Stress comes in all shapes and forms and doesn't discriminate against age, race, or gender. Everyone deals with stress throughout their lives, and it's crucial to learn the signs so you can recognize when it's happening and take the appropriate steps to heal.
Not only can stress affect you mentally, but it can lead to the development of physical symptoms as well, such as coronary problems, heart disease, anxiety, depressions, and more. In addition, research shows that stress can discourage you from participating in healthy activities like meditation or physical exercise. And, unfortunately, if the appropriate actions aren't taken to decrease your stress levels—it will only get worse. It's a never-ending loop!
We know how important it is to manage your stress levels, so we've gathered some things you can do to help:
Recognize your stress triggers
The first step everyone should take when dealing with stress: make a list of stressors in your life, and look for patterns in them. If the list reads "bills," "work hours," and "my boss," maybe it's time to start looking for a new job. Taking this first step to solving the problems will reduce stress and give you a glimpse of how your situation can eventually change for the better.
Decide what to avoid
Next, you should create a list of things that stress you out that are easily avoidable and carry it with you at all times. The list can include activities that add stress to your day-to-day routine, such as cooking, large groups, running late, etc. This will help you find the root problems and create a plan on how to change or avoid that situation. For example, if running late stresses you out, plan ahead, set your alarm early, or begin meal prepping to cut some time off your morning routine.
Don't let your stress build within you. An easy way to relieve some tension is through exercise. Cardiovascular exercises are the best ways to fight stress and strengthen your heart, such as running, cycling, or even just a short walk. Just 30 minutes of daily exercise can make a huge difference.
Mediation and relaxation
We can’t get everything done perfectly without cutting back on a few things meanwhile. So, prioritize and don’t feel pressured by a lack of time.
Relaxation & breathing exercises
Meditation is proven to help with relaxation. Set some time aside for yourself and your body each day for some simple breathing exercises. Consider learning the box breathing technique, breathing imagery, or bhramari pranayama breathing exercise (Breathe Your Way to a Better Sleep). Or try something new before bed—like a body scan exercise!
Share the burden and get treatment
Sharing your problems with someone else (such as a trusted friend or a therapist) can relieve stress and give you a different point of view on the issue at hand. It's important to recognize when a problem is too big to figure out on your own, and a therapist is often the best option to help clear your mind and decide on your next steps for stress relief.
Chances are, you won't solve stress overnight. You need to show up every day for yourself and put your mental health first. It can often take some time to see considerable results, but don't give up! Stress is manageable, and there's always a light at the end of the tunnel!