There are many reasons why you could be suffering from stress. The pressures of your job, problems at home, health concerns or financial worries can all contribute to the onset of stress.
Whatever the reasons, stress is on the increase. A study carried out in early 2017 found that 70% of Americans suffered from stress and of those, more than half have to deal with it on a daily or weekly basis.
This is bad news. Stress can lead to, among other problems, headaches, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, fertility problems, high blood sugar and an increased risk of heart attack. In short, if stress goes untreated it can be a killer.
So how do you beat stress? Here are seven ways to help reduce your stress levels
When it comes to reducing stress, exercise is one of the simplest ways of doing so. When you hear that experts recommend that we should be getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week, you’re probably thinking you don’t have time for that. It might seem like a lot, but in fact it translates to around only 22 minutes a day. That is a walk around the park during your lunch break or cycling into town at the weekend rather than taking the car.
For those with more time to dedicate to exercise, then taking up jogging or sports such as badminton or tennis will help to combat stress. Working out regularly will help improve your health – something that six in 10 American adults are worried about – help improve your mood and help lift depression. It also gives us something to focus on – if you are thinking about running that 10k race, you are not spending time dwelling on other situations in your life which could cause you stress.
Avoid unhealthy habits
It’s a vicious circle – when we are stressed, some of us turn to alcohol and cigarettes as a means of unwinding. This is known as avoidance behavior and although we may think it is helping us to cope, in actual fact it is the very same alcohol and cigarettes that increase our stress levels in the first place. What you end up with is a snowball effect.
The answer is that no matter how bad things get, try and avoid turning to drink and tobacco at all costs. They might provide temporary relief, but they won’t solve any of your problems. They’re actually more likely to cause new ones.
There are a number of natural supplements out there which can be used to combat stress. Therapeutic doses of the right supplements can in some cases help to target the causes of stress when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brains pineal gland and helps to control the bodies sleep cycle. Given that lack of sleep is a major contributory factor when it comes to stress, taking melatonin to improve your sleep efficiency can help reduce stress levels.
Magnesium plays a key role in the brains nerve and muscle functions and can help to promote relaxation. Not only that, but research has indicated that it also aids the regulation of our stress response, with those who aren’t getting enough magnesium as part of a balanced diet seemingly more likely to be stressed.
Plants and herbs can also play a role in managing stress. Valerian root is a herb commonly known to treat insomnia and anxiety which makes it one possible tool for dealing with stress while CBD wax can also help with relaxation – click here to check it out!
Volunteering and helping others can help us beat stress by giving us an increased sense of resilience. By offering to help out with a local charity or organization, chances are you’ll end up coming into contact with people less fortunate than yourself.
This can put our problems into perspective and make us realize that we are actually quite lucky to live the life that we do. By being thankful for what we have, it can lift depression and unhappiness which both contribute to the stresses we feel. Not only that, but you’ll also get a sense of satisfaction out of helping those that need it, and you’ll be doing a good turn, too.
Connect with people
Don’t hide away and let the stress eat up at you – connect with as many of your friends and family as possible. There are two main benefits to doing this. Firstly, you’ll have a support network ready to help you out if you need to talk about the problems that are placing you under such stress.
Secondly, the activities we do with friends and family can help us unwind. Going to the cinema, watching sport and going out for dinner gives us a chance to be social, forget about our problems and most importantly, have a laugh. They do say laughter is the best medicine, after all.
Accept the things that you can’t change
A lot of stress comes from us worrying about things that are ultimately out of our control. Take a step back and ask yourself, could you actually do anything about the situation? If the company you are employed by is going under for example, chances are there is nothing you can do about it.
Don’t blame yourself or focus on something you can’t change, but instead put your energy into what you can do to improve the situation, such as looking for a new job.
Manage your time – be organized
How much of our stress comes from worrying about whether we can get something done by a deadline or that we are going to get from A to B on time? By being organized, you can manage your time better and reduce a lot of unnecessary stress. At work, prioritize the jobs that are most important and accept that you won’t be able to get everything done, every day. At home, leave enough time for journeys and plan ahead as much as possible to reduce the stress that comes with running late for a flight, bus or train. Little changes such as that can go a long, long way.