Stress can negatively impact your life, especially in copious amounts. It triggers your fight or flight instinct and pumps your body with adrenaline and cortisol, which raises your blood pressure, increases your heart rate, and spikes your blood sugar. None of this is good for you, so it’s crucial not only to recognize when you’re stressed but learn how to manage it healthily.
Some stress indicators include prolonged periods of poor sleep, regular, severe headaches, constant anger and irritability, loss of interest in activities, the inability to concentrate, and much more. Chronic stress can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, weight gain, memory loss, and potentially premature death, so recognizing these warning signs and learning to manage your stress is vital to your health and well-being.
If you’re feeling any of those symptoms, here are a few healthy ways to prevent or reduce your stress.
One major stressor can be having an imbalanced work-life schedule. Letting yourself get too caught up in your work can allow your work worries to leak into your downtime, which will only intensify the stress and worry you feel in the long run. Instead, rework your schedule to ensure you have enough time for fun and relaxation, whether that be by yourself or with people you care about.
An unhealthy diet can negatively affect your mood, as can alcohol and other stimulants. Though alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine can temporarily relieve your stress, the negative impact they’ll have on your health doesn’t make them viable solutions in the long run. In fact, relying on them as stress relievers can make your stress worse as time goes on. Instead, focus on adding fruits and vegetables to your diet, start your day with a well-balanced breakfast, avoid processed foods and sugar, and drink plenty of water.
A lack of sleep can decrease how well your body can handle stress. This is why aiming to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night is vital to your health and stress management. If you find this to be an issue, arrange your schedule so that you can get the appropriate amount of sleep each night; adding meditation to your day can also help with this.