Stress can have many effects on our brains and body and none of them are good. A little stress now and then is normal and something everyone has to deal with in life. However, if you’re in a constant state of stress this can lead to chronic stress which can have serious effects long term. From hair loss to high blood pressure and obesity, stress is something you want to avoid. So here are 11 ways to help you deal with stress.
What are the symptoms of stress?
Emotional symptoms of stress include:
- Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
- Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
- Avoiding others
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Low energy
- Upset stomach, including diarrhoea, constipation, and nausea
- Aches, pains, and tense muscles
- Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
- Frequent colds and infections
- Loss of sexual desire and/or ability
- Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
Cognitive symptoms of stress include:
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Inability to focus
- Poor judgment
- Being pessimistic or seeing only the negative side
Behavioural symptoms of stress include:
- Changes in appetite — either not eating or eating too much
- Procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities
- Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
- Exhibiting more nervous behaviours, such as nail-biting, fidgeting, and pacing
1. Meditation for stress
Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and your thoughts that will help you improve your focus and your emotional management long term. When people are in stressful situations it is often hard to gather your thoughts and calm your mind to think more clearly. If you struggle with a lot of intense emotions that interfere with your focus and productivity, you might want to consider practising manifestation and mindfulness.
If you want to learn more in detail about meditation and how to do it properly have a look at our article on meditation to help calm your mind.
Working out or doing cardio exercise (like running) causes endorphins and dopamine to be released (happy hormones) which can really help improve the way you feel. It directly battles all the stress hormones in your system and helps you let out some steam to help you calm down and feel more grounded.
Even just going outside for a walk every day can contribute to your mental wellness. Doing this consistently will give you long term results not only physically but also mentally. It will also help you ground yourself and improve your mindfulness.
Have a read of our article on 17 benefits of running that will make you want to run forever.
3. Getting enough sleep
Sleep is a very vital part of human well being. By not getting enough sleep, you’re putting yourself at a risk for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Plus It messes with your cognitive skills such as thinking skills, memory, learning ability and even coordinative activities to do with reflexes.
So if you’re feeling too stressed, take a nap. Let your body rest and calm down before you jump back into the hustle. And make sure you’re getting more than enough sleep at night.
4. Removing yourself from stress situations
Sometimes events in our life can directly contribute to our levels of stress. Fighting, arguing, disagreements and rows with friends or family can seriously damage levels of stress. So the absolute best thing you can do for yourself and everyone involved is to remove yourself. If a certain situation is far too stressful without anything productive or positive coming from it, just disengage completely. Cut out the stressful people from your life and don’t put yourself in stressful situations for no reason.
5. Self care for stress
Self-care is an amazing way to help you instantly destress. Take a long bath, give yourself a facial, partake in yoga or other workouts. Do something to take care of yourself. When we feel calm and looked after, our stress levels naturally go down.
6. Destress music
Some people respond amazingly to music when they feel stressed. It all varies on your personal choice in music but try to go for some more instrumental calmer music to help your mind calm down and destress. Try to listen to music with minimal to no words to give your brain a chance to stop needing to process extra information and just relax.
Have a listen to the Spotify Sleep Playlist to help you unwind and rest.
7. Have “escape hobbies”
Do you find yourself getting lost in the music when you play that violin? Or maybe you feel most at peace when you’re gardening. Perhaps cooking helps you get your mind off things and pass time idly. Whatever it is, find something that you enjoy and helps you get your mind off the stresses of life and use that as an “escape hobby”. It can be anything from gaming to painting to working out.
Whatever it is, make sure you dedicate some time specifically to allowing yourself to indulge in your escape hobby.
8. Spend time with loved ones
Whether it is your friends or family, it is crucial to surround ourselves with people we love. Not only does the brain release oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin – happy hormones – but this also helps us destress and feel happier.
Do fun things with your loved ones or simply just spend time together in their presence. Remember, humans are social creatures, and when our social needs are being fulfilled our brain feels happier for it!
9. Clean and declutter
Cleaning is a great way to distract yourself in a productive way. Do a deep cleaning of your house and leave no corner untouched. By getting your mind off other things by sticking to a simple straight forward task like cleaning, you’ll see a decrease in your stress levels.
Having clutter in our lives can not only add to our stress situations but it can be really messy and untidy. Not only does everything look a mess but it can also make you feel out of control. It will also help you learn to detach from things that no longer serve you and let go of the past.
So declutter your living space. Donate as much as you can and throw away the rest. A clean, tidy and convenient living space will translate into your life and help you feel less stressed.
10. Spend time with animals
There is nothing to help you battle stress than a cuddle from your furry friends. Research has shown that simply petting a dog lowers the stress hormone cortisol, while the social interaction between people and their dogs actually increases levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. If you don’t have an animal and can’t find the time to commit to adopting/buying one, fostering animals is a great option.
You can also work at animal shelters or as a dog walker or rescue volunteer.
11. Enjoy the nature
Taking the time to go for a walk or simply enjoying the beautiful earth around you is a great way to help you cope with stress. You will not only feel far more relaxed and have your mind at peace but it is a great way to step back from the bubble of our lives and put things into perspective. Maybe the things we were feeling so much stress about were never worth so much energy after all.