A few years ago, I was in a difficult situation and didn’t know how to deal with stress. Since then I took control of my situation, learned everything I could about stress. I implemented a few techniques that have allowed me to live a stress-free life.
The best ways to deal with stress is by avoiding habits that cause stress, also known as stressors. To avoid getting stressed, you can ensure that you stop or cut down your intake of stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. You can also try changing your habits. You can get more sleep, exercise regularly, and be more proactive with your tasks. Socializing, maintaining a journal, and listening to music also helps to reduce stress. You also need to laugh more often and even try stress reducing meditations practices like deep breathing and visualization.
But I know that it is easier said than done. So let us understand Stress, and I will also share the activities that helped me get rid of my stress.
Stress is natural, and we need it to perform
Whenever we think of stress, we always believe that it is something negative, something that is not meant to exist under normal circumstances, something unnatural. This is a misconception many people have, and it is understandable given how stressed out people are and how stress is projected.
First, let me tell you that stress is completely natural and we all need stress to an extent.
Stress is our body’s reaction to threats, expectations or demanding situations. Just like a reflex, stress exists to protect us and help us perform under challenging conditions. Whenever we are exposed to external or internal stimuli, good or bad, our bodies react by releasing a surge of hormones. The hormones released while we are stressed are adrenaline and cortisol.
While adrenaline increases our heart rate, blood pressure and boosts the supply of energy. Cortisol is a stress hormone and is responsible for increasing the glucose level in our blood. The combination of the effect of these two hormones is what causes the stress response. This stress response has allowed us to react and perform under pressure.
The stress response is also the reason why being stressed out is also known as being on edge. While stress is entirely natural, being stressed out all the time can be very unhealthy.
Also Read: The Secret to Stress-Free Productivity
Don’t let the stress to get out of control
Have you ever played guitar? The strings are the central element and why I am taking this as an example is because the strings of a guitar are always under stress. Yes, it’s not too little or too much, just the right amount of tension that makes the strings produce the music that we love.
Just like the strings, even we need just the right amount of stress in our life. We just need to ensure that the stress doesn’t get out of control. Too much stress can be very unhealthy over a period of time. Well, how much is too much varies from person to person, and you need to find out how much stress is ‘too much’ for you.
The reason why stress is so severe is that our body has the same stress response for physical and emotional stressors. So, doesn’t matter if you are stressed out over an exam or a boxing match, your body will have the same do-or-die response.
With constant stress, our body becomes habituated to the behavior of producing a stress response quickly as it interprets the continuous stress as a life-threatening situation and all our body wants to do is protect itself by generating a stress response as soon as possible.
This constant stress can have huge impacts on our health and affect our immune system, digestive and reproductive systems, increase our chances of getting a heart attack, having high blood pressure, gaining weight and even speed up the aging process. Apart from the physical impact, the mental effect of stress can make us more anxious and depressed in the long run.
Stress is personal and stressors can be your opportunity to shine
As mentioned earlier, stress is our body’s reaction to external or internal stimuli, also called stressors. The stressors are more common than you think and include anything that puts you in a situation demanding enough for you to freak out.
So, situations like exams, deadlines, major life changes, financial struggles, work overload, negative thinking are more likely to stress you out.
Having said that, stress is also highly personal and so are the stressors. See, what might cause stress to you could not be stressful for others. For instance, if deadlines cause high stress for you, there are many people who perform exceptionally when they are given deadlines.
Think of it this way, if you know how to use your stress and your stress response to your benefit, your stressors can become your opportunity to shine.
The way you do this is by finding out your stressors and taking control of the situation. The reason why most people are stuck with stress and feel paralyzed is because they feel they don’t have control over the situation. When you deliberately take control of the situation and do everything that needs to be done, you don’t need to feel stressed in the first place. When you learn to eradicate your stressors by taking control, you conquer stress.
The best ways to deal with stress
The best way, in my opinion, would be to completely get rid of your stressors but I know that it is difficult. So, here are the activities that helped me reduce and deal with my stress over the years.
Breathing and Visualization Meditation
Meditation is the best way to deal with stress. The breathing and visualization meditation if practiced every day, can help you to reduce stress levels throughout the day. If you cannot make time for morning meditation, which I think you should, you can try the 2 minutes method of breathing meditation whenever you feel little stressed out. It won’t have a lasting effect, but if practiced strategically, you can maintain your stress level throughout the day.
Getting enough Sleep
Not having enough rest can also be the reason why you are stressed out all the time. Just by changing your habit of being a night owl and getting a good night rest, you can effectively reduce your stress levels. You don’t need to wake up early if that is not your thing, just make sure that you get enough rest.
Listening or Creating Music
Music is a proven stress buster, and if you know how to play any instrument, you can create music as that has an even more significant impact on your stress levels. Music has been used by many people as their go-to choice to reduce their stress, and you should give it a try if you haven’t already.
Maintaining a Journal
Maintaining a journal makes sure that you take the thoughts that bother you out of your mind and into the journal. I always encourage everyone to write and writing down your thoughts is something that has helped me to survive dark times in life.
Laugh more Often
The simple act of laughing can significantly reduce your stress. Doesn’t matter if you are laughing with your friends, or laughing while watching stand up comedy or just laughing for no reason (yes, that is a thing, and people practice it as it helps them a lot), it will definitely help you to reduce your stress.
Don’t think of stress as a negative thing, you just need to keep it in control. Like everything in life, moderation is the key. If you can manage to eradicate your most common stressors, you significantly reduce your chances of getting stressed out. Even if you do get stressed, you can use a few techniques that can help you deal with it and live a stress-free life like a BOSS!