How much stress do you deal with on a daily basis? According to the American Institute of Stress, roughly 80 percent of Americans claim they feel at least moderately stressed, while 25 percent claim they feel greatly stressed on a regular basis.
If you’re one of these people, you might be wondering how to manage stress as best you can before it impacts your health and well-being. Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can take right now to reduce your stress level and start feeling better. Learn more below!
1. Aches and Pains
Stress can cause your muscles to tense up — and over time, you might notice that your posture has become more hunched, and you’ve developed a shorter stride. In addition to physical pain, stress can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have the feeling that your chronic stress is taking a toll on your body or mental health, it’s time to start tackling the problem head-on. For starters, make an effort to schedule some downtime for yourself each day.
- Schedule at least 30 minutes of downtime for yourself every day: whether it be reading, listening to music, or meditating find something that brings you joy.
- Address what could be causing the root of your stressors: if they are things, you have control over then maybe see if there are any other options out there; if they are external factors beyond your control then talk to someone close about how these issues affect you.
2. Difficulty Sleeping
It’s important to identify the signs of stress and how it can affect you. Sleep is one of the first things to be affected by stress. High amounts of stress make it harder to fall asleep and cause fragmented sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, your mental health will suffer, which will make it even harder for you to handle your stress levels.
There are a few things that can help you manage this issue:
- Try not to watch television or use a computer right before bedtime as they can be too stimulating
- Go outside for a walk before bedtime – Get plenty of exercise throughout the day so you can have more energy at night-time
- Develop healthy habits like having a routine, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and following a sleep schedule (go to bed when it gets dark outside) – Find an outlet for your stress like yoga or meditation
3. Emotional Exhaustion
You may start to experience feelings of emotional exhaustion and drain when stress starts to build up as a result of difficult or unfavorable life situations that keep happening. Emotional fatigue is what this is. Most people’s emotional weariness tends to gradually worsen over time.
- When you feel emotionally exhausted, take some time for yourself by going for a walk, listening to music, spending quality time with friends, or reading a book.
- Rest your mind and body by taking naps, meditating, going for massages, and engaging in physical activities such as swimming or exercising.
Migraines and headaches of the tension type are frequently brought on by stress. Other sorts of headaches may also be brought on by it or made worse by it. Children and young people are more likely than adults to experience headaches when under stress. The best way to manage stress is by implementing healthy habits and getting enough sleep.
- It’s important not to skip meals, eat healthy foods, or not to consume too much caffeine.
- Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can be helpful for relieving stress as well.
- Physical activity is an easy way to relieve stress and get some exercise in, but make sure that you don’t overdo it.
5. Lack of Concentration
If you find your thoughts going off track, and you can’t concentrate, stress may be the culprit. Stress symptoms like persistent fear and excessive worry can distract you from the present. If these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, it’s time to take action. Consider how you might approach the problem from different angles. For example:
- Set aside time for relaxation (e.g., start a yoga practice)
- Engage in meditation or deep breathing exercises regularly
- Seek therapy to see if there are any psychological or neurological issues at play that are causing your stress
6. Loss of Appetite or Overeating
Stress can temporarily suppress appetite. The adrenal glands, which are located above the kidneys, receive signals from the neurological system to secrete the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline). The fight-or-flight response, a heightened physiological state that temporarily suppresses appetite, is aided by epinephrine. If you are feeling stressed and notice that you have lost your appetite, try drinking a few glasses of water or eating something healthy.
It may take time for your appetite to return. If you are still experiencing symptoms of stress, ask for help from a mental health professional or reach out to your friends and family for support. Learn how to manage the stress in your life by developing healthy coping mechanisms.
If you are feeling moody, and can’t pinpoint a reason why then that could be a sign of chronic stress. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on health and leave you feeling depressed, angry, or both. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to manage your stress before it gets worse:
- Get Enough Sleep – Lack of sleep can cause the body’s internal clock to go haywire which throws off your hormones and increases cortisol levels.
- Eat Well – Eating well will help keep your blood sugar levels stable which will in turn keep your mood stable.
- Exercise Regularly – Exercise releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers, reduce anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem, and improve quality of life.
8. Worrying Too Much
If you find yourself worrying too much, or experiencing constant stress and worry, then there’s an issue that needs attention. It can cause your body into flight or fight mode. In order to manage this type of stress you need to first understand what is causing the stress in the first place. To help with this problem, keep up with your physical health. Exercise has been shown in numerous studies as one of the best ways to deal with stress, depression, and other issues that come from chronic stress.
It releases endorphins which are chemicals in our brain associated with feelings of pleasure and happiness! A better diet is another good way to combat these types of problems. The lack of sleep caused by long hours spent worrying about work will only exacerbate any potential depression or anxiety problems you might have had prior to starting a new job.
9. Tense Muscles
When under stress, the body contracts its muscles. For example, if you have a stressful day at work and then go home to an angry spouse, your body will tense up more in the car than usual. The next day, your muscles are likely to be stiffer because of stress. This is a physical reaction that happens when the brain perceives a threat, and the body prepares for action by tensing up.
If you are feeling stressed, there are things you can do to manage the situation before it gets worse. Exercise is one of them; studies show that exercise helps reduce levels of stress hormones in the body and increases mood-boosting chemicals like serotonin.