A Guide to Combating Stress

Americans are amongst the most stressed people in the world. According to research conducted by the American Psychological Association, 3 out of 4 Americans reported experiencing at least one stress symptom in the last month. A little bit of stress is definitely helpful in motivating us to do better at tasks. However, while it impacts everyone differently, too much stress can very quickly take a toll on anyone’s well-being and affect their everyday life. It can be a huge contributing factor to a person’s deteriorating health, causing sleep issues, decreasing your productivity at work, negatively impacting your relationships, reducing your energy levels, and overall lowering the quality of your life. Hence, the importance of combating stress cannot be denied.

It’s true that stress manifests itself in countless different ways. You will inevitably face many big or small hardships in your life that might stress you out, and you can’t always help such situations. What you can do, however, is to respond to the stress your mind and body feel in an effective and healthy way.

You need to always be mindful of your stress levels. Instead of resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking or drinking, you should make a conscious effort to try to combat stress, no matter what life throws at you. So, what are some ways you can relieve stress? Read on to find out!

Do Some Exercise

Physical activity is one of the most effective stress-relievers. Research has proven that people who exercise regularly are a lot less likely to experience stress than those who don’t.

While exercising will not entirely diminish your stress, it will help greatly towards reducing some of the negative emotions you’re feeling, and also clear your head by refocusing your mind to your body’s movements, rather than your troubles. This enables you to figure out how to solve the problem at hand in a more useful way.

How you decide to get in some physical exertion is totally up to you, since any form of exercise will alleviate your stress. Anything that will indulge your large muscle groups in repetitive movements will do. You could dance, do some cardio, walk, jog, cycle, hike, or do anything else that you prefer. Even a 10-minute walk, especially out in the sun, can do wonders. The point is to get your body moving so as to increase the flow of your feel-good hormones. Exercising will also lower your stress hormones such as cortisol. Regular exercise will eventually lead to more restful sleep, and better sleep also contributes towards relieving stress. Stretching, meditation and yoga might also work for you.

Write It Away

This is another excellent way to combat stress. Just grab a paper and pen and scribble away. You don’t have to worry about the quality of your writing; just write whatever comes to your mind. No one else is going to be reading it, so be sure to write in a care-free manner. This will help you release your pent up negative thoughts and emotions onto paper. Once you’re done, you can either throw out whatever you write or maintain a journal of these writings to reflect back on at a later time.

This is one way to approach writing as a means of reducing stress. If you think this is not something that will work for you, you can try the second way. Instead of writing down the things that contribute to your stress and worries, jot down the things that make you happy, and that you’re grateful for. What this will do is help you focus on all the positive things you’re surrounded by, and take your attention away from the negative ones. You can do this every day, even if you write down a single thing you’re grateful for. This simple act will help you have a better outlook on your life.

Surround Yourself with Your Loved Ones

When you’re stressed and anxious, you might want to isolate yourself from everyone else. It might be hard, but it’s necessary to fight this instinct since it’ll only make you feel worse. Instead of being alone, seek social support from your friends and family, and strengthen your connections with them. Ring them up, or better yet, talk to them face-to-face. Let out your feelings, share your troubles, and listen to their perspective. Try to have a good laugh to lighten up your mind. You will be surprised at how much better you will feel.

Positive human contact like hugging and cuddling is a stress-reliever too. It releases oxytocin and lowers the production of cortisol. Your blood pressure and heart rate will slow down, helping you feel at ease. If you have a romantic partner, try kissing them. This will release endorphins and make you feel warm and fuzzy. The scent of your loved one will also calm you down.

If you have a pet, they can also assist you in controlling your stress. Pet them and hold them close to bring about the release of oxytocin, and elevate your mood. Your furry friend will also give you a sense of purpose since you have to look after it, and prevent you from feeling lonely.

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Try investing yourself into a creative hobby of yours. Whether it’s painting, drawing, doodling, sewing, knitting, making music, or cooking, doing something that interests you and makes you happy will do its trick and make you feel a lot better. Engaging in a hobby will divert your attention there, instead of on your stress. Creating something such as a painting or dish will also give you a sense of accomplishment.

Taking time out for self-care is essential to keep the stress and anxiety at bay. Think no more and get in touch with your creative side now.

We hope you will be using these tips to bring your overwhelmed and chaotic mind some peace and calm. Here’s to de-stressing!

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