How To Keep Your Stress Level Manageable

Updated January 18, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

There are a lot of things that can cause stress in daily life. If you aren't careful, the stress that you face can have a very negative impact on you going forward. It's easy to feel like a lot of the stress that you're facing is out of your control, but while this may be true, there are still things you can do to keep your stress level manageable.

Signs And Symptoms Of Stress

Chances are if you're stressed, you're going to know it. But there are some signs of stress that many people miss. So, here are some signs and symptoms commonly connected with stress.

Feeling Tired

When dealing with constant stress, it's easy to feel exhausted. Your mind is constantly working on finding a solution for whatever it is you're going through, and that can be incredibly tiring. You may feel like you have no energy to make it through the day.

Difficulty Sleeping

When you have a lot of stress in your life, it can lead to anxious thoughts. These thoughts can tend to show up at the worst times - like when you're trying to fall asleep for the night.

Or, if you're like some people, you don't have any problem falling asleep, but you can't stay asleep. You are sleeping as soon as your head hits the pillow because you are exhausted from the day, but then you're up in the middle of the night with all your anxious thoughts running through your mind.

Irritability

It's easy to become more irritable when dealing with constant stress in your life. This can happen because your mind is constantly reviewing the situations causing you stress. Your energy and focus are distracted from the other areas of your life. So, if any other issue arises, you don't have the patience to deal with it.

Digestive Issues

Want To Feel More Relaxed? Therapy Can Help You Manage Stress

Studies have found that if you're dealing with high levels of stress, you may also experience problems with your digestive system. It could be diarrhea or constipation. You could experience feelings of nauseousness or stomach cramps.

Change In Appetite

Some people turn to food to manage their stress levels. They eat unhealthy foods either because they are convenient or simply because they want to. But there are also people that lose their appetite with stress. It's difficult for them to bring themselves to eat anything.

These are not the only signs and symptoms of stress. If you notice a change in your behavior, physical symptoms, or emotional state, it could be tied to stress.

How Stress Levels Are Measured

Let's be real; stress is a normal part of life. You will never be able to eliminate all the things from your life that cause you stress. That's why it's important to find a way to measure your stress. Then, you can tell when you are experiencing normal levels of stress or when it's starting to get out of control.

Signs that you should watch for include:

Physical Signs

When your stress is starting to get out of control, you may start experiencing the physical signs of stress mentioned above. You may run into digestive issues, headaches, chest pain, and body aches. You may also experience a dip in your libido or irregular periods.

Emotional Signs

Stress also comes with mental and emotional signs. Things to watch for include increased levels of anxiety or feelings of depression. You may be more irritable, have trouble sleeping, or struggle with your memory. You may also find that your decision-making skills are affected.

When you know the physical and emotional signs to watch for, you can start to monitor how your levels are. It can be helpful to keep track of how you're feeling each day. By doing this, you will be able to spot when you are having higher levels of stress, so you'll know when to take action to lower your levels.

Some companies are developing stress trackers, similar to fitness trackers. They work by looking at things like heart rate variability, which can be an indicator of stress. However, there are some obstacles that these trackers face. For example, right now, they can't differentiate between when heart rates are rising because of excitement vs. stress. As technology continues to improve, there will be more accurate trackers and sensors on the market.

Tips On Managing Your Stress Level

Whether you have the assistance of a tracker or you are just paying attention to your stress levels on your own, there are some things that you can do to manage your stress level healthily.

Get Exercise Regularly

When your body is under stress, the "fight or flight" reaction naturally kicks in. When that happens, your body releases additional adrenaline and cortisol. This was important back in the past when stress was caused by dangerous situations that humans needed to be able to respond to. But, in current times, we aren't usually stressed over something that we need to fight or run away from fast. So, this can cause people to gain weight because we don't have a way to release all those extra hormones properly.

Exercise can help use up the extra stress hormones so they aren't just staying in your body. This doesn't have to be strenuous exercise; it could be as simple as going for a walk. Just try to get your body moving.

Keep A Journal

Journaling can help you manage stress in a few different ways. The first is that it can help to get your frustrations out of your head and down on paper. This may be all you need to be able to move on from your stress and anxiety.

It may also help because you can look back at past entries and spot any patterns that are adding to your stress. You may know that you are feeling stressed but not be able to spot exactly where it's coming from. Journal entries may pinpoint the cause of your stress.

Learn Time Management And Organizational Skills

Two key culprits of stress include poor time management and organizational skills. If you struggle in these areas, you may find yourself running behind constantly. You're always late for meetings and appointments. You can't find your keys. Or your client files. And you are always procrastinating on deadlines.

Learning how to manage your time better, set appropriates deadlines, and keep your things organized can go a long way in helping reduce your stress.

Don't Overcommit Yourself

If your schedule is booked and you're constantly running from one place to the next, you're going to feel the stress. Sometimes the best thing you can do is learn how to say "no" to people and commitments. If you try to give a piece of yourself to everything, everything may not get your best—causing more stress.

This means you might have to say "no" to good things and things that you might want to do or would be fun to do. But, if you want to reduce your stress, you will need to learn to set priorities and choose the things that are the most important to you. Give yourself a break. It's OK not to be the room mom, lead on a big project at work, be the PTA president, and volunteer at the food bank. These are all good things, but it's OK to choose one thing to focus on at a time.

Choose Relationships Wisely

Some people might cause you to stress more than others. Limit your time with those people. Think about which people in your life are positive and make you feel happy. Choose to spend more time with those people and less time with the people that drain you of your energy.

Don't be in a romantic relationship with someone that causes you unneeded stress. If you want to continue the relationship but find it to be stressful, consider couples counseling.

Talk To A Therapist

Want To Feel More Relaxed? Therapy Can Help You Manage Stress

If you are struggling with stress regularly, talk to a therapist. They can help you to learn how to identify where your stress is coming from and learn strategies to cope with it effectively.

It has been shown that online therapy can be an effective way to learn how to manage your stress, along with other mental health issues. Studies have revealed that many types of online therapeutic strategies, such as cognitive behavior therapy, are as effective—if not more effective—as in-person therapy.

There will always be stressful situations that come along in life, but working with a therapist can help you learn how to deal with them healthily. You don't have to continue to live with frequent stress. And online counseling makes it even less stressful to get help, since you can arrange a meeting at a time and place that's convenient for you. BetterHelp has therapists trained to help you manage your stress and improve your day-to-day living.

Below are commonly asked questions on this topic:

What is an acceptable level of stress?
How can stress levels be managed?
What are the 5 levels of stress?
What are the 3 stress levels?
What is normal stress health?
Why is managing stress important?
How can you reduce or avoid stress?
How long can stress last?
Why do I stress so easily?
How do you monitor stress levels?

For additional help & support with your concerns

The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
Get the support you need from one of our therapistsGet Started