Most of the time, stress is inevitable in that you don't see it coming until it hits you. However, for those who feel the onset of stress and its very frustrating symptoms beginning to arise, there are ways to prevent it from taking over your life or to at least relieve the pressure.
First off, let's take a look at some of the principal signs of stress.
Signs Of Stress
Everyone will, at some point in their life, experience stress. Some are only mildly affected, whilst others can take it very badly. There is a range of factors that affect how people react to stress, from your personality to your wellbeing and how much pressure is placed on you.
It is really important to address stress as soon as possible so that it doesn't begin to affect your wellbeing and take over your daily life.
Below are just some of the common signs that someone suffering from stress may experience:
- always worrying, feeling anxious, being overwhelmed
- struggling to concentrate
- finding it hard to keep emotions in check, feeling irritable, having mood swings, having a short temper
- unable to relax
- feeling depressed or low on self-esteem
- a change in eating habits
- an alteration in sleeping habits
- feeling physically achy or tense
- turning to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs for comfort
- diarrhoea or constipation
- feeling nauseous or dizzy
- a loss of libido
If you experience any of the above and are concerned about your wellbeing, then it is best to contact your GP for support as quickly as possible. Alternatively, you may wish to confide in a loved one or friend who can help you to get through your difficult situation.
Relieve Stress With These 7 Steps
1. Eat healthily
"When we think about stress-relief, most often we think about things like breathing exercises, relaxing yoga poses or maybe even an intense exercise session, like boxing or spinning.
Not that these practices aren't great ways to relieve and manage stress, but since they sort of "steal the spotlight," if you will, diet is often overlooked as part of the stress-fighting picture."
As we will go on to explore, mindfulness and exercise are indeed great stress-busters. That said, we are in no way ignoring the fact that diet can directly impact your wellbeing. If you are feeling stressed for a prolonged period, one thing you might like to do is to sit back and try to reinvent your food intake. For instance, are you drinking enough water and getting enough nutrients and vitamins every day? Could you benefit from eating healthier food as well as taking some supplements as and where necessary?
If you want expert help and advice, you can also contact an independent nutritionist.
2. Be aware of smoking and drinking alcohol
"Our results suggest that the effects of job stress on smoking and alcohol consumption differ substantially for at least two "types" of individuals, light and heavy users. In particular, we find that job stress has a positive and statistically significant impact on smoking intensity, but only for light smokers, while it has a positive and significant impact on alcohol consumption mainly for heavy drinkers." - Copyright ©2011 Azagba and Sharaf; licensee Springer.
Smoking is far from a healthy habit, and nor should it become a hobby when you are feeling stressed. Rather than increasing the amount you smoke when you are feeling under pressure, you should seriously consider cutting down or, even better, cutting it out. Smoking can have very nasty, long-lasting effects on your body, not to mention clouding your thoughts.
"Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you'll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out." - helpguide.org
Want an energy boost that is purely natural and healthy? Then get moving!
Experts have found evidence that any type of exercise, even just walking to the shops, is enough to have a positive impact on your body and mind. What's more, exercising makes you feel good so why not sign up to a weekly class that will leave you feeling on top of the world each time you get out? If you are feeling particularly stressed, then you may find that keeping yourself occupied outside if work with extra sessions at the gym might prevent you from feeling inundated by work pressures.
4. Take time out
"However busy you are, it’s important for your mental health to take time out for yourself, relax and recharge the batteries."
As humans, we are not designed to be on the go 24/7. Everybody needs a bit of downtime, time and space to gather thoughts and simply be free of pressure.
Prolonged stress or anxiety can be very harmful, with some very extreme cases leading people to self-harm or commit suicide. This is why it is so important to catch stress before it takes over your wellbeing, your whole 'being', and to force yourself to take a break and unwind.
Be sure to book regular holidays throughout the year with your annual leave so that you don't begin to resent your work and get a sufficient break from your duties.
5. Be mindful
"Mindfulness meditation techniques can greatly help with stress relief and relaxation and are relatively simple to practice."
You may not see yourself as a yogi, but we can assure you that if you practice yoga or meditation and reap the benefits that so many people swear by after starting the regime, then you will never ever look back!
Many believe that breathing exercises and taking time to be mindful should make up part of everybody's day, no matter how busy they are. Taking the time to process your thoughts and let them pass by without any judgement can be one of the most effective ways of dealing with negative emotions.
6. Get some restful sleep
"Stress can impact your life in many ways, including negatively affecting the quality of your sleep. ... As a result, when you don't sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those hormones The next day, you feel more stressed, the following night you find it harder to fall asleep, and so on."
It's no surprise that a bad night of sleep will make you feel worse the next day, as most of us have woken up grumpy after a terrible night. But did you know that getting a great sleep can work in the other way and actually make you feel even better?
Giving your mind time to fully recover from the day, and your body the chance to really relax means that you can wake the next day completely refreshed and usually with a much more positive outlook on something that might have been bugging you the night before.
7. Don’t be too hard on yourself
"Most of us today are suffering from the stress that chaos and uncertainty can bring. Self-kindness, an important aspect of self-compassion, has been proven to help reduce stress."
When you're feeling rubbish about something, it's so easy to let it eat away at you. However, it's important to not be hard on yourself and to dwell in negativity.
Self-kindness, much like being mindful of yourself and your feelings, is a very big part in reducing stress. So, be your own best friend at a time when you really could do with a friendly face to cheer you on and tell you that everything is going to get better!
Check out our other related articles including explaining stress management, its importance, and strategies to help you manage stress.
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