Our daily lives are filled with stressors. From our homes to workplaces, we encounter setbacks and certain circumstances that challenge us emotionally. If you find yourself tired and stressed out, here’s a list of 15 simple things you can do to feel better.
Stress is a response to pressure or threat. Under stress we may feel tense, nervous, or on edge. The stress response is physical, too. Stress triggers a surge of a hormone called adrenaline that temporarily affects the nervous system.
Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. If you frequently find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it’s time to take action to bring your nervous system back into balance. You can protect yourself — and improve how you think and feel — by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
Your nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If you’re super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger and the harder it becomes to shut off.
If you tend to get stressed out frequently—as many of us do in today’s demanding world—your body many be in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
- Skin conditions, such as eczema
- Heart disease
- Weight problems
- Reproductive issues
- Thinking and memory problems
Signs and symptoms of stress overload
The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar — even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.
Lets begin the countdown starting with #15:
#15. Get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation affects both our physical and mental health. It is also known to contribute to depression. Especially when stressed out, get as much as 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
#14. Nurture positive thoughts.
When facing stressful thoughts, close your eyes and visualize yourself handling the situation in a calm and relaxed manner. Do not pay attention to how you currently feel. Just focus on relaxing and positive thoughts. This technique is coined as “guided imagery” and has been found to reduce stress.
#13. Make plans.
Fight stress by planning for the day ahead. Make a schedule or a to-do list and develop certain habits that make you more productive. So, instead of wasting time looking for things that you need in the morning, try preparing them as early as the night before.
#12. Clean up.
Physical clutter creates mental clutter. This means, a messy workplace can add up to your stress. Take 15 minutes of your time to tidy up your home or workplace. Also, strive to make cleaning a habit to keep yourself stress-free.
#11. Use calming oils.
Bring a small flask of calming oil wherever you go. Essential oils such as basil, anise and chamomile can help you feel relaxed. They release tension and help you achieve mental clarity.
Breathing exercises are not only for panic attacks. They also keep your stress levels at bay. Short, shallow breaths make you feel more stressed out. On the other hand, if you take long and deep breaths, you are telling your brain to relax.
Kids and animals have an innate ability to play without stressing out about other things. Spare at least an hour of each day playing with your children or pets. You may also offer to take a friend’s dog out for a walk or babysit their child/children for a couple of hours.
#8. Have some quiet time.
Plan for some quiet time when you can completely disconnect yourself from the world. Take some time out even just for five minutes. Turn all of your gadgets off and let people know they won’t be able to reach you.
#7. Spend time with family/friends.
Research revealed that people with lots of social support react better to stress. This is because socializing stimulates the production of oxytocin, a hormone that helps your body reduce stress levels. Next time you feel stressed out, surround yourself with family or friends. Hang out, go for a walk or simple have a quick chat.
Research shows that smiling and laughing can reduce stress and prevent depression. So, smile no matter what your circumstances are. It’s always a good idea to take a quick break from stressful situations and get some giggles on your face.
#5. Show gratitude.
Studies discovered that expressing your gratitude reduces stress. To cultivate the value of gratitude, start a gratitude journal. Every day, write down things that you are grateful for.
#4. Eat healthy.
Stress can change our appetite. We might crave certain food or lose our appetite. Instead of caving in to stress, continue to keep your body healthy by eating more of food that nutrients such as vitamin B and omega-3s. Vitamin B is linked to good mental health and omega-3s help the body fight stress.
Scientists discovered that meditating reduces gray matter in our brains. This means, meditation allows the brain to release stress. Meditating is also a great way to examine and understand our thoughts.
#2. Make a vision board.
Instead of stressing out about the future, sit down and create a vision board. It enables you to set concrete goals and take the edge off about the unknown. Take an hour to spend creating a vision board. If you are not the crafty type, you can create an e-vision board using apps like Pinterest.
If you are stressing over something, it is healthy to let yourself worry about it only for a certain amount of time. Commit to worry only for a maximum of 20 minutes. Think of the possible outcomes, figure out game plans and after 20 minutes, quit thinking about it. You may also have a friend call or warn you that the allotted time is already over so you won’t go beyond the limit.