Consider your triggers and relaxation techniques, and make sure you take the time to actually work through them.
Stress is an inevitable part of everyone’s daily life. While we most often view it as something negative, it can also be a positive driving force and help us become not only better at what we do but also better humans overall.
Here’s what you need to understand about stress and how you can overcome its negative effects.
What Is Stress?
We usually define stress as a situation or event that puts pressure on us. Stress makes us feel uncomfortable and high-strung. It can have a whole range of mental and physical effects.
Different people will be stressed out by different things. You will often find yourself stressing out in situations when others are calm and vice-versa.
Stress can be caused by both internal and external factors. The former typically pertain to negative thinking patterns, anxiety, or overthinking. External factors usually include finances, health issues, relationship struggles, problems at work, and the like.
Issues with stress arise when it becomes chronic or when you start to have disproportionate reactions to small stressors. This is when you start to experience the physical and mental effects of heightened stress:
- Digestive issues
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of focus
- Mental fog
These are just some of the symptoms of being under too much stress. In the long term, too much stress can lead to serious health conditions, including heart disease, a weakened immune system, and even cancer.
When you are under stress, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is responsible for that long-term damage when left unchecked for a long period of time.
What Stresses You Out?
The most important thing you need to know about stress is that it is extremely individual. Certain situations will stress you out and leave others completely nonplussed. You may find yourself reacting to situations others find stressful in an exceptionally calm way.
In order to truly understand stress and how you can manage and overcome it, you first need to discover what stresses you out personally. You can do a brief search and find a list of common stressors and think about your response to them. Keep a stressor journal and jot down all the situations that cause you heightened stress.
Once you have a more or less complete list of personal stressors, you can start combating them one by one. You may need to seek professional help with some of them. However, here are some methods for lowering your stress levels that can be applied in a variety of situations.
How to Overcome Stress
Here are some general tactics that can help you overcome the most common triggers:
- Sleep better.
Sleep is the most underrated path to a more stress-free life. When we don’t get enough sleep, cortisol can wreak havoc in our bodies, making us feel much worse. So, first and foremost, find a bed that works for you. Aim for a king or even a California king sized bed that will provide plenty of space and comfort. Set yourself a sleeping schedule that will ensure you get at least seven and a half hours of rest every night.
- Eat better.
You are what you put in your body. Fueling yourself with sugar and caffeine will heighten your stress, while eating a balanced diet full of real food will do the opposite.
- Move more.
Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. You don’t have to start going to the gym every day. A simple walk around the block and lunchtime will do a whole lot of good.
A simple breathing exercise can help you calm both your mind and your body. Just take several slow, deep breaths, holding at the top, and you’ll quickly rebalance yourself, even when you’re about to freak out.
- Find your personal de-stress routine.
Since stress is so personal, what helps you decompress will be equally up to you. Some people like to journal, others talk to friends, and some would rather spend their evening in the bath with a good book. While you are compiling your list of stressors, create a parallel one detailing all the things that help you unwind. Then just pair them up and figure out which activity will help you relax after which trigger.
You will never be able to overcome all the stress in your life — and you shouldn’t aim to. But there is a lot you can do to make your everyday existence more stress-free. Consider your triggers and relaxation techniques, and make sure you take the time to actually work through them.