What is stress?
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension, and it is the body’s response to a challenge or demand. The stress response can include physical components such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, thoughts, and personal beliefs about the stressful event, and emotions like fear and anger. Stress does not always stem from negativity, as it can also come about as a result of positive changes in your life, such as getting a promotion at work or having a new baby.
How can we reduce the destructive effects of stress?
It is incredibly important to note that stress serves an important purpose—it enables us to respond quickly to threats and avoid danger. Unfortunately, prolonged exposure to stress without properly handling it may lead to mental health difficulties (for example, anxiety and depression) or increased physical health problems. While it is impossible to avoid all stress, there are many ways to handle it in a healthy manner.
• Eat and drink to optimize your health
• Exercise regularly (it can also help improve your sleep quality)
• Consider supplements
• Reduce caffeine intake (high doses can increase anxiety)
• Spend time with friends and family
• Avoid procrastinating
• Stop usage of tobacco and nicotine products
• Study and practice relaxation techniques
• Reduce triggers of stress
• Examine your values and live by them
• Assert yourself / learn to say no
• Set realistic goals and expectations
• Sell yourself to yourself
There are several other methods you can use at the moment to relax or reduce stress, including:
• Deep breathing exercises
• Mindfulness meditation
• Progressive muscle relaxation
• Mental imagery relaxation
• Relaxation to music
• Counseling, to help you recognize and release stress