If you’re constantly in a hurry, feeling tense, under pressure and overwhelmed by life’s demands, then you’re not alone. It is estimated that over 70% of people experience regular Stress caused by physical, emotional and environmental factors. While it may seem like an ordinary part of life, stress controls the way we feel on a daily basis and can impact the quality of our existence. How we live our day is how we live our lives, so why would we want to waste the time we have being in a stressful state?
Stress is a natural emotion and our body’s reaction to dealing with challenging situations by releasing adrenalin and the stress hormone, cortisol, to boost our energy and keep us alert and focused. It increases heart rate, blood pressure, and accelerates breathing, which usually results in feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, tension, and worry. A certain level of stress is needed at times so that we are able to fight through the problem at hand, but when it overstays its welcome it can cause us to become angry, irritable, fatigued, and restless. If untreated, stress can be highly detrimental to our health by causing depression, anxiety, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and skin conditions. Stress can additionally contribute to obesity, auto-immune diseases, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and can shorten our life span.
Some cases of stress are more severe than others and may require medical attention, but most can be treated with simple adjustments to our daily routines. Here are a few of the main reasons we experience common stress and some tips to help you manage each.
Stress Management Tips
If you’re stressed because you’re continuously sweating the small stuff and find it difficult to relax and enjoy life…
You probably hear it all the time, but Meditation truly is one of the best forms of relaxation and a fantastic way to relieve stress by taking control of our mental state. It clears the mind, stimulates positive emotions and makes us aware of negative thoughts so that we can release them. It also regulates breathing and calms the body. Morning meditation is an effective way to start the day on a stress-free, positive note. If you find it hard to meditate by yourself then look for a meditation or yoga class that you can join.
Have More Sex
Sex is a vital aspect of health and happiness in many different ways and is a particularly useful method to lower stress levels and blood pressure. Frequent physical touch, intimacy, massages, and orgasms not only strengthen relationships but also relieve stress, alleviate migraines, promote better sleep, and might even help you live longer.
Moderate to high intensity exercise actually works to increase hormones in the body including adrenalin and cortisol. So if cortisol is the big stress hormone, why is exercise recommended as a de-stressing activity? The whole point of our body’s response to physical stress is to give it available energy stores so it can function properly, meaning that it helps the heart pump more blood more quickly, and it mobilizes stored energy in the form of fat and glycogen (a muscle store of glucose). It is thought that regular exercise builds up fitness and a sort of resilience to adapt and cope with stress. In the short term, exercise can also elevate mood through the release of endorphins, which could decrease our sensitivity to psychological and emotional stress.
Get In Touch With Nature
Various studies are now discovering that spending time outdoors plays a huge role in decreasing stress and anxiety. Not only are we more likely to be moving or exercising when we’re outside, but something about the natural sounds and green scenery brings peace and calmness, while fresh air and sunlight can boost vitamin D and lift our mood.
Take Time Out
Spending time alone is really important for self-nurturing and connecting with our inner selves to help reduce emotional stress. Everyone can find at least 15-30 minutes each day and take some time out away from technology to sit and reflect. Taking time out can also mean going on a holiday, finding a hobby that you really enjoy, having coffee with friends, joining a sporting team, or reading a novel.
If you’re stressed because you have too much on your plate and struggle with time management…
When it comes to stress management, organization is key. You are more likely to feel stressed and burdened when things are untidy and cluttered, and you have to waste time searching for everything. Take a day out to give your home the spring clean it’s been craving and reduce the amount of built up junk that you’ve been hording. This means getting rid of old clothes and accessories, clearing out your draws, cupboards and fridge (you’ll be surprised at how many items are passed their used by date), placing things in smart storage containers, getting documents and files into order, and taking care of any unpaid bills. This will immediately give you a fresh head start, as a clear living environment means a clear mind.
Plan Your Day
People often underestimate the value of keeping a diary but planning out your day can really help to manage stress by allowing you to see what you have on and arrange things better so that you’re not rushed. Making to do lists, not overbooking your schedule, setting times for different activities, and actually sticking to time slots means you can get things done more efficiently. It allows you to see where you can fit other things in or where you might be taking far too long on certain tasks and could cut down the time spent. Planning also ensures that significant or time critical tasks are not overlooked, because we all know how stressful that can be!
Prepare Your Meals In Advance
Food preparation takes more time and cleaning up than we realize, which is why we need to be smarter about it. If you can cook things in bulk at the start of the work week to add to lunches each day e.g. legumes, brown rice, quinoa, kofta, falafel, wholemeal pasta, etc. this will free up a huge amount of time throughout the week. Cutting up fruit and greens for smoothies in advance and storing them in single serve bags in the freezer can also save a lot of time. That way when you wake up of a morning all you have to do is add a bag to your smoothie base, blend and go.
Packing lunch the night before not only saves money but will allow you to take your full lunch break to relax without wasting time waiting in line to buy food. You should also try waking up a little earlier to prepare dinner before work, which means either storing your chopped up veggies in a covered bowl in the fridge ready to throw in the pan, or even better, becoming acquainted with your slow cooker (yes – they do cook vegetarian meals!) so that dinner is ready to go when you walk through the door. This will leave you with more time to relax and unwind in the afternoon.
* Handy Tip
Just in case you’re still feeling jittery, here is a list of foods that are rumored to help reduce stress, so try including them in your diet:
- Chamomile Tea
- Dark Chocolate
And finally, the ultimate stress management tip…
Because you have so many wonderful things to be grateful for.