10 tips to manage STRESS.
Updated: Jan 15
Stress is our body’s natural reaction to a change, demand, or challenge. Stress can be mental, emotional, and physical, i.e., bodily tension. Instinctive stress in short terms or short bursts can be beneficial and can help us avoid danger. Such short-term stress is an evolutionary trait and is called acute stress. Acute stress is unlikely to cause health issues. But, when we are under perpetual stress for days, weeks, months and sometimes years, we risk suffering from the adverse effects of stress. Such long-term stress is called chronic stress. Chronic stress is linked to numerous health issues and can cause or intensify a free radical attack. Stress is a worldwide killer, and recent research suggests that women are more susceptible to stress than men. This article suggests 10 easy tips to manage stress.
#1 Practise DEEP BREATHING:
Stress can make us breathe heavy and, in extreme cases, cause hyperventilation and panic attacks. When we practise deep breathing, our body starts calming down. The blood pressure drops, and the heart rate lowers. The brain calms down and relaxes by limiting thoughts that trigger stress. We can use the following steps to practise deep breathing:
Inhale slowly through the nose into your abdomen.
Gradually start exhaling through the mouth. Feel the gust of air on the lips while exhaling.
Repeat the steps above for about 10 minutes, and we should start feeling the difference.
Practise deep breathing several times daily to manage stress.
Research shows that meditation helps lower anxiety, especially in those people who suffer from high anxiety levels. When we meditate, the brain gets a chance to go into a state of deep relaxation. It also helps reduce thoughts that provoke stress. It is difficult for most people to sit in one place and meditate, but practice makes us perfect. Use the following simple steps for meditation:
Sit upright on a chair with your feet touching the ground.
Close your eyes and observe the way you are breathing. Then, continue to breathe normally and focus on each inhale and exhale cycle.
You may feel the urge to open your eyes, look around or think of something. The goal is to surpass this urge and keep focusing on each breath.
Continue focusing on each breath for 10 to 15 minutes, and then open your eyes to feel the difference.
Make meditation a part of your daily routine to control stress.
#3 Follow a REGULAR SLEEP SCHEDULE:
Sleep is critical for both survival and performance. The body repairs itself while sleeping. Having a regular schedule to go to bed and wake up lowers stress. Research has shown that adults who sleep 8 to 9 hours a day have lower stress than adults who sleep lesser than 8 hours a day. Sleep also gives us a chance to escape from stress-provoking tasks and thoughts, which helps relax the brain. Follow a regular sleep schedule to reduce stress.
#4 Listen to MUSIC:
Music influences mood and emotions. Like listening to fast, thumping music charges us up for a workout. Similarly, a slow tempo, soulful music helps relax the mind and body. Listening to calming music of about 60 beats per minute invokes alpha brainwaves which promote sleep. Use relaxation apps that make it easier to relax. Listen to music or nature sounds that help lower stress.
#5 LAUGH more:
Laughter invokes the release of happy hormones and suppresses the release of stress hormones. In addition, research has proved that laughter provokes serotonin release, which has effects like painkillers and antidepressants. So, remember to laugh more often to manage stress.
#6 EAT RIGHT:
It is essential to eat a wholesome diet. To function efficiently, we should have a balanced and healthy diet. Age, gender, lifestyle, etc., decide our nutrition profile. It is critical to consume supplements if diet alone cannot provide good quality/ enough nutrients. So, eat right to combat stress.
#7 Avoid ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, and RECREATIONAL DRUGS:
Alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs may temporarily remove our stresses and worries. Still, they have serious adverse effects on our bodies. Consumption of alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs is highly toxic and triggers a release of stress hormones. It also causes a free radical attack and inflammation. Therefore, it is best to avoid consuming alcohol, tobacco or recreational drugs as they cause more stress and worsen the adverse effects of stress.
#8 Take BREAKS:
It is essential to take breaks while doing stressful tasks. Stress reduces when we take a break, and our body tries to get back to normal. Therefore, it is best to take multiple breaks that allow sufficient time to recover or recuperate and then get back to doing the stressful task(s). Studies have shown that taking breaks while doing stressful tasks enhance overall performance. So, remember to take enough breaks to manage stress.
#9 RELAX more:
When we relax, our body gets a chance to normalise and recover. Relaxation also releases mood-enhancing happy hormones. Take a relaxing deep tissue massage, read a book that calms you down, listen to sounds of waterfalls, waves, chirping birds etc., that help you relax or take a power nap. Find out what works best for you and make it a point to relax more often to control stress.
#10 SPEAK UP:
In many cases, chronic stress leads to panic attacks and anxiety. Talk to family members and friends. It is best to speak up and seek medical help if we cannot control stress even after actively undertaking measures for the same. Seeing a psychiatrist or a psychologist may help.
We hope you enjoyed reading the 10 tips to manage stress. Happy stress-busting!