To minimize stress in your life, start by identifying the symptoms and then work back towards the initial triggers that started it with these 7 steps
Stress is unavoidable. You are bound to experience it in numerous daily situations, such as when budgeting your money or facing challenges in your relationship. It is a natural biological response to a demanding situation that causes the body to release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which keep you in a state of alertness.
Feeling stressed is okay… but it doesn’t have to dominate your life once you learn how to recognize when it becomes a problem, and what to do about it.
With the constant pressure caused by work, family-related issues, and the high cost of living, most people have experienced stress in their life. Oftentimes, people don’t understand the impact of stress on their life until they break down mentally and physically.
Since you cannot take control of a problem, if you do not know it exists, it is important to first recognize the symptoms of stress.
NOTE: Given that some symptoms may share similarities with other medical conditions, be sure to get yourself checked by a doctor first to rule out any health problems, since some of the physical symptoms could quickly escalate to severe medical conditions.
Physical and Behavioral Symptoms of Stress:
- Headaches and migraines
- Poor sleeping patterns, either oversleeping or insomnia
- Changes in appetite, overeating or eating too little, and nausea
- Clenched jaw and grinding teeth
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation
- Rapid heartbeat
- Low sex drive
- Nervousness, cold and sweaty hands, fidgeting, and nail-biting
- Tense and aching muscles
- Chest pain
- Substance abuse
- Weak immunity causing frequent colds and infections
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
Emotional and Cognitive Symptoms of Stress:
- Sudden mood changes
- Racing thoughts and inability to focus
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling overwhelmed and constant worrying
- A constant need to be alone
- Poor judgment
Mood swings and low self-esteem will affect your relationship with friends, family, and colleagues as well. Chronic stress can lead to broken families, depression, personality disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and brain damage. Most of these symptoms are generally short-lived, but if you experience them continuously, it is a sign of chronic stress which can negatively impact the quality of your life. For instance, if stress is causing you to oversleep, or if you fail to get enough sleep, your productivity and job security may be impacted.
Once you target the source of your stress, you can only eliminate it with deliberate intention that starts with acknowledging that it is a problem. After that, you can incorporate these 7 steps to create a stress-free life:
1. Develop a Habit of Exercising
Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins — the hormones that give you a mood boost and reduce stress. Swimming is an excellent choice of exercise. In addition to stimulating the release of feel-good hormones, the water provides a massaging sensation that helps you to relax.
2. Adopt Healthy Sleeping Habits
Ensure that you get at least seven hours of sleep daily. Also, develop the habit of getting to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Enough rest puts you in a better position to deal with everyday stressors of life.
3. Be Organized
Poor organization can be a cause of stress in your life, especially if you have a busy life. Without proper organization, you will spend every waking moment trying to beat deadlines, a surefire road to stress. Instead, learn to create a daily to-do list to help you prioritize and manage your life.
4. Seek the Support of Friends and Family
Isolating yourself will only take you deeper into stress. Seek the emotional support of people who genuinely care about to give you the motivation you need to take back control of your life.
5. Understand Your Symptoms of Stress
Everyone’s body is different and will respond differently to stress. Once you recognize the symptoms you develop when stressed, you will be in a better position to control and manage them in its early stages.
6. Learn to Handle Your Triggers
Once you recognize the symptoms of stress in your life, you can tell what triggers this stress and then figure out how to avoid it. If you cannot prevent it, focus on developing a coping mechanism. For instance, if workplace deadlines are causing you stress, start working on your projects early to avoid last minute pressures.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of remaining aware of your current feelings, thoughts, and environment. It helps you focus on the present moment and forget your past failures or worries about the future. Mindfulness enables you to respond less intensely to stress triggers.
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