stress is your body’s reaction to any challenge or demand
Here are a few handy practices to help you understand how to relieve stress yourself.
Knowing how to reduce stress is an important skill
Stress is a part of everyday life and to deal with it effectively, you must understand it. As per the definition of stress, stress is your body’s reaction to any challenge or demand. It is a feeling of physical or emotional tension that can be brought on by feelings of frustration, anger, or nervousness. Some of the more common causes of stress are deadlines, confrontation, or personal matters such as the death of a loved one. In short bursts, stress can be quite helpful; however, over the long term, it can develop into anxiety.
This is why stress management is important. It shields you from the common symptoms of anxiety attacks and help you live healthier. Here are a few handy practices to help you understand how to relieve stress yourself.
Additional Read: Stress Symptoms: Effects of Stress on Your Body
Arguably one of the best was to combat stress is to exercise your body. Exercise helps relieve mental stress and reduces the chances of you experiencing anxiety. This is because exercise has a range of benefits to offer. Firstly, it improves quality of sleep, which is usually affected by stress. Secondly, it lowers cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is better known as the stress hormone. Lastly, it facilitates the release of endorphins, which are known to improve the mood and act as painkillers. An added bonus to exercise is that it helps you improve your self-confidence. This goes a long way in mental wellbeing, which is needed to fight stress effectively.
A common response to stress is to eat foods that you think will bring you relief. This is termed as emotional eating, which often adds to stress rather than eliminate it. The main reason for this is that common relief foods are high-sugar, high-fat foods. These cause a momentary relief due to the spike in blood sugar, but ultimately cause greater stress when the blood sugar crashes. So, when you’re stressed, the smarter alternative is to consume healthier, brain-friendly food. Such food helps regulate your mood and energy balance. Common options include eggs, tuna, walnuts, and avocados.
While caffeine has its perks when it comes to boosting energy levels and concentration, high caffeine intake is also linked to increased anxiety. Caffeine has been found to increase stress, causing a jittery feeling. If you’re looking to ease your stress, considering cutting back on caffeine rich foods or beverages until you notice a difference. Some of the common drinks that contain it include coffee, soda and energy drinks, black and green tea, and dark chocolate. There is no set amount that you should try to achieve as caffeine tolerance differs with each person.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using fragrance or scents to help relieve stress or alter your mood. It has many benefits for stress relief as research has found that scents alter brain activity, and some have the power to decrease stress hormones produced in the body. Moreover, aromatherapy can also help you feel more energised while giving you a sense of relaxation, both of which are usually compromised due to stress. Here are a few popular scents that you can try for stress relief or to help manage the symptoms of anxiety attacks:
While it may seem odd, chewing gum has been proven to help relieve stress. Studies have shown that chewing gum reduces stress, even under taxing workloads. As per one study, frequent gum chewers were less stressed and showcased a greater sense of wellbeing. This may be due to fact that chewing gum facilitates better blood flow to the brain or that the act of chewing is known to reduce cortisol in the body. In fact, another study found that stress relief was highest for those who chewed strongly. So, if you’ve got some form of stress test coming up or an activity that you think can contribute to stress, chew some gum to approach it calmly.
One of the best ways to relieve stress is to interact with a loved one or a family member. Just talking can do wonders for your mental wellbeing and provide you with the comfort you seek. Additionally, hugging a loved one is quite beneficial as it facilitates the release of oxytocin. This hormone is associated with lower levels of stress and higher levels of happiness. Further, it reduces blood pressure and norepinephrine, which can bring about a sense of relaxation.
Creating art is a great way to relax and reduce stress and colouring has been specifically found to be an effective stress reliever for adults. This is because colouring can have a meditative effect on the mind, thereby reducing stress. Additionally, a study found that colouring in complex geometric patterns reduced anxiety levels too. Doing art can have a cathartic effect and spending time on something vastly different from your stressful thoughts and experiences can be good for stress relief. If this seems like a viable route, consider using adult colouring books for the best results.
Knowing how to reduce stress is an important skill, which can help you immensely through particularly difficult points in life. Moreover, chronic stress is known to have numerous side effects, some of which can manifest as pain or even critical health conditions like heart disease. These and many more are stress symptoms you should keep your eyes on and try to avoid at all costs.
One of the best ways to address all types of stress and learn how to overcome stress is to seek professional help from a leading psychiatrist or therapist. This allows you to get effective advice on the best stress management practices and specialised medication for a more severe situation.
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