How to stay Stress Free?


Stress is something everyone experiences. It is a feeling of being under pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life. Such as an increased workload, a transitional period, an argument you have with your family or new and existing financial worries. Despite being unpleasant, stress in itself is not an illness. But there are connections between stress and mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, psychosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During these situations you may feel threatened or upset and your body might create a stress response. This can cause a variety of physical symptoms, change the way you behave, and lead you to experience more intense emotions. Stress affects us in a number of ways, both physically and emotionally and in varying intensities.

The responsibility is in our hands. Staying in the pleasant moment can dramatically reduce stress, increase your happiness, and give you bursts of insight that might change your life.

Stress Causes

All sorts of situations can cause stress. The most common involve work, money matters and relationships with partners, children or other family members.

Stress may be caused either by major upset and life events such as divorce, unemployment, moving house and bereavement, or by a series of minor irritations such as feeling undervalued at work or arguing with a family member. Sometimes, there are no obvious causes.



Personal problems

Health
Aging, diagnosis of a new disease, and symptoms or complications from a current illness can increase your stress. Even if you do not have health problems yourself, someone close to you may be coping with an illness or condition. That can increase your stress levels too.

Relationships
Arguments with your spouse, parent, or child can increase your stress levels. When you live together, it can be even more stressful. Problems between other members of your family or household can also cause you stress, even when you are not directly involved.

Personal beliefs
Arguments about personal, religious, or political beliefs can challenge you, especially in situations where you can not remove yourself from the conflict. Major life events that cause you to question your own beliefs can also cause stress. This is especially true if your beliefs are different from those of the people closest to you.

Emotional problems
When you feel unable to relate to someone, or you need to express your emotions but can not, it can weigh you down with additional stress. Mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, only add to the emotional strain. Positive outlets for emotional release and treatment for mental health disorders are important parts of effective stress management.

Life changes
The death of a loved one, changing jobs, moving houses, and sending a child off to college are examples of big life changes that can be stressful. Even positive changes, such as retirement or getting married, can cause a significant amount of stress.

Money
Financial trouble is a common source of stress. Credit card debt, rent, or the inability to provide for your family or yourself can put a serious amount of stress on you. In this society, where so much emphasis is put on what you have and what you can afford, financial stress is something that nearly everyone can relate to.


Social issues

Occupation
Research has shown that pressure and conflict from a job can be a major source of stress.

Discrimination
Feeling discriminated against can cause long-term stress. For example, you may experience discrimination on the basis of your race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Some people face discrimination and the stress it causes nearly every day.

Environment
Unsafe neighborhoods, crime-ridden cities, and other safety concerns may lead to chronic stress.


Signs of Stress



Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and well being, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:feelings of constant worry or anxiety

  1. feelings of being overwhelmed
  2. difficulty concentrating
  3. mood swings or changes in your mood
  4. irritability or having a short temper
  5. difficulty relaxing
  6. depression
  7. low self-esteem
  8. eating more or less than usual
  9. changes in your sleeping habits
  10. using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
  11. aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
  12. diarrhoea and constipation
  13. feelings of nausea or dizziness
  14. loss of sex drive

Ways to Relieve Stress

Exercise


Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. Putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who does not exercise. There are a few reasons behind this:

Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body's stress hormones in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.

Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.

Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental well being.

Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.

Yoga


Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups to join your body and mind. Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.





Research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety. The benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response. It may help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure and heart rate. Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.

Family'n Friends Time

Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times. Being part of a friend network gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times.


One study found that for women in particular, spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called "tend and befriend". Keep in mind that both men and women benefit from friendship. Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.


Laugh

You never feel anxious when you are laughing. It is good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help relieve stress:
  • Relieving your stress response.
  • Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.


In the long term, laughter can also help improve your immune system and mood. Try watching a funny TV show or hanging out with friends who make you laugh. Find the humor in everyday life, spend time with funny friends or watch a comedy show to help relieve stress.


Reduce Caffeine 

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High intake can increase anxiety. People have different thresholds for caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.


Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it is not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount. High quantities of caffeine can increase stress and anxiety. However, people's sensitivity to caffeine can vary greatly.


Listening Music


Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body. Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.

Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why they are often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music. Listening to music you like can be a good way to relieve stress.


Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls experienced physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels.
There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration. The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises.

This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more peaceful. This video explains how to practice diaphragmatic breathing. Deep breathing activates the relaxation response. Multiple methods can help you learn how to breathe deeply.


Spend Time With Pet

Having a pet may help reduce stress and improve your mood. Interacting with pets may help release oxytocin, a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood. Having a pet may also help relieve stress by giving you purpose, keeping you active and providing companionship all qualities that help reduce anxiety. Spending time with your pet is a relaxing, enjoyable way to reduce stress.


Cuddle


Cuddling, kissing, hugging and sex can all help relieve stress. Positive physical contact can help release oxytocin and lower cortisol. This can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are physical symptoms of stress.


Interestingly, humans are not the only animals who cuddle for stress relief. Chimpanzees also cuddle friends who are stressed. Positive touch from cuddling, hugging, kissing and sex may help lower stress by releasing oxytocin and lowering blood pressure.


Mindfulness

Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation. Mindfulness practices can help lower symptoms of anxiety and depression.


Learn to Say No

Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. One way to do this may be to say "no" more often.

Being selective about what you take on and saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load can reduce your stress levels. Try not to take on more than you can handle. Saying no is one way to control your stressors.


Avoid Procrastination


Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.

Procrastination can lead you to act re-actively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality. Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.


Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself. Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.


Natural Supplements

Several supplements promote stress and anxiety reduction. Here is a brief overview of some of the most common ones:

Omega-3 fatty acids: One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.

Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurveda medicine to treat stress and anxiety. Several studies suggest that it's effective.

Green tea: Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits. It may lower stress and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels.

Some supplements can interact with medications or have side effects, so you may want to consult with a doctor if you have a medical condition.


Takeaway

Stress and anxiety may arise in your workplace and personal life, there are many simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel. These tips often involve getting your mind away from the source of stress. Exercise, mindfulness, music and physical intimacy can all work to relieve anxiety  and they will improve your overall work-life balance as well.

[View More: Anxiety Management]

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