It’s not easy to decipher how not to stress, as stress is a part of life. Stress is the wear and tear of our mental and physical health but as we continue to find more soothing ways to cope with a constant change in our surroundings.
People often think of stress as something related to work, chores at home, illnesses, and even trying to beat rush hour traffic—they are not wrong—but there is more. Multiple factors that trigger stress, but stress is the body’s internal reaction to fight or take flight in the presence of trouble.
In simple biological terms, stress is the state of increased arousal necessary for the human body to defend itself from a present danger. Whenever we feel anxious, tired, angered, frightened, happy, sad, we are undergoing stress.
From minor challenges to major issues, stress is an acceptable but unavoidable pressure of human life. Stress is normal until it feels like we are incapable of controlling and coping with the overwhelming problems that stress comes with.
Stress is triggered by multiple things from the economy, jobs, home problems, illnesses, children and so on.
Types of Stress
In learning on how not to stress yourself, you must understand the types of stress and how you can encourage it in your life. The causes of stress (stressors) are varied and can multiple, but I am grouping them into two sections.
These are external triggers that affect your ability to stay focused or composed. They are:
- Physical environment – confined spaces, light, noise, heat, brightness, and even darkness
- Organizational – rules, regulation, deadlines, office gossips, pressure from work, etc
- Social interaction – bullying, bossiness, disregard, harassment, aggressiveness (general human behaviour towards you)
- Life crises – death, relocation, new baby, marriage, losing your job, divorce, etc
- Daily hassles – late in catching the bus, misplacing your car/house keys, mechanical breakdown, etc
- These are stressors that emanate from our thoughts, mindset, and attitude. For example:
- Your lifestyle – not getting enough rest, busy schedules, or alcohol
- Negative thoughts – self-doubt, overthinking, feeling incapable.
- Mind traps – being too personal about issues, unrealistic expectations, exaggerated or rigid mindset, etc
- Personality traits – workaholic, OCD, perfectionist, etc
- These factors contribute heavily to mental and physical stress leading to fear, anger, unforgiveness, and depression.Stress and You
To consider stress as an ailment of modernity and technology is misinforming. Yes, our fast-paced lives and lifestyle can cause stress, straining, and under relentless pressure. But we have created those triggers for ourselves. Maybe this is due to a desire for intense competitiveness and to match up with our peers. Stress is different for individuals, even if you are in the same situation as someone else.For example, a couple going through a bitter divorce will see the man enjoying himself while the lady suffers from bouts of emotional ups and downs. What is distressing to you may be nothing to another.Take this example: a man works effectively in the comfort of his home yet finds working in a team or office stressful and overwhelming.
It is necessary to know that most of the stresses we experience are self-generated and self-induced. How we perceive (life)—whether a situation is threatening, sad, or happy—depends on how we see ourselves. The ability to recognize the stresses we create is the first step toward preventing stress.
Symptoms of Stress
Excessive, prolonging, and denying the existent of stress in our lives is detrimental and affects our entirety—and if left unresolved, results in a feeling of fear, anger, frustration, and depression.
Stress contributes to simple illnesses like headaches, skin diseases, ulcers, insomnia, and digestive problems. In severe cases, stress can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. The following are the symptoms of stress grouped into four categories.
- Physical Symptoms
- Change in sleep pattern without any obvious reason
- Unstable digestive system resulting in diarrhea and inability to hold down food
- Low sexual libido
- Headaches and body pain
- Dizziness, unnecessary sweating, and feeling faint
- Palpitations, breathlessness, quickened heartbeats, or missed heartbeats
- Mental Symptoms
- Inability to focus
- Memory lapses
- Fear/panic attack
- Behavioral Symptoms
- Eating disorder and appetite
- Increase smoking and alcohol intake
- Restlessness, fidgeting, and nail-biting
- Emotional Symptoms
- Easily irritated
- Anger, rage, cry easily
- Deterioration in hygiene habit and appearance
The primary triggers of stress are lack of financial stability, job security, family responsibility, personal relationship, health issues, and safety. Now that we have successfully categorized stress, it is time to recognize the one you are suffering from and choose a simple technique to manage it.
Remember, stress can be controlled, allowing you to live a fulfilling life.
10 Stress Management Techniques
Common stress management techniques are such things like, eating right, exercise, yoga, even meditation. However, some stress is needing more than these four techniques, so we will list out as many as possible to help deal with that stressful situation.
A set of simple yet effective techniques to help individuals understand, identify, and effectively deal with the stress in their lives to minimize the impact.
1. Change the Perspective
How many times have you replayed a negative situation and outcome in your head that never happens? We are all human, and as crazy as it sounds, negativity is appealing and more creative than positive things. However, stress is tied to negativity and our inability to break free from them.
Changing your perspective is not as simple as ABC. However, you can start by analysing the feeling, removing all exaggerated parts, pick out the truth (be honest here) and discard the rest. Phew, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Now, take the truth and work on it from a positive angle. You will immediately feel less stressed, disoriented, and angered. It will take some time, but never judge an issue from an exaggerated point of view.
2. Create a Journal
A problem shared is only half solved. While we cannot all go about speaking about our predicaments to others, another effective way of sharing and problem solving is journaling. There is really nothing difficult about journaling—it is you writing the day’s events and how they made you feel.
Stress takes focus, clarity, and awareness of our immediate environment from us. Well, journaling restores them back to you. When you write down your feelings, you can identify, understand, and deal with them better than replaying them in your head. It allows you to separate your feelings and define emotion connections with your internal aura for better clarity.
3. Mindful Breathing
Stress takes peace and stability away from your life. Breathing is held in high regards by Buddhists and Taoists who believe that breathing is a system of reintroducing peace into a troubled soul.
Mindful breathing is breathing that comes from the pit of your belly. It is, deep consistent, and can be stress relieving breathes which calms you down.
Mindful breathing can be done anyway in two easy steps:
Gentle inhale air to fill your lungs and stomach while slowly counting to 3 or five through your nose
Hold for a second or two and gradually exhale while counting 1 through 5
Repeat this phase as many times as possible until you feel your power is returning to you. As you exhale, imagine that you are breathing out the stress and tension.
4. Positive and Guided Daydreaming
We all daydream—some are good, and others run wild with our imagination. Using guided images and thoughts, you can avert a stress situation from escalating.
For example, you just had a heated argument with your spouse on the phone, and you are at work. Two things can happen: have your mood down all day, or you can identify the stress and calm dissipate it with happier images—daydreaming.
Close your eyes and imagine a happy memory. Use good thoughts to counteract negative one’s ad build your confidence from deep within. Also, forgive the situation and yourself, else you will keep playing the thought in your mind.
5. Go Back to Your To-Do List
If you cannot complete the chores, let it be. But remember that trying to squeeze in more than you can handle is killing you slowly. Even superheroes rests occasionally, so you should, too.
Reducing or prioritizing your workload is important and can be the solution to the constant backaches, headaches and shoulder pains.
6. Yoga It
Yoga is an Indian form of meditation that combines simple poses, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to ward off stress and stressors. Yoga is an effective stress relief technique because it deals with the physical, emotional, and mental organs that stress hacks into. The immediate benefits of yoga are felt immediately, but the long-term impact is also beautiful.
To get started, you can follow simple yoga programs online or enrol in a class to help you to master the poses at your own pace. Yoga enables you to breathe easily, improves the clarity of thoughts and mind, relaxes the body and mental health. However, if the twist and turns of yoga are not for you, then you will enjoy the next technique.
7. Add Exercise to Your Routine
Our body is like a car engine, if you do not maintain it, it will crash when you need it most. Regular exercise builds a strong body, no doubt. However, it also builds a strong mind to deal with stresses that affect us daily. You do not have to HIIT or do any strenuous exercise, choose something simple and for 7 to 15 minutes every day.
Joining a gym or community fitness centre is outstanding, but you can choose to walk, run, jog, swim or go dancing. The idea is to keep your body moving for fun. Furthermore, if you are the outdoorsy type, indulge in your passion and watch the stress melt away.
8. Massage and Detox Therapy
When your insides are unclean, it can lead to stress. Equally, tired and over-working can double the stress effect leading to illness and mental breakdown.
There are many reasons to go for a massage, and stress is one of them. Massages are an ideal tool for maintaining physical and emotional health. While detoxification is a way to relieve the stress on your internal organs, both will make you feel light and relaxed.
9. Imbibe in the Power of Positive Affirmations
The power of positive talk has proven to increases positive emotion, compassion, and confidence in the speaker. How we treat ourselves determines the outcome. If you begin the day with negativity, you are likely to attract negativity and problems to yourself.
However, if you take your time to affirm positive thoughts in your life, you will succeed. Affirmations are more than mere words; they are meant to awaken the optimistic and daring part of your being.
So, when you feel that negative emotions are building up or images are flashing before your eyes, take a moment and remind yourself of your capabilities and believe it, too. What you perceive is what you are.
10. Getting Enough Sleep
Let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to get 8 hours of sleep as recommended, but you can get a good night’s sleep. Many people sleep for 8 hours or more but are still restless in their sleep and wake up feeling drained, exhausted, and stressed.
Sleep is a keyway for the body to recuperate for the current day’s activities. However, your sleeping condition should be prioritized for a relaxing sleep. To do this, make sure that your mattress is comfortable, and your bedroom is the right temperature.
If you cannot get 8 hours at night, try to nap in the afternoons and watch your diet before bed. Finally, create a sleeping routine. You do not have to “do-or-die” it, but gradually ease yourself into a better sleep.
In conclusion, stress is the baggage you refuse to let go of. The more you pile on, the deeper you are sinking into a place of darkness.
Let go of the excess load now. Start by following these stress management techniques on how not to stress. Do you have one or two methods you are currently using to relieve stress? Feel free to add them to the list.