Stress Management Tips
for Stress Relief and a more Peaceful Lifestyle
Are you feeling the effects of stress in your life? Do you feel like you need a handful of stress management tips in a hurry? If so, you are not alone. Millions of people deal with some sort of stress on a day to day basis.
Actually, in today’s fast paced world it is close to impossible to live completely stress free. The good news is that we can alleviate some of the stress by following a few, simple action steps.
The major changes that the world has endured over the past few decades -changes that create challenges and a constant call to adapt to our environment and our circumstances- have contributed greatly to the levels of stress we all face regularly, and as you know, stress can wreak havoc in our physical, mental and emotional health.
For this very reason, it is imperative for all of us to learn stress management tips and techniques to help us cope and perform better, and even reduce the amount of stress on a regular basis.
The interesting thing about stress is that it is not a new occurrence of modern life, but a natural response of the body to a certain demand or pressure from the outside world; it is a reactive mechanism that is innate to us all. As such, stress is not always a bad thing, and acknowledging this already helps reducing resistance to stress and the stress that comes from the resistance itself. For instance, you feel stressed when you get a promotion at work, when you move to another house or city, after the birth of a baby, and even right before taking a vacation.
In short, any circumstance that derives from the routine will cause some kind of stress. Notice that none of the above examples are negative things per se, yet they do cause stress. From this we can conclude that the main purpose of stress is to keep us within a safe or known environment or situation, or within our comfort zone. Stress is a protection mechanism.
The problem with stress is that it has become the norm rather than the response to an occasional event. You most likely agree that life has changed drastically and its pace has truly quickened in recent years. This has given rise to additional stress and at times, a total lack of any stress-free moments which is where the real burden lies.
Persistent stress is harmful to your health because living in a constant reactive mode causes alterations within your system that affect important body functions. For instance, one of the immediate responses to stress is an increase in adrenaline production.
Adrenaline is a powerful hormone which increases your heart rate and raises your blood pressure. It also speeds up the conversion of glycogen into glucose to provide energy to your muscles, which makes blood sugar levels fluctuate a bit too often.
All of these changes facilitate the “Fight or Flight Response” to help you cope with potentially dangerous or unexpected situations.
This response is meant to save your life if you are in the middle of a fire or about to be run over by a car; however, when this response is active on a regular basis, it takes a toll on your health. This same activity goes on when one or more stressors that don’t necessarily pose an immediate threat are present in your day to day life… yet, the effects on your body are the same as if they were in fact, life threatening.
As you would expect, when one element is out of proportion in an otherwise balanced environment, other components are affected as well. Therefore, adrenaline affects other hormones. One of the most significant ones is cortisol. High Cortisol levels lead to a variety of symptoms that range from fatigue and weakness to total exhaustion and from muscle aches to severe bone loss.
Irritability, depression, skin problems, reduced healing ability, mental fogginess and immune dysfunction amongst many others could also be effects of impaired hormonal function, all which can have profound effects in your overall health.
A multitude of studies have been conducted around stress, its effects, and the benefits of stress management tips and techniques. You can find many more details by just doing an online search. However, I believe that since stress cannot be avoided 100%, the best approach lies in learning a handful of stress management tips to handle it in a way that is conducive to living a balanced life. The importance of this cannot be overstated. If you want to live a healthier, longer and happier life, there are things that you can do and many stress management tips are well within your reach.
The following five stress management tips are just a sample of the many tips that can help you with stress relief.
Diet is not often associated with stress; however, it has a dramatic effect on stress. Diet is usually the number one element that is out of balance and as such, it should be an important element in your stress management arsenal. A well balanced diet will not only help you keep healthy but will reduce stress levels as well.
The usual foods to avoid are stimulants such as coffee and all caffeinated beverages, alcoholic drinks and sugar saturated foods like doughnuts and cakes. Also, reduce or eliminate consumption of high fat content foods like fried chicken and other animal products.
Add instead healthy foods to your diet every day, such as whole grains, green and yellow vegetables , good carbohydrates and foods high in fiber. Make sure that you’re also drinking plenty of water throughout the day to balance your diet properly.
Do you have a difficult time sleeping because of stress? If so, you must take serious steps to break this habit because lack of sleep compounds on stress itself which can turn into a vicious cycle. Among the easiest of stress management tips is to prepare before you go to sleep at night.About 30 minutes before your bedtime, stop all food intake, do not watch TV –and much less the news- and do not drink anything either.Take melatonin, sit in a quiet place to read something pleasant, do some relaxation exercises or meditate. Control your self-talk by not allowing your mind to run rampant about the challenges you might have had throughout the day. Learn to think about solutions during the morning hours, but never at bedtime. You will soon find that you are sleeping better and achieving balance which helps you reduce stress.
When the problems in your mind are bubbling, you get tense and when you are in the same position most of the day (i.e. working at your computer or desk), the inactivity will undeniably cause muscle tension as well.
We’ve all heard about the well documented benefits of exercising; the human body was designed to move. Thus, in order to relieve this physical tension, start by getting frequent breaks throughout your day to stretch and get the blood flowing.
Then, get into an exercise routine that includes 30 minutes per session at least three times per week.When you exercise, you give yourself an instant vacation from the problems in your mind and in many occasions you will notice that solutions will suddenly pop into your mind. Also, endorphins are released during exercise. These hormones create a “natural high” and the good feelings contribute to stress relief. This is why exercise is at the top of the stress management tips list.
Many don’t realize it but living in a cluttered environment can cause a lot of stress. If you don’t believe this, just think back to the time in which your car keys were nowhere to be found or the rush you felt at 9:30 AM going through your desk frantically looking for that important contract for the 10:00 AM meeting, or trying to find the bill you had to pay immediately to prevent overcharges, or… whoaaaa! Stressful for sure! Organization is essential for a more relaxed and peaceful life as well as getting rid of every thing you don’t use or need any longer. Taking time to organize your file cabinet, your closet and your garage, and disposing of all the excess stuff will help you get in balance and reduce stress almost immediately.
We’ve been talking about the importance of leading a balanced life to reduce stress, and having fun is an all important element to this formula.It doesn’t matter how much you love your work, if you are a workaholic and don’t take time to have fun, laugh and enjoy life, you will find yourself stressed over time. Take time off to share with your friends and family and do something fun.If you have a hobby or enjoy an outdoor activity, take time to enjoy that too. Your mental and physical health will thank you!
The above are just five stress management tips to get you started into a more balanced and less stressed life. For a more comprehensive approach to stress, I highly recommend this brand new ebook titled “Dealing with Stress Naturally.” Click on the ebook image to learn more…