dietary supplements, such as lemon balm, kava-kava, and Valerian root to lower stress levels. Avoiding caffeine can be a smart choice because its jitters and crashes can actually exacerbate symptoms.
Finding A Convenient Therapist
Along with these lifestyle changes, working with a professional counselor can help you reduce stress quickly. They can show you how to handle stress and identify its patterns, so you can change your life for the better. If you're already struggling with a busy schedule, you may want to consider a convenient option like BetterHelp. BetterHelp provides licensed counselors with years of experience, allowing you to access help anytime and anywhere. You can see reviews of BetterHelp counselors below, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Tim has given me some amazing insights to contemplate. He has offered me different ways of viewing my problems and approaching them. He has given me concrete tools to use to manage my stress and improve my depression. He is incredibly responsive and helpful. I'm blown away by how much I like this platform and how helpful Tim has been."
"Lynne is very helpful, kind and knows exactly what you need to get better. She helped me with my stress and anxiety, work related issues, and family relationships."
When you feel overwhelmed by stress, remember you're not alone. With a few lifestyle changes and help from a therapist you trust, you'll be back to living a healthy, happy life in no time. You're stronger than any stressor that comes your way. Take the first step today.