Updated: Oct 24, 2019
Often stress feels like a wave that is crashing over us, its overwhelming, can cause us to panic, to act aggressively towards others, or can cause us to shut down completely. Here are a few quick easy ways that I have found to reduce stress your life for a healthier lifestyle.
When is comes to stress we all have some stressors that come into our lives. Some of these stressors can't be helped but we can do a few quick things to help us manage some of the stress that comes into our lives.
Did you know that stress that can affect you physically too? If you suffer from Hair Loss, Jaw and Tooth Pain, Bizarre Dreams, Stomachaches and Intestinal Problems, or even Muscle Twitching it can all be linked to Stress. When we get stressed out our brain triggers the Stress Hormones; Adrenaline, Cortisol, and Norepinephrine and these guys cause havoc to our physical health at times of great stress.
These stress hormones all do different things to our bodies. Adrenaline is the fight or fight hormone and we feel this hormones effect almost immediately when introduced to some sort of stressful situation. Our heart rate goes up and we have a strong desire to flee the situation or to fight. Now Cortisol is the most commonly known stress hormone and is also a steroid hormone, and it takes the body a little longer to feel the effects from this hormone. Cortisol can be a great help if we are in real danger, but if we are not in real danger it can have serious side effects to our physical well-being. So if we stay in a stressful environment too long this is the hormone that can cause increases in blood pressure and sugar levels, decrease libido, produce acne, suppress your immune system, and can contribute to weight gain. The last stress hormone is Norepinephrine, (commonly called epinephrine) which is somewhat like Adrenaline, but this hormone causes you to be more alert, and more awake. Which in a dangerous situation is good, but in everyday stress it can cause you to lose sleep as your body is in an alert state and resting is difficult. This hormone also lasts the longest and can days to return to a normal level.
1. Manage your time well.
If you do not have a planner or are not a person that likes to live by planning things out you could actually be causing yourself undo stress. Think of all the times that you have gotten yourself stressed out from missing an event, being late for an appointment that you forgot about, or missed an assignment at work or school. Invest in a planner, or at least use an app to schedule your time. It may seem like this is something else that will require your time, but the few minutes it takes to organize your time is well spent if it can decrease your stress level just a little bit. This habit of using a planner of some sort will also aid in the overall way you view how valuable your time is, and it will help so that you are not stretching yourself too thing with numerous commitments.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
There a lot of different deep breathing exercises that are out there and all of them will help reduce your stress. They assist in the reduction of the stress hormones, as your body realizes that is not in state of danger any longer and it will stop the brain from producing further stress hormones. 4 Square Breathing from SAMHSA.Gov is one of my favorite deep breathing skills as it takes a bit more thought then just taking deep breaths, which also works to distract your mind from the stressors. Some other really good deep exercises to reduce stress can be found at https://psychcentral.com/blog/reduce-your-anxiety-this-minute-3-different-types-of-deep-breathing/.
3. Write it Down and Throw it Away!
Writing down what is stressing you is a good way to get out the feelings of being overwhelmed by the stressors. You may chose to do this in a journal format or just write it down on a sticky note. But let the thoughts happen that are stressing, get them out of your head and onto paper. Then be done with it, throw it away or shred it up into little pieces. This can also be symbolic to shred it up or throw it away. It is a way of saying I am done giving this stressor this much power over me! We have the ability to control our thoughts even though it often feels as if we don't and this exercise is a great way to let our brain know that we are in control of these thoughts and we chose to be done with them for the moment.
4. Find an App on the Android or Apple Play store
There are a lot of great apps that can be found on either play store that you can download for free. I have done some research and found the ones that I feel are the most helpful. Some are to stop panic attacks and for anxiety specifically while others are for meditation and some are just for distraction. Calm, Rootd, Stop Panic & Anxiety Self-help and Headspace are my favorites for helping with anxiety and stress.
5. Reduce Chaos in Your Life
Are you always running or do you have multiple things going on at once ? Then you may have some chaos in your life that you have the ability to filter. Slowing the pace at which we do things can be a good place to start. In this world of instant gratification it can be hard to slow the pace down, but slowing our pace down for a task can be a relaxing experience. Also look at how many things you are multi-tasking at once and then pick one of those things to do individually. Really feel what it is like to do just one thing at a time and you may surprise yourself on how you feel less stressed.