In the aftermath of tragedies such as mass shootings, natural disasters, or pandemics, people may feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry. However, how you respond to stress is crucial. The first step in managing stress is to understand what causes it; this isn’t as clear-cut as it seems. Major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce are easy to identify, but chronic stress is harder to pinpoint.
Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors all contribute to your daily stress levels, and it’s easy to overlook that. Be sure to examine your attitude, excuses, and habits to identify the real sources of stress in your life. Until you assume responsibility for its creation or maintenance, you have no control over your stress level.
You can manage stress in many ways, so here are some tips to help you cope.
1. Maintain balance by living healthy
Your stress resistance can be increased by a variety of healthy lifestyle choices in addition to regular exercise.
Stick to a healthy diet
A well-nourished body can better cope with stress, so pay attention to what you eat. Start the new day strong with breakfast, and stay energized and focused throughout the day with balanced, nutritious meals.
Avoid harmful substances
Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can provide temporary relief, but it is not sustainable. Deal with the problem head-on with a clear head; don’t avoid or mask the problem. You never know when your instant gratification can turn into an addiction.
If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol addiction, look for help immediately and take the course of your life in a positive direction. Several resources can help you manage addiction and underlying health issues. You can visit serenityatsummit.com for more information on addiction treatment.
Reduce caffeine and sugar intake
Caffeine and sugar often provide temporary “highs” followed by mood and energy crashes. Reduce your intake of coffee, sugary drinks, and snacks to feel more relaxed throughout the day.
Correct your sleep pattern
Your mind and body both benefit from adequate sleep. If you are tired, you may think irrationally, increasing your stress.
2. Get in touch with others
Being understood and cared for by another human being can be the most calming experience. Face-to-face interactions trigger hormones that suppress the “fight-or-flight” response. Besides relieving stress, it also prevents depression and anxiety. So be sure to connect regularly with loved ones and friends in person.
Remember that people who talk to you cannot fix your stress for you. It is simply a matter of being a good listener. Whenever you feel the need to open up, don’t worry about looking weak or burdening others.
Talk to the people who are close to you. They will appreciate your trust in them, and as a result, your bond with them will be strengthened.
It’s not always possible to have a friend nearby for support during times of stress, but by maintaining close relationships with people you trust, you’ll increase your resilience.
3. Give your body the movement it needs
Exercising is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re stressed. However, physical activity is a great stress reliever, and everyone can enjoy its benefits. Exercise releases endorphins, which are good for you and help distract you from stress.
Although it’s best to exercise regularly for 30 minutes or more, you can gradually increase your fitness level. Even the smallest activities can add up throughout the day, but you first have to get up and move around.
Here are a few easy ways to include exercise in your daily life:
- Turn on some music and dance
- Let your dog out for a walk.
- Go grocery shopping on foot or by bicycle
- Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs at home or work
- Take the farthest spot and walk from there
- Work out with a partner who encourages you
- Play an outdoor sport with your children instead of indoor activities
Participating in rhythmic activities is the best way to get rid of stress and tension. You can walk, run, swim, dance, cycle, do tai chi, and exercise aerobically. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that you must enjoy it to maintain it long-term.
Consider paying attention to what you feel physical (and sometimes emotionally) as you move while exercising. Observe how the air or sunlight feels on your skin, for instance, or coordinate your breathing and movements. By bringing mindfulness into play, you can end a negative cycle of thoughts that often accompany a stressful situation.
4. Don’t forget to have fun and relax
The key to reducing stress is taking charge of your situation and adopting a positive attitude. Don’t forget to take care of your own needs amidst all the hustle and bustle of life. Self-care is a necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly relax and have fun, you’ll have a better ability to cope with the stresses of life.
- Make time for leisure. Make rest and relaxation a part of your daily routine. Ensure that other responsibilities do not interfere with your time. It’s time for you to recharge your batteries and step back from everything.
- Engage in an activity you enjoy. Whether you enjoy stargazing, playing the piano, or fixing your bike, make time for leisure activities you enjoy.
- Don’t lose your sense of humor. Laughter has a number of benefits for your body when it comes to fighting stress.
- Practice relaxation. Yoga, deep breathing, and meditation trigger relaxation responses in your body, in contrast, to fight or flight. You will become calm and centered as you learn and practice these techniques.
5. Improve your time management skills
It is possible to become stressed out because of poor time management. Staying calm and focused is difficult when you’re stretched to the limit and behind schedule. Moreover, you’ll find yourself skipping or cutting back on healthy practices to keep stress at bay, like socializing and sleeping enough. Fortunately, you can work toward achieving a better work-life balance by adopting a few habits. These include:
Be careful not to overcommit yourself. Try not to schedule things back-to-back or pack too much into one day. Most of the time, we underestimate the time it will take to complete a task.
Organize your tasks according to priority. You must compile a list of all the tasks you need to complete and then prioritize them based on their importance. Start with the most important items. It is best to get unpleasant or stressful tasks done early on. As a result, the rest of your day will be more enjoyable.
Take small steps to complete a project. Making a step-by-step plan can ease the stress of a large project. Take one manageable step at a time instead of trying to accomplish everything at once.
Share the burden of responsibility. It doesn’t have to be all up to you, whether it’s at home, school, or the office. Let other people handle the task if they are capable of doing so. Do not worry about controlling or overseeing every detail. By doing so, you will be removing unnecessary stress from your life.
6. Manage stress by following the 4 A’s
Your nervous system automatically responds to stress, but some triggers are unpredictable and can occur anytime. Such as on the way to work, at a work meeting, or a family gathering.
Stressors such as these can be changed by changing the situation or your reactions. The four A’s are helpful when deciding which option to choose: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
Avoid stress that is unnecessary
Stress shouldn’t be avoided, but you might be surprised at how many stressors you can eliminate in your life.
- Keep your limits in mind and learn the art of saying “no.”
- Make sure you avoid people who make you stressed out.
- Don’t let your environment control you.
- Reduce the number of tasks on your to-do list.
Alter the circumstances
If avoiding a stressful situation is impossible, attempt to change it as much as you can. Often, it involves changing your daily communication and behavior.
- Rather than burying your emotions, express them.
- Don’t be afraid to compromise.
- Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Adapt the stressor to your needs
The only way to change a stressor is to change yourself. Changing your expectations and attitude can help you cope with stressful situations and regain control.
- Positive thinking can help you cope with stressful situations.
- Take a step back and consider the big picture.
- Be flexible with your standards. A perfectionism-free life can reduce stress.
- Make gratitude a habit.
Accept what you cannot change
Stress is inevitable in some situations. Whether it’s a death in the family, a life-threatening illness, or a financial crisis, you can’t prevent or change stressors. It is best to accept things as they are in such situations to deal with the stress. Although acceptance may be hard, in the long run, it is easier than fighting what cannot be changed.
- Do not try to control an uncontrollable situation.
- Take a look at the bright side.
- Get in the habit of forgiving.
- Be honest about how you feel.
7. Find a way to relieve stress as soon as possible
Stress management is essential when you’re rushing through your morning commute, trapped in a stressful work meeting, and fried from an argument with your spouse. It is important to find stress relief in those situations.
Take a deep breath, listen, taste, feel, and use your senses to reduce stress or move in a soothing way. When you view a favorite photo, smell a specific scent, listen to a favorite song, taste some gum, or hug a pet, you will instantly feel relaxed and focused.
Obviously, not everyone reacts the same way to every sensory experience. Experiment with different sensory experiences for quick stress relief and discover what works for you.
What do you do when your car dies, or you have a deadline approaching? It takes a heavy toll on the body and mind to endure long-term, low-grade or severe stress, so don’t ignore feelings of tension. Understanding the effects of everyday stressors on your body and learning coping skills to cope with them.
We will eventually lose our ability to function well if we are constantly stressed. Stress is linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss, and even premature death, so recognizing the warning signs is important. If you’re experiencing signs and symptoms of stress, speak with your doctor about how to manage it.