Ways to Manage and Cope With Stress: A Guide to Stress Management Techniques
Stress is something that everyone deals with. In fact, most people deal with stress on a daily basis and don’t think much about how this affects them. Stress is common, of course, but this doesn't mean that you can’t learn to get a handle on your stress and lower its impact on your health.
Stress affects more than just your mood. Over time, it can wreak havoc on your body, your physical and mental health. In fact stress can effect certain systems within the body, like your cardiovascular system (blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular disease), gastrointestinal system (effecting appetite, absorption process in the gut) and even your immune system.
Psychological stressors can even exacerbate breathing problems. If you have chronic respiratory health conditions they can worsen with increased stress.
In this post, we'll go over the basics of coping with stress. We'll introduce some great stress management techniques for you. We will also talk about how these techniques can be beneficial to you in the long term.
Top Stress Management Techniques:
Stress management techniques are crucial to your health and wellness. You want to learn how to healthily cope with your stress, this way you can live a long and healthy life.
The following stress management techniques are basic, but powerful, and can help change the way you live and feel in your daily lives.
1. Deep Breathing Exercises
Deep breathing is one of the most popular stress management techniques you can learn. This simple, yet effective, technique can lower your stress within minutes, if you know how to properly perform it. It isn’t difficult to do. In fact, many people in professional settings learn how to deep breathe to handle stress. For instance, medical personnel, soldiers, and police officers are taught this technique to deal with stress rapidly in trying situations.
So, you can learn to do this too!
By taking a deep breath in and slowly exhaling the air in your lungs, you can bring a lasting sense of calm during a stressful day or event. Best done with good posture in mind, try breathing in for 4 seconds and then breath out for 8 seconds.
As you breath in, your heart rate increases and as you breath out, it decreases. By doing this simple strategy, you just may be able to calm your nervous system down and get a better hold of your situation. Over a few minutes you may find yourself better able to concentrate and focus your attention away from the stressor.
2. Work Out on a Regular Basis
Many individuals in their fast paced lives find it difficult to deal with the added responsibility of a regular workout routine. Our jobs and other commitments already drain much of our energy. However the vast array of benefits of exercise are well researched.
Exercise does not increase stress. In fact, this single act can reduce your stress levels, dramatically. Exercise and other types of physical activities produce chemicals called endorphins. These "feel good" hormones, act as natural 'pain killers'. Research suggest that regular exercise decreases tension, helps elevate mood, and even plays a role in improving self-esteem.
Of course, exercise can seem unappealing when you're stressed out, but it is a major stress killer. Just thirty minutes of focused exercise each day can make you feel more relaxed and at ease with your mind and body.
It’s quite clear that leading a more active lifestyle can create a more balanced and stress-free life! A light routine of walking and aerobic exercise is enough to shift your stress levels in a more positive direction.
3. Start Meditating Daily
Meditation is another great tool for managing stress. In fact a report on data, shows that both adults and children's use of meditation has dramatically increased over the years. Many however, still don’t take the time to sit down and really get a handle on our emotions and thoughts. This can seem like a daunting task for many people, it could even lead to more stress.
However, as you learn to calm your mind and body with meditation, you can reduce your stress with more ease over time. This from of mindfulness, trains your attention to achieve a mental state of calm and positive emotions.
Meditation might appear useless or pointless to some, focusing on the present and self can have powerful effects on the psyche. Just short sessions of consistent meditation may change our body’s reaction to stress.
4. Try Doing Some Yoga
Like meditation, yoga has a similar positive effect on stress. With this stress management technique, your body and mind are synced up and brought into harmony. However, in addition to reducing stress and clearing the mind, yoga also allows you to gain flexibility and strength in your body, helping for better physiological functioning.
If you're looking for a way to get into exercise, yoga is a great place to start. Yoga is calming and relaxing, yet at the same time, it creates an intense focus on the body.
It's been researched to even improve overall quality of life, mood, and fatigue, like in this study of 135 seniors, who participated in 6 months of yoga.
There are tons of great health benefits associated with this practice. With yoga, you can reduce joint and muscle pain (like people who suffer from lower back pain), and even better the quality of your overall health and wellness. Start out with small sessions of yoga, preferably with a yoga instructor or class, and ease into your practice.
Try to be kind to yourself if you're new to this stress management technique. You can experience lower stress and see results when you put in the regular effort!
5. Eat More Healthy Foods
The foods we choose to eat also have an effect on stress. Really, every choice we make can help improve or worsen our stress levels. If you want to manage stress successfully, though, this starts by leading a more healthy lifestyle.
Diet is one important aspect of health and wellness. When we eat well, we feel energized, happy, and ready to take on the world. On the other hand, when you eat a diet full of fats and sugars, you're less equipped to handle stress. In fact, some studies suggest that you will react worse to stress with a poor diet.
Nutrients that may be beneficial to stress-reduction include vitamin C, complex carbohydrates, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Some foods like oatmeal have been known to reduce stress hormone levels, and boost levels of serotonin.
You want to try and eat foods that are beneficial for your body and stay away from artificial snacks and meals. Eat more vegetables and fruits and get your protein from a source that is safe and ethical. It can be hard to change how we eat, but your stress and your very life may just depend on these decisions.
6. Take Supplements
Also related to diet are nutritional supplements. Not everyone may need to take daily supplements depending on your diet. Still, there are some supplements that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Rhodiola, valerian root, magnesium, and vitamin B (like above) complex are just a few supplements you can look into to potentially limit or help with daily stress.
7. Use Aromatherapy
Finally, if you're experiencing high levels of stress, try lighting a candle or using an essential oil diffuser. Scents can seem insignificant, especially when you're stressed out. However, science has shown that certain scents and essential oils, may activate certain parts of the brain that control emotions and help reduce stress and anxiety to some degree.
There are a variety of scents you can try out for aromatherapy. We recommend using scents such as lavender, ylang-ylang, rose, and sandalwood, which you can read more about by clicking on there corresponding links.
There are a lot of challenges everyday that can cause stress to creep into our everyday lives. We must make sure to find ways to decreases those stresses as they occur. These are just a few examples, but very solid, proven ways, we can do just that!
Please share your thoughts and experiences of ways that you've used to help cope and manage stress in your life in the comments section of our blog.
Thanks for stopping by!