How To Overcome Stress In Everyday Life
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 feel 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. According to a report released by the American Psychological Association, over a quarter of Americans report feeling so stressed that they are unable to function, and 76% of adults reported they had experienced at least one-stress related symptom in the past month, including things like headaches, feelings of sadness, anxiety, and more. The challenges that accompany come in a variety of forms, but each can generally be addressed with some time, effort, and practice.
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.
Consequences Of Stress
If you’re facing life stressors and have the physical and mental symptoms that often accompany stress, you know firsthand just how draining it can be to juggle them.. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) highlights more than fifty side effects of stress, including mental and physical changes. Examples of challenges you might experience as a result of stress include:
Having a hard time focusing on tasks
Feeling overwhelmed, drained, weak, tired, etc.
Having trouble falling or staying asleep
Managing frequent headaches and chronic pain
Experiencing frequent muscle tension
Excessive worry, guilt, or restlessness
Symptoms like these can be tricky to manage, but they often improve when steps to lower stress levels are taken. What can be potentially more damaging than the effects of stress are the behaviors we might use to try and reckon with it. High levels of stress can lead to risky decision-making and behaviors like:
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and other substance use
Impulsive or excessive shopping
Changes in eating: either overeating or undereating
Withdrawal from social functioning and relationships
These are all common ways of reacting to stress, but they don't necessarily solve the problem causing the stress. Instead, these sorts of behaviors can make things much worse. There is good news, though: working to overcome stress in healthy, sustainable ways may bring relief.
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 leave less room for stress. The techniques below can help you introduce relaxation and balance into your life so that you can take control of your stress levels.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
You can try deep breathing anywhere, from the aisles of the grocery store to behind the wheel of your car. Deep breaths can help slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure, resulting in a feeling of physical calm that may help you recenter yourself during times of stress. Try taking in slow, full breaths through your nose and exhaling heavily through your mouth. Repeat for as long as you need. If this works for you, you may also want to explore meditation and yoga. Yoga can ease the muscles in your back, neck, and chest, all of which are commonly affected by stress.
Getting your blood pumping can increase your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Exercise also causes your brain to release natural endorphins, which may help you to decrease stress levels. Find a way to move that feels good to you; if you hate working out at the gym, try going for a walk, dancing, biking, or whatever else is fun!
High Levels Of Stress Can Impact Several Areas Of Life
For an immediate fix, try popping a piece of gum into your mouth. Research shows that chewing gum is linked to lower stress levels and higher alertness. If you need to calm your nerves throughout the day, small changes like this can help a lot more than you might think.
Journaling is known to help 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
Cortisol, a hormone related to stress, can build up in the body when we’re feeling drained and overwhelmed. When you get enough sleep, your cortisol levels balance and you feel more capable to tackle daily tasks. That’s why it can be so important to get enough rest; your body needs the time to heal and repair itself. If you're not able to sleep well at night, consider taking a small, 30-minute nap. The additional rest may be what your body needs to begin to recover from stress.
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. You can also try adding essential oils to your bath to add a pleasant scent and further promote relaxation. Lavender, eucalyptus, and other similar options may help you unwind.
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. Avoiding caffeine can be a smart choice, too, as it may make you feel jittery or worsen pre-existing feelings of worry or anxiety.
Finding A Convenient Therapist
Along with these lifestyle changes, working with a professional counselor can help you reduce stress quickly. A licensed professional may be able to point out ways you can avoid stress and help you determine which options for stress-management work best for you.
If you’re chronically stressed, it’s likely that the last thing you need is another time commitment. Online therapy makes it easy to receive mental healthcare at a time and place that works for you. All you need is an internet connection and a space to connect with your provider, whether it be home, work, or wherever else you feel comfortable.
The benefits of online therapy aren’t just limited to its convenience, though. Research supports the effectiveness of online therapy for treating mental health symptoms. One study demonstrated that online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) caused a significant decrease in symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Even if you’re not managing a mental health disorder, the changes that stress may bring can likely be addressed with the help of a professional.
Below are a few testimonies that illustrate just how significant the benefits of online therapy for stress management can be. Let’s take a closer look:
“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. Chronic stress has become a nearly international concern, and it can affect nearly all areas of life. Fortunately, relief from stress and all that comes with it can be possible. With a few lifestyle changes and help from a therapist you trust, you'll likely be back to living a healthy, happy life in no time.
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