Stress Management 101! Now that was a class I could of used back in the day.
It’s no secret that stress can take a toll on our mental and physical health. It’s one of the leading causes of disease in Canada. But many people don’t know there are ways to manage stress and reduce its harmful effects.
This article will discuss some of the most effective methods for managing stress. We’ll also look at the benefits of reducing stress and how it can improve your overall health.
Stress: What is it?
Stress is a term used to describe various physical and emotional sensations. It can be caused by both good and bad situations, such as excitement about a new job or stress about an upcoming test. The stress response is a natural bodily reaction that helps us cope with difficult situations. It occurs when the brain perceives a threat, whether real or not. The stress response triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which prepare the body to deal with the threat. Unfortunately, this causes several physical and emotional symptoms, such as a racing heart, sweating, anxiety, & difficulty concentrating.
While stress is not always bad, it can become a problem when it is constant or when it interferes with our ability to function normally. For example, chronically elevated levels of cortisol can negatively affect our health, including weight gain, high blood pressure, & insomnia. IT IS ESSENTIAL to learn how to manage stress effectively.
The Fight-Flight-Freeze Response is another name for the stress response. This describes how humans typically respond to stressors: fighting them head-on, fleeing from them, or freezing in place. Each person typically has a dominant response, but they may also exhibit elements of the other responses depending on the situation. No one is locked into one way of responding. The way we respond to events are based on our past experience. There is no correct way. That’s basic stress management 101 knowledge. Release judgement.
The stress response is a natural and essential part of human survival. It allows us to react quickly to dangerous situations, like being attacked by a wild animal or suddenly losing our balance. But in today’s world, we’re often faced with more mental than physical stressors. And while the stress response can still be helpful in these situations, it can also be detrimental to our health if it’s constantly activated.
How Stress Harms Us
When we’re stressed, our bodies release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help us react quickly and effectively to stressors, but they can also be harmful if released in large amounts or over a long period.
Adrenaline is responsible for the “fight or flight” response, which causes our heart rate to increase and our breathing to quicken. This response allows us to respond quickly and forcefully to stressors, but it can also be harmful if activated too often. Excessive adrenaline can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems.
Cortisol is responsible for the “freeze” response, which causes us to feel scared or anxious. This allows us to avoid danger, but if cortisol is constantly released, it can negatively affect our health. For example, cortisol can cause weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and sleep problems. It can also weaken our immune system, making us more susceptible to infection and illness.
Stress isn’t always bad – in fact, it’s sometimes necessary for survival. But when it’s chronic or excessive, it can lead to some severe health problems. So managing stress is essential for maintaining our physical and mental health.
Stress Management 101
9 Tips For Stress Management
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress levels. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects, and it also helps burn off the adrenaline and cortisol released during stress. Exercise is one of the best ways to flush that stress chemistry through your body. Don’t let it build up. Flush that shit. It’s also another great way to start to reframe fitness.
Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet is stress management 101. It’s vital for overall health, and it’s crucial when it comes to managing stress. Eating nutritious foods helps keep our energy levels and stress hormones in check. So, include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. And limit or avoid processed foods and sugary snacks.
Get enough sleep.
Sleep is essential for good health, and it’s especially important when it comes to stress management 101. Lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and irritability, making stress harder to deal with.
A good rule of thumb is to give yourself 8 hours of “sleep opportunity” every night, though everyone’s sleep needs vary. If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are many things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene. I’ve linked to a previous post on sleep if you’d like to read a bit more.
Take breaks throughout the day.
It’s essential to take time for yourself during the day, even just for a few minutes. This will help you relax and de-stress, making it easier to handle stressors when they come up later. Breaks can be anything from taking a quick walk around the block to reading your favourite book to listening to soothing music. So do whatever makes you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, and schedule at least a few breaks each day.
I like to use the Pomodoro technique, which works for 25 minutes and takes a 5-minute break. This helps me to stay focused and stress-free during the work day.
Practice relaxation techniques.
Many different relaxation techniques can help reduce stress levels. Some people prefer yoga or meditation, while others find relief in massage or aromatherapy. Experiment until you find a method that works best for you.
One specific technique is called progressive muscle relaxation. It’s a great practice if you are learning how to manage stress and strengthen the mind-body connection.
You can do this anywhere, and it only takes a few minutes. Start by tensing and relaxing each muscle group in your body, from your toes to your head. As you tighten each muscle, breathe in deeply. As you relax the muscle, breathe out slowly. This will help to clear your mind and focus on the present moment, which can be very relaxing.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Caffeine and alcohol are both stimulants and can make stress worse by exacerbating the “fight or flight” response. So try to avoid them if you’re feeling stressed out or anxious. Instead, try drinking herbal tea or water with lemon. Another option is to try stress-relieving supplements like magnesium or ashwagandha. But remember, always check with your medical or health care provider when using supplements.
Make time for fun activities.
Doing things we enjoy is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels. So whether spending time with friends and family, going for a walk in nature, or reading a good book, make sure to include some fun activities in your life!
Creative Expression through dance, art, or music can also be stress-relieving.
Limit exposure to stressful situations.
Most people today lead hectic lives, and it’s often difficult to avoid stress entirely. However, you can limit exposure to stressful situations by making simple changes to your routine. For example, schedule important tasks for earlier in the day, when you’re likely less stressed. And avoid over scheduling yourself!
Another thing to keep in mind, it matters how you view stress. Good stress, aka, Eustress, can be beneficial. For example, it can motivate you to meet a deadline or achieve a goal. So, not all stress is bad. It’s important to be able to differentiate between the two and manage them both accordingly.
Practice positive self-talk.
When stressed, it’s easy to start thinking negatively about yourself. But positively talking to yourself can help you feel better. Here are some of the benefits of positive self-talk:
1. It can help you stay calm and focused in difficult situations.
2. It can boost your confidence and self-esteem.
3. It can help you stay motivated and optimistic.
4. It can improve your mood and outlook on life.
Basically, stress is…
Stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to control you. Using some or all of the stress management techniques mentioned above can take back control and improve your overall well-being. Remember, it’s essential to find what works best for you. So experiment until you find a routine that helps you feel calm and relaxed.
In this article, we explore stress management 101 – what it is, why it’s important, and how to go about reducing its harmful effects on our mental and physical health.