Stress can have long-term effects on your overall health. High stress levels can be linked to many conditions including heart disease, stroke, sleeping problems, reproductive problems, depression, and weakened immunity. There are short-term bodily responses to stress that can be important in moments of danger. However, long-term chronic stress can cause the negative health problems previously mentioned.
There are many different common causes of stress including from work, school, personal conflicts, chronic illness, and due to one’s living conditions. When you are stressed, the brain releases certain hormones, which have widespread effects on all other body systems. People of all ages experience stress and can benefit from finding ways to relieve stress as early as possible.
Finding healthy ways to deal with stress and reduce your daily stress level are incredibly important. Here are 6 stress management techniques to deal with stress:
- Identify sources of stress: The first step towards reducing stress is identifying the major sources of stress that affect the individual. This knowledge can help one prepare better in handling the stresses as they come. Sometimes, just being aware of these triggers can reduce their impact on oneself.
- Exercise: According to the National Institute for Mental Health, exercising for just 30 minutes a day can reduce stress and improve one’s mood. This can include relaxed exercising such as a daily walk.
- Breathe: Take a moment to relax the body and take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing can help one refocus and provide stress relief.
- Practice relaxation techniques: There are different techniques for relaxation that can help lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, reduce muscle tension, reduce respiration rate, and improve concentration. The different methods for relaxation include:
- Take a break: Step back from the stress triggers and focus on something else for a brief period. While an extended break is often not possible in stressful situations, even a short moment taken to close the eyes and breathe can help one overcome stress.
- Talk: It is advisable to talk about the stresses one faces with their friends and family. This can help re-analyze the situation, provide wider perspectives, and such support from family and friends can make any situation more manageable.
It is difficult to always control stressful situations. But, by practicing these techniques, one may be able to reduce the lasting impact of stress on one’s health and wellbeing. It may be so that a combination of these techniques may have the greatest impact on one’s stress levels, but by experimenting with different methods, one can find out what works for them. Sometimes, it is necessary to seek professional help if some serious side effects of stress, including depression, are experienced.
However, there are many options available to help one live a healthier and less stressful life.
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Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
Grossman, P., Niemann, L., Schmidt, S., & Walach, H. (2004). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of psychosomatic research, 57(1), 35-43.
Speca, M., Carlson, L. E., Goodey, E., & Angen, M. (2000). A randomized, wait-list controlled clinical trial: the effect of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients. Psychosomatic medicine, 62(5), 613-622.
Shapiro, S. L., Astin, J. A., Bishop, S. R., & Cordova, M. (2005). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for health care professionals: results from a randomized trial. International Journal of Stress Management, 12(2), 164.
Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of behavioral medicine, 31(1), 23-33.
Bishop, S. R. (2002). What do we really know about mindfulness-based stress reduction?. Psychosomatic medicine, 64(1), 71-83.
Carlson, L. E., Speca, M., Patel, K. D., & Goodey, E. (2003). Mindfulness‐based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress, and immune parameters in breast and prostate cancer outpatients.Psychosomatic medicine, 65(4), 571-581.