Stress is the body’s automatic response to any physical or mental demand placed on it.  Adrenaline is a chemical naturally produced in our body as a response to stress. We sometimes have a reaction after sensing stress, but not all stress is bad.

Moderate levels of stress may actually improve performance and efficiency. Too little stress may result in boredom. Too much stress may cause an unproductive anxiety level. A balance of stress is what many of us strive for.

Let’s look at identifying stressors. Situations, activities, and relationships leading to physical, emotional, or psychological stress present in various ways. Examples of stressors comes from school or work, family, relationships, legal or financial problems, medical issues related to illness or disease, environmental problems or a life transition.

Negative effects of stress include physical and emotional problems. Physical problems are weight loss or gain, unexpected hair loss, heart palpitations, and high blood pressure. Emotional problems are mood swings, anxiety, depression, or unhealthy coping strategies such as using alcohol or drugs.

Easy Ways to Take Charge of Your Stress:

Here are the top 10 ways to manage stress:

  1. Study and practice body relaxation exercises including body scans, deep breathing, or yoga. These methods reduce cortisol levels, the hormone related to stress.
  2. Incorporate routine into your life with eating healthy meals. Eat and drink sensibly even eliminating meat products up to two meals a week with healthier options like vegetarian or vegan options. This helps improve your blood pressure and mental clarity as well as overall health.
  3. Limit alcohol, drugs and smoking cigarettes. Alcohol and drugs interfere with your sleep. Cigarettes impairs your overall health including blood pressure and circulation.
  4. Follow a healthy sleep routine with approximately 8 hours of sleep per night. Proper sleep allows our brain and body to repair itself overnight to feel revitalized.
  5. Exercise regularly to ensure your body desires a proper night’s sleep. Walking at least 30 minutes per day is estimated to be a decent routine. However, taking part in cardiovascular exercise 3-4 times per week, estimated 30 plus minutes per day is more beneficial.
  6. Utilize imagery or visualization. By learning and practicing meditation, you are working on increasing dopamine and decreasing stress.  
  7. Break up tasks into manageable parts
  8. Set reasonable goals, that are SMART. SMART means simple, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. By accomplishing very small goals daily, you can feel more accomplished and less overwhelmed.
  9. Assert yourself in a forthright, calm manner to people. By stuffing your thoughts and emotions or worse, acting out and being aggressive, you miss the opportunity to be heard and get your needs met.  When we assert ourselves in a healthy way, our self-esteem increases.
  10. Schedule “you” time.  This is a good way for you to relax, take time for self-care and enjoy yourself.

The benefits of stress management are invaluable. Physical health improves, you have more energy and stamina, and emotions stabilize. Not only that, but your focus improves, self-esteem increases and you will have greater happiness overall.

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