We all know stress is something that even the most laid back people out there suffer from every now and again. In modern lifestyles, feeling stressed is a common problem that people face. Increasingly competitive work environments, a higher cost of living, and a faster pace of life all pile on the stress. Modern technology also adds to the pressure, as it often means that nobody ever really ‘switches off.’ As anybody that has a boss that continually emails in the night with issues for you to sort out will agree, finding time to switch off properly can feel impossible.
Of course, a little bit of stress is good for us, if we didn’t respond to stress, we wouldn’t survive. The importance of stress goes back to the flight or fight response that helped to keep us safe in the past. It’s responding to stress that made people run away when they saw a saber-toothed tiger, rather than just hanging around to be eaten. Nowadays, there aren’t, of course, saber-toothed tigers roaming the streets; instead, there are bills to be paid, and demanding bosses to pander to. However, the flight or fight response still kicks in, even in modern-day situations, and quite frankly it can be mentally and physically exhausting.
What Happens When You Are Stressed?
To understand how to control your stress levels, it is useful to know precisely what happens to your body when you are stressed. Understanding the stress response will help you to identify the signs that you are becoming stressed quickly, and the symptoms they trigger in your body.
When you are in a situation that your brain recognizes as being stressful, it triggers the release of stress hormones. Stress hormones include cortisol and adrenaline; these hormones then trigger a stress response. Your body responds to stress by prioritizing your blood flow to areas that you will need to respond to an emergency situation. Therefore, your heart pumps faster so that it can send the blood to the muscles in your legs and arms.
A stress response could save your life by springing you into action if you were in an emergency. However, if you are continuously in stress response mode, it can take a real toll on your health and wellbeing.
Social Media Detox
Social media can be an excellent tool for keeping people connected, and does a lot of good in the world when it comes to raising awareness of important issues. However, the well-publicized adverse effects of social media are also something that you should watch out for. Social media can be a significant drain on your spare time. If you already feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, you won’t want to waste your precious time checking your notifications. Many people lose a crazy amount of time each day, checking their social media updates.
Social media can be bad for mental health as it can add to your stress, as well as taking up a lot of your time. Seeing other people’s (seemingly!) perfect lives can lead to you comparing yourself negatively to them. You may also start suffering from a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Don’t become that person that spends their life desperately in search of validation through likes and shares. Instead give yourself a break from it all to keep your stress levels in check, and to focus on yourself.
Sleep On It
When you feel stressed, getting to sleep can feel tough. You may find yourself lying awake thinking about all the things you need to get done, and ruminating over your problems. Typically when this happens when you finally do drift off, it is usually just minutes before your alarm.
Getting into a good sleep pattern may feel impossible, but it is really beneficial, especially when you feel under lots of stress. It’s a lot easier to handle stress when you’ve had a good night’s sleep, as it makes it so much easier to think clearly. Where possible, try to make your evenings as calm as possible to help you get to sleep. Some people buy panax ginseng or supplements to help them get to sleep.
Review Your Routine
Sticking with a regular sleep pattern can be hard. Getting yourself into a constant routine may not help to prevent the cause of your stress. However, it will undoubtedly help you to feel a whole lot better coping with it.
Eating regularly and not skipping meals will help you to feel less irritable. Regular mealtimes help you to make better food choices, which in turn will help you to feel better in yourself.
Where possible, try to stick to regular work times, as always being in the office is likely to cause you further stress, and prevent you from ever properly switching off.
Work It Out
Exercise can be an excellent stress reliever, although, at the end of a long day, you may not feel like heading over to the gym. Exercise releases feel-good hormones and helps you ease away the stress that you are holding in your muscles. Getting active is also great for taking your mind off your worries and enabling you to focus your mind on something else for a while. Exercise such as yoga and Tai Chi are perfect for focusing on your mind, but may not be activities you have ever considered before.
While it would be impossible to eliminate all the stress in your life, learning to manage it can be done. A little bit of stress triggers an all-important response when you are in dangerous situations that require you to react quickly. However, too much stress is damaging to your wellbeing and can cause physical problems also.
Feeling stressed can sometimes feel like you are lost within it, and you can feel entirely consumed by it. Spending some time identifying your main causes of stress can be useful. Identifying the leading causes of your stress is the first step towards reducing its impact on your life.
This article is a partnered post that contains affiliate links.