By: Kayla Bogusz
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine -According to Skillsyouneed.com, “Avoid, or at least reduce, your consumption of nicotine and any drinks containing caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Therefore using alcohol as a way to alleviate stress is not ultimately helpful. Swap caffeinated and alcoholic drinks for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and aim to keep yourself hydrated as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.”
Indulge in physical activity -According to Skillsyouneed.com, “Stressful situations increase the levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body. So physical exercise can be used as a surrogate to metabolize the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.” Also according to the adaa.org “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.”
Get more sleep -According to Skillsyouneed.com, “A lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. Unfortunately though, stress also interrupts our sleep as thoughts keep whirling through our heads, stopping us from relaxing enough to fall asleep.” Skillsyouneed.com, also states “Avoid caffeine during the evening, as well as excessive alcohol if you know that this leads to disturbed sleep. Stop doing any mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed so that you give your brain time to calm down. Try taking a warm bath or reading a calming undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that worry you.”
Write it down (keep a stress diary) -According to Skillsyouneed.com, “Keeping a stress diary for a few weeks is an effective stress management tool as it will help you become more aware of the situations which causes you to become stressed.” Also according to Skillsyouneed.com, “Note down the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and note what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally. Give each stressful episode a stress rating (on, say, a 1-10 scale) and use the diary to understand what triggers your stress and how effective you are in stressful situations. This will enable you to avoid stressful situations and develop better coping mechanisms.”
Manage your time -According to Skillsyouneed.com, “At times, we all feel overburdened by our ‘ To Do ’ list and this is a common cause of stress. Accept that you can not do everything at once and start to prioritise and diaries your tasks. Make a list of all the things that you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what can be delegated to others to do. Record which tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, next month, or when time allows.” Managing your time well can allow you to have some time to relax and have some time to yourself.
Try relaxation techniques -According to Skillsyouneed.com, “Each day, try to relax with a stress-reduction technique. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress so try a few and see what works best for you.” Skillsyouneed.com, also states “For example, try self-hypnosis which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning to you. Words such as "calm" "love" and "peace" work well, or you could think of a self-affirming mantra such as “I deserve calm in my life” or “Grant me serenity”. Focus on your chosen word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to the chosen word or phrase. If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase.”
Listen to smooth music -According to psychcentral.com, “Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music. This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they're often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.”
Talk to someone -Talking to someone in your family or maybe one of your friends can really help. You don't even have to talk to people close to you; you can talk to someone not in your everyday life. According to Skillsyouneed.com, “ Just talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it.”Stress can cloud your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly. Talking things through with a friend, a work colleague, or even a trained professional, can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems into perspective.” So, talking to someone can really help out when you are feeling super stressed out about something.
Spend time with friends and family -According to www.healthline.com, “Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times. One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called "tend and befriend," and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.” Spending time with your friends and your family members can definitely help you alot when you are stressed out.
Learn to avoid procrastination -According to www.healthline.com, “Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating. Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality. Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list. Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.” Learning to avoid procrastination will help reduce a lot of stress.
Try taking a yoga class -According to healthline.com, “Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups. While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind. Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness. Some studies have examined yoga's effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety. In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response. Yoga also relieves stress through stretching. When you are stressed, tension is stored in the body making you feel tight and often causing pain.” So, try taking a yoga class for a couple weeks or two to see if that reduces some of your stress.
Spend time with your pets (if you have one) -According to healthline.com, “Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship — all qualities that help reduce anxiety.” Animals can tell when you are stressed and upset; so they can help you through alot.
So, have you ever been super stressed out to the point where you don’t know how to deal with it? If you have I recommend trying one of these techniques on how to deal with stress. Learning to deal with stress can really help out later in your life.