Are you looking to improve your skills to manage and reduce stress? We look at the physical effects of stress and top tips for managing stress.
How can I improve my stress management skills?
Stress can affect individuals in so many different ways. From negatively controlling our emotions to having an impact on our physical well-being, stress can completely disrupt everyday life.
Yet, according to numerous research studies, stress is not always bad, especially because some stress can be good for people.
This is primarily because some types of stress can keep people alert, while also helping increase the person’s performance.
Either way, everyone needs to learn as much as they can about how to reduce and manage their stress levels wisely. That said, here is a guide that can assist you with managing and reducing your own stress levels.
Stress affects us physically and emotionally and in varying intensities.
As mentioned above, stress is not always negative. In fact, some types of stress can lead to very positive results.
Based on the circumstances, some people tend to be much better performers when they are under pressure.
This is especially true for people who like to stretch things out to the last minute (professional procrastinators).
Yet, whatever the case, stress is normally only beneficial when it is short-lived.
For instance, if people remain under prolonged stress, it usually leads to a wide range of both physical and emotional problems including the following:
- Heart disease
The intensity of the stress can also make a huge difference in how the overall body behaves. For instance, the body has a built- in mechanism to that responds to stress whenever people feel upset or threatened.
Some of the most commonly known in research studies are normally related to changes in physical symptoms, changes in behavior and in intensity of emotions.
Physical Symptoms of Stress
It is important to note that people handle stress in different ways. Some people may lose their appetite, while others tend to eat more to deal with stressful situations.
There is also a group of people that cannot sleep when they are stressed out, while others may sleep too much to avoid facing their problems.
Therefore, the ending results of these stressful bouts can manifest themselves in many different ways.
One of the most commonly known effects of stress on the body is called the ‘fight or flight’ response. Fight or flight is triggered by the body’s internal makeup.
For instance, a rush of stress hormones in the body can be seen physically by virtually anyone that is near. In some cases, these hormones may cause the person to perspire, and their heart rate to accelerate at the same time.
Though this response may not be pleasant to see or feel, it is the body preparing itself for the emotional or physical emotions at hand. And here are some of the signs that indicate that this person is most likely in ‘fight or flight’ mode.
- Severe Headaches
- Muscle Tension
- Heart palpitations
Each of these changes is the body’s way of making it simple for the person to run away or to fight. It also gives people the opportunity to decide which way they want the ending results to be.
For instance, whenever a highly stressful situation passes, these hormone levels will become normal again.
On the flip side, if the person remains under a certain amount of constant stress, these hormones will continue a higher level and may eventually lead to more serious physical and emotional signs of stress.
Top 10 Tips to Manage Stress
Managing Stress Tip #1 – Exercises
One of the best ways to relax the mind and the body is to start a regular exercise routine. By exercising often, it can help to improve your mood and reduce the body’s stress levels.
However, before you get started, you need to know how much exercise will provide the greatest benefits.
First of all, you need to decide the type of exercise that will suit your needs and preferences.
For instance, if you like to jog, swim or participate in other kinds of sports, you may want to consider exercising at least 75 minutes each week. Or, if you prefer less intense exercise, you may want to walk at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week.
Just focus on setting a goal that you can work up to until you can establish a good daily routine.
Managing Stress Tip #2 – Relax Your Muscles
Stress can cause the muscles in your body to become exceptionally tense. Therefore, you may want to spend a part of your day by loosening up in one or more of the following ways:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Taking hot baths or showers
Managing Stress Tip #3 – Deep Breathing
Immediate relief from stress is deep breathing. In fact, you may be surprised to know how well it works. Just follow the 5 steps provided for you below.
- Lie down or sit up in a comfortable position (feet on the floor and hands in your lap)
- Close your eyes
- Picture a place in your mind that is relaxing (i.e. beach, green grass, etc.)
- Take a slow breath in and breathe out
- Practice these steps for at least 5 to 10 minutes, whenever you have time.
Managing Stress Tip #4 – Eat Well
Do not skip meals. Make sure to plan balanced meals in advance (i.e. protein, vegetables, fruit). When you are eating right, your moods are regulated properly and you can reduce bad stress.
Managing Stress Tip #5 – Slow Down
Today’s modern lifestyles are inherently busy and packed with high-stress level activities.
Therefore, you need to be intentional about arranging your schedule in a manner that eliminates the constant hustle and bustle. Here are a few great tips.
Managing Stress Tip #6 – Take a Break
At first, taking a break may be difficult to do, especially if you are a high achiever.
However, if you really want to reduce stress and lead a healthy lifestyle, you will appreciate the value of sticking to these times religiously.
Managing Stress Tip #7 – Make Time for Hobbies
Set aside some time for things that you really enjoy. Even if it is only 15 to 20 minutes a day, do something that will make you feel good. To de-stress, taking up a hobby can work wonders.
Managing Stress Tip #8 – Talk About Your Problems
Another way to lower stress is to talk about what is bothering you. However, you may only want to share private matters with a close friend, family member, your doctor, or a member of the clergy.
Or, in some cases, you may be your own best sounding board. Whatever the case, just keep it positive and not negative.
Managing Stress Tip # 9 – Go easy on Yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself, stay positive. Since you cannot control everything that goes on in life, you may need to learn how to relax. Also, it is important to remember that laughter is often the world’s best medicine.
Managing Stress Tip #10 – Eliminate Your Triggers
Get rid of the triggers that cause your stress. As you begin to surmise where your worries are coming from, you may need to re-assess the things that you are doing, including your job or the educational direction that you are going in.
Also, if you cannot get rid of the issue, you will need to find ways to reduce or lessen these triggers.
This article looks at skills to manage and reduce stress. Learning stress management skills is one of the important skills for self development. Find out about the other self development skills you can benefit from improving.