Your body is hardwired to respond to stress. Its “fight-or-flight” response system is designed to kick in when you’re faced with a threat. However, modern humans encounter a constant barrage of stressors that your body can misinterpret as threatening. That can keep you on edge. Over time, stress can negatively impact your mental and physical health.
The hard reality is that stress will always exist. Pinpointing your triggers, or sources of stress, can help you manage it.
Sweat it out:
If you need more reasons to schedule exercise into your calendar, know that physical activity can help relieve stress. Regular exercise can boost your mood, promote weight loss, and help you get a good night’s sleep.
Some studies suggest that a good cry may help you feel better. People who cried while watching a movie felt worse immediately afterward. But within 90 minutes, they reported feeling better than they did before they watched the film.
Learn to be imperfect:
It’s healthy to have goals, but putting too much pressure on yourself can negatively affect your health. Holding yourself to unrealistic expectations is the perfect recipe for failure and stress.
Schedule “me” time:
Whether it’s five minutes of meditation to start your day, a soothing bath, or a 30-minute walk, it’s important to make time for yourself. Schedule it in your calendar to make it a priority.
Do one healthy thing every day:
Take the stairs at the train station. Swap your next candy bar for a piece of fruit. Trade in your morning cup of highly caffeinated coffee for a mug of antioxidant-rich green tea. You might discover that every healthy choice you make motivates you to make more. The physical and mental benefits of taking care of yourself can make a big difference in your life.
Mistakes, accidents, and even tragedies happen sometimes. You can help lower the stress they cause by preparing for inevitable or unpleasant events.
Write it down
A growing body of evidence suggests that journaling can help you sort through a gamut of emotions, such as anger, sadness, and loss. Writing about your emotions may even help you heal from stress and trauma.
Stress management relies, in part, on staying hydrated. Hydration is important for keeping you healthy and combating fatigue.
Consider each request and opportunity carefully before accepting it. Only say yes to as many things as you’re able and willing to handle without putting your mental and physical health at risk. Then politely say “no” to the rest.
To cope with stress, it may also help to:
- Laugh a little every day
- Cut down on stimulants, such as caffeine and sugar
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic breathing and meditation
- Talk to a friend or family member