Eliminate Stress For A Healthier Life
Everyone, unfortunately, experiences stress in their lives to a certain degree. This is not always a bad thing, because a life without stress would be a boring one devoid of risks and without rewards. Stress pushes you to meet goals and expectations, and is an element of most exciting occurrences in your life, but too much of anything is not good for you.
Daily challenges bring on levels of stress that are sometimes overwhelming. And, your body and mind can respond to these feelings in ways that can be detrimental to your well-being over the long run. When your body feels anxious, cortisol and adrenaline, which are stress hormones, will be released.
These chemicals have negative effects on your sleeping and eating habits, as well as your ability to metabolize fats and sugars, and fight off germs and viruses. In addition, they can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, and rapid heartbeat. Over time, stress can contribute to depression and severely increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.
However, you can turn your life around by properly dealing with everyday stress. Here are eight effective methods for reducing or eliminating stress:
1. Eat Healthy Foods
In order to reduce stress, you must maintain a fit lifestyle. The primary component of that existence is a healthy diet. Not only could obesity seriously affect your self-esteem, causing stress, but personal fitness and loading up on the proper nutrients leads to the release of dopamine, a hormone that causes an overall feeling of well-being.
You don’t have to overhaul your intake completely. However, if swap out a couple of fast food meals with a healthy salad made from fresh greens, or if you trade in that candy bar for a red apple, after a while you should notice that you don’t have such a chaotic reaction to life’s uncertainties.
You should also avoid excess caffeine and sugary foods. Caffeine and sugar can give the body and mind an artificial high that feels good for a short period of time, but you will eventually crash, feeling lower than you did to start with. The resulting feelings of depression, along with the suppressed vigor provided by these substances, can lead to a build-up of anxiety.
2. Get Plenty of Exercise
Participating in any type of physical activity can not only improve your health overall, but it can offset the negative effects of stress on your body by regulating hormones and releasing additional energy you would otherwise spend on worrying.
A period of at least 30 minutes a day should be spent participating in a simple exercise program, whether it is a bit of brisk walking, a yoga class, or a few minutes at the gym between work and family obligations.
Not only will physical activity keep your weight under control, but it will keep health problems at bay, meaning you will be less likely to have to worry about heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments plaguing you and those in your household, inadvertently leading to less stress.
3. Give up Cigarettes and Alcohol
While many people smoke cigarettes as a way to calm down in stressful situations, or as a method of relaxation after a hard day at work or while on a break from their job, the truth is that nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes, is a stimulant. As such, it actually causes the heart to beat faster and actually revs the body up rather than slow it down. Of course, it goes without saying that cigarettes are beyond unhealthy; they are deadly carcinogens and cessation is the only way to truly save yourself from their lethal effects.
Alcohol, on the other hand, is actually a depressant, but it should also be avoided for that reason if looking to eliminate stress. Alcohol is a drug that has a tendency to delude the user into believing that situations are much worse than they actually are, creating a sad feeling that can easily devolve into helplessness and uneasiness. So, if you are under stress at a given moment, it is probably best to refrain from drinking.
4. Get Plenty of Sleep
There are many tips to getting better sleep, but the process starts with placing yourself in bed, undistracted, with all screens turned off. This is so important because when you are robbing yourself of this natural function, you will start to see consequences, one of which is added stress and nervousness. Unfortunately, stress can take sleep away, and lack of sleep means more stress, creating a vicious cycle.
Getting adequate rest and the right amount of sleep is crucial to leading a stress-free life. While many people try to turn their life around by making healthy changes, they often neglect the importance of sleeping, not just enough, but gaining the proper quality of sleep. You must sleep at least eight consecutive hours daily in order to achieve REM sleep, the type of sleep that refreshes your body and rests your brain so you can function appropriately the next day.
5. Do Not Try to do Everything
You are not a machine, and trying to act like one can cause your mind and body to stress out in no time. If you feel like you are over loaded with work between home, your job, and other extra activities, it may be time to delegate some of your current tasks to others. Your family and children should be expected to help out at home while you can talk to your boss about sharing some of your responsibilities with co-workers on the job. There is no shame in asking for help to reduce your workload.
Also, learn to say “no” to others once in a while. You may feel guilty at first if others are depending on you, but taking too much on at a time can definitely cause you stress. Try to only take on obligations that you feel comfortable fulfilling without any added pressure.
Also, when you make a list of chores that must get done in a particular time frame, prioritize what needs to be done. List what you must do and separate those tasks from what you should probably do. Then, complete the most important jobs first and stop worrying about anything that doesn’t really matter in the long run.
6. Attempt Deep Breathing
While it may sound a bit clich?, deep breathing really works to eliminate panic and it can certainly calm you down in the midst of stress. It may be hard to actually take the time to concentrate on something that may seem as inconsequential as your breath, but if you can gain your focus, it is worth the trouble.
Simply sit up as tall and straight as you can in your chair and inhale slowly through your nose and breathe out through your mouth while counting to five. Do this repeatedly until you start to feel an overwhelming sense of calm. Another method of deep breathing involves breathing into a paper bag. This is especially helpful if you are having an anxiety attack because it hastens the process of relaxing your body and mind.
7. Connect with Positive People
While it is a good idea to spend time with others when you are stressed out, the company you keep can, of course, make a huge impact on your overall mood. If you tend to be around others with a penchant for arguing about politics, religion, or how you choose to raise your children, then it is best to leave such a situation before a serious disagreement occurs.
Instead, find friends and loved ones to spend time with that have a positive impact on your thoughts and feelings. Go out for coffee or take a walk with someone that is optimistic and hopeful in bad situations. Sometimes finding the right person to share a stressful situation with can alleviate stress because you will have the opportunity to talk it out.
If you do have negative people influencing your life, however, it may be best to let go of any resentment you feel towards them and forgive them. You cannot control the past or how others treated you, so sometimes the best way to diffuse stress is to let go of any anger you may have towards others.
8. Adapt to Changing Circumstances
Again, you cannot control other people and there are situations that you simply cannot change just by wishing them to. However, the second best way to cope with impossible circumstances is to adjust your response to them. You can try to compromise with another person if he or she is unwillingly to budge. Or, you can try to see how the situation affects him or her by walking a proverbial “mile in his or her shoes,” and maybe you can accept the circumstances for what they are if you can empathize with others’ positions.
Another approach is to just brace yourself and get through it with grace. Will the things that are going on right now even matter in a few weeks? How about in a month?
When you think about it, is the matter even worth worrying about to the extent that you are? Maybe you should stop attempting to capture perfection and live with “good enough,” or you should just let go of things that really don’t matter, like old feuds. The key is to change your attitude, if you can’t change the situation.
In conclusion, incorporating these tips should help you to refrain from stressful situations and to stop stress if and when it starts. However, if stress is seriously affecting your life on a daily basis, it may be best to speak with a doctor or therapist that can help you with your specific issues.
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