When it comes to maintaining good health, there are several things we must do on a consistent basis: exercise, eat a healthy diet and get plenty rest. These are all important and can be easily tracked, but another thing we must do for good health is practice stress management.
Why Stress Management?
The inability to handle stress can cause serious damage to a person’s health. The following health issues have been linked to stress:
- Accelerated ageing
- Gastrointestinal issues
- High blood pressure/heart disease
It’s important to note that not everyone reacts the same way to stressful situations, nor will everyone experience these health issues. In other words, what one person considers stressful may have no effect on the next person.
The key is to know your specific stress triggers and manage them accordingly.
Stress Management Tips
What causes you the most stress? For some, it’s sitting in rush hour traffic. For others it may be financial matters, health issues, or problems in their relationships. Whatever the cause(s), learning how to deal with them is essential for good health. Here are the top stress management techniques:
Working out reduces levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, making it a great way to relieve tension. Exercise also stimulates the production of endorphins, which help to boost mood and produce natural painkillers. Walking, swimming, jogging, weight training, yoga and many other exercises are popular stress relievers.
Eat healthy meals
Stress can be very taxing on the body, leading to many health issues as discussed above. One major reason is due to emotional eating: many of the “comfort foods” consumed while stressed (such as cookies, cakes, sodas and fast food) are high in calories, fat, sodium, and artificial preservatives. These foods have little nutritional value and should be avoided.
You can also evaluate triggers for eating comfort foods, and look to replace them with things that have more nutrients but still satisfy you.
Get a hobby
A person can become consumed with what stresses them, making it all they think about. A hobby is an excellent way to take your mind off what is bothering you. In addition to helping relieve chronic stress, hobbies can give you something to look forward to after a long day or week at work or school.
Some hobbies that have helped me are:
- Creating music
- Candle making
- Jewellery making
Keep a positive attitude
Having a positive attitude can clear the mind of negative thoughts. This can help a person deal with (and recover from) stressful situations more efficiently. A positive mindset is also beneficial in discovering ways to overcome the issues that cause them stress.
Accept what you can’t change
One of the best ways to overcome stress is to accept the fact that some things and situations can’t be changed. The past is the past, and there’s no turning back the hands of time. Instead of dwelling on past events, accept the fact that there’s nothing you can do about it and move on.
This sounds easily to do, however if you have tried to accept past traumas and worries with minimal effect, seeking help from a counselor or qualified therapist can be a fantastic step in the right direction.
Stop trying to predict the future
In many instances, a person will become stressed about situations that haven’t occurred. They are focused on what could happen in the future, thinking of every possible worst-case scenario and how it could affect them. This type of thinking can be paralyzing, and a recipe for disaster. By constantly focusing on the future’s perceived doom and gloom, they can’t enjoy life in the present. Ironically, what people worry about the most rarely occurs.
Sometimes, we may not even realise we are worrying about something that has not happened. When you feel you are stressed, take 5 mins to sit, and just think about what it is that is on your mind, if it is in the future and has not happened yet, try and quieten your mind by reminding yourself, that creating stress over something that has not happened and may not even happened, will not serve you and will unnecessarily upset you.
Something that has helped me, is when you are feeling stressed about something in the future, write 10 things down about the future stress, fold them up and put them away, and after the event or thing has happened – read them to see if it was as bad as you thought it was.
Get adequate rest
Stress can drain the body of its energy. Sleep allows the body to recover from stressful events and situations, allowing it to come back stronger the next day.
Learning how to manage stress is essential for good health. By discovering what causes you the most stress and how it affects you, you’re one step closer to becoming an expert at stress management.