Listen to “Relaxation Techniques: How to Manage Stress”.
Guest Post by Lauren Webber
Many people find it hard to manage stress, which makes it extremely difficult for them to overcome the curve balls that affect their daily lives. Chronic stress can be harmful to your mind and body and can put you at risk for health issues like depression, high blood pressure, stomachaches, anxiety, headaches, heart pain and diseases. Doctors recommend taking treadmill stress tests to determine how well your heart handles workloads, and before participating in an activity that would potentially put a strain on your heart as a way to avoid aggravated stress levels.
Using relaxation techniques is a great way to manage and alleviate stress. Relaxation techniques aren’t just about enjoying a hobby or attaining peace of mind; they are also an effective way to decrease the effects of stress on both your mind and body. They can help you avert stress-related health problems and cope with everyday stress.
What is Stress
Stress can be described as your body’s response to a demand or challenge. Everyone experiences stress that is often triggered by a spectrum of events ranging from significant changes like job loss or divorce to minor daily altercations.
Stress response usually involves physical components like elevated blood pressure and heart rate, personal beliefs and thoughts about the stressful event, and emotions such as anger and fear. While most people often understand it as a negative response, stress can sometimes come from positive changes, such as having a new baby or getting a promotion.
How to Handle Stress in a Healthy Way
Although stress plays a major role in enabling you to respond instantly to threats and avoid danger, lengthy exposure to stress often leads to increased physical health problems and mental health difficulties like depression and anxiety. Research indicates that aggravated stress levels also interfere with the body’s ability to regulate physical illnesses.
Even though it is impossible to completely avoid stressful situations, it’s possible to work on handling them in healthy ways that could potentially increase your chances of recovery. They include:
Exercising Regularly: Apart from having a range of physical health benefits, exercising has been proven to be an effective stress reliever. Consider strengthening with weights, movement activities such as yoga, or non-competitive aerobic exercises. Aerobic exercises are known to stimulate the release of endorphins that help maintain a positive attitude.
Observing a Healthy Diet: Most people try to reduce stress by overeating or drinking alcohol. Although these actions might feel helpful, they often add to stress in the long run. However, observing a healthy, balanced diet helps combat stress.
Lessen Triggers of Stress: Like most people, you probably feel like your life is filled with too many demands and little time. Usually, these demands are ones you have personally chosen. Consider pacing yourself, practicing time-management skills, setting priorities, setting aside time for taking care of yourself, and seeking help when you need it.
Encouraging Yourself: Whenever you feel overwhelmed, try to encourage yourself by reminding yourself of things you are good at. Having a healthy sense of self-esteem can help you maintain positivity in stressful situations.
Evaluating Your Values and Embracing Them: When your actions reflect what you believe, you will always find a way to feel better no matter what is happening in your life.
Asserting Yourself: You have every right to say no to demands on your energy and time that will put you in a stressful position. It’s important to acknowledge that you don’t always have to meet other people’s expectations.
Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations: It’s healthy to admit that it is impossible to be 100% successful at everything you do. Work on accepting the things you can’t control while being mindful of those you can.
Avoid Using Nicotine and Tobacco Products: Individuals who use nicotine and tobacco often refer to them as stress relievers. However, these products put more stress on the body by reducing breathing and blood flow and intensifying physical arousal. Caffeine is also known to compound the effects of stress.
Studying and Practicing Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques entail refocusing your mind on something calming, which helps enhance your body’s awareness. They are key to managing stress and its effects, and there are a variety of techniques to choose from and several apps and online platforms that offer guidance on each technique.
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