Are you looking for highly effective ways to beat stress?
Stress can be either positive or negative. While a short period of stress can help you function more effectively during times of pressure, ongoing stress is detrimental to your physical and mental health.
Stress can cause everything from insomnia to severe depression. Even physical symptoms like high blood pressure, hormonal dysfunction, and elevated heart rate are related to extensive periods of negative stress.
But what is stress?
What Is Stress?
Stress is the body’s response to a threat, feeling overwhelmed, or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. When this happens, the body increases its cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone.
Increased levels of stress hormones can cause chemical responses in the body, such as heart palpitations, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, etc. It may also lead to feelings of irritation, frustration, and anger.
Even when faced with positive life changes, like having a new baby or getting a promotion at work, you can experience the adverse effects of stress.
Luckily, there are things you can do to combat stress, and here are 4 highly effective ways:
It feels like a cliché, but exercise really does help your body release more endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can help you feel less stressed.
Consider a high-intensity aerobic exercise or energy movement activities like Yoga or Tai Chi’.
When you increase your heart rate with aerobic exercise, the body releases endorphins that help you feel better, maintain a positive attitude and become more energized.
On the other hand, performing calmer exercises like Yoga and Tai Chi’ helps move energy in the body and release negative energy blocks. These activities also use different breathing techniques that can help to calm your mind and reduce stress.
Exercise can also help to relieve tense muscles from stress.
2. Write a To-Do List and Get Organized
As mentioned, stress often kicks in when you feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to cope. It can result from work or home tasks that keep piling up with no time to complete them or deadlines that must be met.
Writing a to-do list can help you focus and get your mind organized. It’s a straightforward process, and you know exactly what you need to do and in what order. You can also estimate the time you’ll need to complete each task and prioritize what you need to do first.
Remember to be realistic about how much time it’ll take to complete each task and allow yourself regular breaks to rest and recuperate in between tasks. Most importantly, reward yourself for getting the job done.
In addition, writing a to-do list also gives you the satisfaction of checking off completed tasks. Lastly, don’t forget to organize your work desk or living space since clutter can also be a contributing factor to stress.
3. Meditate and Do Breathwork
Meditation and breathwork have many proven health benefits and can, for example, make us more resilient to external stress factors that can cause inflammation in the body.
When quieting your mind with meditation practices, you can reach a state of calmness that not only makes you feel good but can boost your overall health, too. People who regularly meditate have lower cortisol levels in their brains, making them more resistant to inflammatory illnesses.
Five minutes of stillness, where you focus on your breath, is all it takes to reap the benefits of meditation. So, look for a comfortable spot in a quiet place, breathe slowly in and out, quiet your mind, and feel your worries dissipate.
4. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
Setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself is crucial to reduce stress. Be compassionate with yourself, mindful of the things you can control, and work on accepting what you can’t control.
In addition, you cannot be successful at everything all at once, and believing otherwise, will quickly lead you down the path of self-destruction. The most successful leaders and people, in general, are those who know their own flaws and when to take help from others.
Remember that it’s okay to say “no” to things that will place too much stress on you. You can’t always meet the expectations of others.
If you still feel stressed after trying these tips, you may need to consider counseling to help you recognize what’s causing you stress and get additional tools to relieve it. More importantly, you should turn to your health care provider if you feel unwell for more than two weeks.