How to manage stress

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How to manage stress

Easy ways you can mange your stress levels

 

Whatever paths our lives have taken us we have all experienced stress in some way. Stress is a big problem in today's society and can cause some serious problems physically or mentally if gone untreated. In the UK around 32% of adults have experienced suicidal feelings caused by stress and 16% of adults have self-harmed because of stress. In this article we are going to be going through ways you can reduce your stress levels. 

What is stress?

Firstly, let’s go over what stress is. This is your body’s way of responding to any kind of threat or demand. An example would be slamming the breaks on a car, and when working properly can make you focused and more energetic. A response to stress can either be physical or emotional, and some side effects of chronic stress are depression, anxiety, panic attacks, elevated blood pressure, chest pain and sexual dysfunction. Stress can be caused by many things for example you might get stressed `before a meeting or if your working long hours. Here we are going to go over ways you can manage your stress levels to keep yourself healthy and stress free. 

Taking Control

The first thing you should do when trying to reduce your stress levels is take control. You should analyse the situation that is causing you stress and try and think of ways to overcome it. Its likely that there isn’t an obvious way out of the issue but try and formulate a plan that is fair on everyone. This would only work for issues that are in our control as we can eliminate the cause of the stress. However, a lot of things that cause high stress levels are out of our control and often we would struggle to resolve them or can only resolve them after a certain time (e.g exam dates). 

Getting active

Another way to reduce your stress levels is by doing physical activity. Exercising will help metabolise the fight or flight hormones in your body and will leave you feeling better and healthier. This will also give you something else to keep your mind and body occupied so you don’t thing about a stressful subject. More physical activity will also improve your quality of sleep, also key to managing stress. Physical activity also causes endorphins, which make you feel a lot better and confident. An example of this feeling would be the “runners high”, that is the feel-good feeling you get when you go on a run. 

Getting enough sleep

Sleeplessness is a well-known cause of stress. However, a way you can reduce your stress levels is by getting enough hours of good quality sleep. If its harder to get to sleep then you could try relaxing before bed or indulging in a calming activity (e.g. reading a book). After a good night’s sleep, you will wake up feeling revived and fresh. When stressed sleep is a high priority as chronic stress will cause multiple sleepless night causing more potential issues and raising tress levels eve more. 

Still have a good time 

Another very important thing to do is not to isolate yourself. Try and still keep in touch with friends, family and loved ones as these are the people that can help you see things from a different perspective. Family and friends can also provide support in times when stress is bearing down. It will also prevent depression and anxiety as locking yourself away will cause these mental disorders. Having a good time with people you are comfortable with also releases endorphins in the brain, leaving you again with that feel-good feeling. 

Stop the habits

When you are stressed you often feel down and may turn to unhealthy habits. Whether its drinking or smoking they are both damaging you body and must be stopped if not moderated. When under stress it would be really easy for someone to develop an addiction as the substances are making them feel better but only temporarily. As well as building up a dependency on the substance you should also be worried about the effects of the habit, for example smoking increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and many other issues. The best thing to do is to try and avoid any habits like these as they can lead to addiction and other health risks. 

Try different relaxation techniques

Whether it’s putting on a playlist of a calm sea breeze, or meditating for 5 minutes each day, its important to try and find a relaxation technique. A lot of people find it hard to wind down once they are in a comfortable environment (e.g home) , if you are experiencing the same issue then it’s a good idea to try and find a relaxation technique that works for you. There are many examples of these like meditation and self-hypnosis, this is when you focus your mind on positive things to make yourself happier and relaxed. For example, this could include repeating positive words or thinking about positive memories. The beauty of relaxation techniques is that they can be done anywhere, so if you find yourself feeling stressed then your relaxation technique is a quick relief from that feeling. 
Overall stress is a burden pretty much all of us have to deal with on a day to day basis. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by stress and these methods are not working, then you could possibly seek professional help on how to manage your levels. These are many professionals that deal with these issues like doctors and psychologists.