When you feel pressured and constantly anxious or notice you haven’t been eating or sleeping well, these are just the results of stress.
Stress is normal. But what’s not normal is how a person reacts to stressful situations negatively. For example, some people tend to dig themselves into a deeper hole instead of developing emotional resilience to get out of it. As a result, they isolate themselves from the outside world, which can be a deadly combination.
Isolation is not always the best answer when things don’t go your way. To help you out, below are 10 simple techniques on how to handle stress:
How do you handle stress with simple techniques?
Working out is a great way to reduce stress because it releases the “feel good” hormones from the brain called dopamine and serotonin. Why do you think you feel good after breaking a sweat?
You may also notice that you can think clearly after exercising. As blood flows throughout your body when you work out, oxygen also goes to the part of your brain responsible for learning. So the more you work up a sweat, the better your brain performs during a stressful situation.
It’s essential to stay on top of your mental health, so make time for things that can help you in the future now. Since you have 168 hours in a week, it won’t hurt to spend 2-3 hours of it to exercise. If you can’t manage time for gym, you can setup a home gym with all in one machines.
If the gym isn’t your thing, go for a brisk walk, swim laps, or invite your friends to play sports. But if you think you still lack time to work out, get into it gradually. Set aside 10-15 minutes to exercise every day and increase the minutes as you get used to it. In that way, you wouldn’t overwhelm your busy schedule.
Many people think that meditation is pointless. You simply sit down and do nothing when you could do other productive things. But clinical studies can prove them wrong. In fact, mindful meditation helps you focus and stops negative thoughts that cause stress and anxiety.
Meditation is when you sit down with your thoughts and welcome them without judgment. It can be difficult because the body wants to reject thoughts that stress us out. We want to bury it as deep as we can, hoping we won’t feel them. It’s part of the body’s stress response to either fight or run away. And running away sometimes means bottling our emotions. This isn’t a healthy way to handle stress.
Practicing meditation works exactly the opposite of how stress does to the body. By triggering the nervous system through mindfulness techniques, it can repair and prevent the effects of stress.
There’s no wrong or proper way to meditate. Give yourself 5-10 minutes to enjoy a quiet room with no distractions. But the longer your meditation sessions are, the greater the benefits.
Don’t think about finding the “perfect” time or place to meditate. As long as you practice and make it a daily habit, you can become a better version of yourself.
3. Eat a balanced diet
While some people eat their stress away, others don’t eat anything at all. That’s not a healthy way to handle stress. Your body needs the proper nutrients to function correctly.
The gut system directly affects the brain and vice versa. For example, when you see something delicious on TV, your stomach releases juices, and your mouth begins to water. Thus, if your stomach and intestines digest unhealthy food, it signals to the brain that it’s processing something that it shouldn’t. Because of that, you’re prone to stress and anxiety.
Regularly eating a well-balanced diet can be challenging because of the convenience of fast food. But it isn’t impossible. Make sure your daily meals consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein. These types of food can boost dopamine which plays a vital role in your mood.
Work can be stressful. Eating sugary treats while at the office is pleasurable only for a moment, but it can be damaging in the long run. To avoid any sweet temptations, prepare nuts, sliced fruits, and boiled eggs with hummus in a container to bring with you. Doing so will help you eliminate stress at work.
4. Take time to slow down
People have never been busier, and sometimes taking a break is all you need to handle stressful situations. Slowing down lets you relax and be in the present moment.
When people feel stressed out from parenting or meeting deadlines, they try to speed things up. This is a natural reaction of the body’s flight or fight response, so in emergency cases speeding up makes a lot of sense. However, it’s not the right way to handle stress when things go south.
Know when to pause when you start to feel anxious. Take deep breaths for 3-6 minutes while being aware of the thoughts that pass your mind. When you start thinking about what stressed you, divert your attention to the here and now. If it’s hard not to think about it, say out loud the things that you see around you until you calm down.
This technique is called grounding. It helps you focus on what’s around you rather than what’s in your head.
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Society demands a lot from people, and sometimes we unconsciously do it to ourselves. But it’s safe to say that we can’t please everyone, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Understand that you can say “no” to people’s requests. Even though you want to make them happy, your happiness should be on top of your priority list.
You can’t control what life throws at you. So you have to roll with the punches and accept things as they are. As humans, we are prone to make mistakes, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it. Instead, learn from these mishaps so you’re always in control of your stress levels.
6. Reduce your triggers
Everyday life throws many curve balls that can trigger some form of stress. These triggers can be related to:
Acknowledging your stress triggers can help you manage and potentially eliminate them altogether. But it can take time. You need to take a step back and evaluate yourself first. So try to notice your symptoms when you’re in a stressful situation. Then, remember what made you feel that way.
You may also start a journal to write how you feel after the day has ended and see if you have any recurring patterns. For example, it can be during your commute to work, piling school projects, or someone saying something insulting to you.
Once you know what makes you stressed, take actionable steps to lessen and remove them completely. However, you also need to see what parts of yourself need improvement. Because, let’s face it, you can’t control what’s happening around you. You can only control how you react to them.
7. Spend time with nature
Nature has her way of healing people. Once you have that magical connection with her, you’ll see your life unfold in many ways possible.
Spending time with nature reduces stress by lowering cortisol or the body’s stress hormone. Within minutes you can find yourself with an improved sense of happiness.
You don’t have to go off the grid entirely. You can go to green spaces within your city to breathe fresh, clean air and clear your mind. Because yoga and meditation can help you manage stress, invite some of your friends to do it there with you.
8. Find a support group
People have devised a way to communicate better no matter the distance and time zones. But oddly enough, we still find ourselves lonely, stressed, and depressed more than ever.
There would be times that people don’t find it necessary to connect with people in person because of social media. But there’s a different type of relationship that you can build outside the virtual space.
Support from friends and family can help you cope with stressful situations. Since talking to another person allows you to get things off your chest, you can process strong emotions better with their guidance.
It’s different when you feel their physical presence and energy with you through tough times. Being able to hug and lean on each other isn’t possible through chats and emails.
Although finding new friends can be challenging, try to reach out to people you feel comfortable with. Start looking into your close circle. This person should be able to give you advice without favoring one issue over another. But you have to be honest about your feelings too.
Be open about what you’re going through. For example, seek direction from other parents on how they handle parenting stress. Or tell a colleague that you need help balancing your work time.
9. Reduce screen time
Everyone’s guilty pleasure is spending too much time on their digital devices. There’s no problem with that if you’re using it for self-development. Still, too much screen time can negatively affect the brain.
Constant exposure to screen time affects sleeping patterns, cognitive ability, and energy levels. Thus, it creates a domino effect that can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
When someone doesn’t have enough sleep, their mind gets cloudy, and they won’t have enough energy to perform daily tasks. Consequently, this person may not have the critical thinking skills to solve problems efficiently. This chain of events will begin to loop until it’s difficult to get yourself out.
Spend your time wisely to achieve your goals. So limit your screen time to 1-3 hours a day. If you have incoming messages, allot a specific time to reply to them so you can win back your schedule for moments that are important to you.
10. Seek professional help
Many social stigmas surround mental health, which is why many people avoid seeking professional help. Some people look at you differently once they find out that you see a psychiatrist. But don’t lose hope since these professionals can assist you in managing your stressors.
Sometimes when stress becomes too overwhelming, we may not know how to take the next step. As a result, our minds begin to fog, which makes it difficult to make rational decisions. So when you experience prolonged stress, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. They can give you a combination of medication and talk therapy to create positive changes to improve your life.
Handle stress effectively with simple techniques
The bottom line about stress and pressure is that it’s unavoidable, and the only way out is through it. But persistent or chronic stress is something that you shouldn’t take lightly since it can take a toll on you physically and mentally.
Fortunately, these evidence-based stress strategies can help you manage day-to-day activities without having a negative effect on your health. Through exercise, diet, meditation, and self-awareness, you can change the course of your life.
But here’s one thing, when stressful situations become too much to cope with, it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible. Visit your trusted healthcare provider to talk about how to handle stress positively.