Stress has always been universal. Everyone experiences it almost every day since we encounter stressors almost always in our day-to-day lives. It’s a normal reaction to the challenges we face in our relationships, transitions, work, and finances, to name a few. But did you know that stress is not necessarily a completely bad thing?
That’s right, stress can be positive!
“Stress” and “positive” — not the two words you’d expect to find in a sentence. And yet, it’s true. Some people may view mental stress as something that they need to eliminate. However, it can have positive effects. For one, it keeps you alert and allows you to perform well in particular situations.
The key is to limit the duration to only a short period. When the stress you experience drags out for a long time, that’s when it becomes unhealthy because it will take its toll on your physical and mental health. If stress is severe and prolonged, it can have an impact on your brain functions, immune system, cardiovascular system, and endocrine system. It can also cause gastrointestinal complications.
That’s why managing daily stress is vital for us to live healthier and fuller lives. Recognizing the causes of our stress and examining our lifestyle will show us where to focus on coming up with long-term solutions. We mustn’t let stress get the better of us, and learning ways to cope with it healthily is paramount.
How do we manage stress?
To manage stress, we must first know how to identify it and how it creeps up on us individually. Although it happens to everyone, the way we experience it may vary. You may experience headaches or insomnia. Some people may be short-tempered and angry when under stress.
Proven stress management techniques advise us to first understand our known stressors. That way, we know to avoid getting dragged into them. If you find yourself in situations that cause a tremendous amount of stress, it’s best to find healthy ways to deal with them.
Managing stress the unhealthy way
When we find ourselves overwhelmed, it’s tempting to control our stress by going through the unhealthy route. Sometimes we indulge in comfort eating, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, sleeping too much, staying awake for more extended periods, and smoking.
We go down the unhealthy route since it’s easier to do, and it provides an instant escape from our stress and anxiety. However, it has a negative toll on our bodies in the long run. That’s why it’s more beneficial to do it the right and healthy way from the get-go.
What are some ways to relieve mental stress?
It may come as no surprise since exercise has almost always been suggested to combat stress. Doing exercise releases endorphins. These endorphins are chemicals that your body releases that trigger a positive feeling in your body. Exercise can also be a release for frustration and pent-up energy.
2. Maintain a healthy diet
In managing daily stress, cut out processed and sugary food in your diet and opt for vegetables, fruits, unprocessed grains, fish, seafood, and lean meat. What you eat can affect your mood. Serotonin is a chemical that regulates your mood, and 95% of it is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. So our gastrointestinal tract doesn’t just digest what we eat; it also has a part in our emotions.
3. Get enough sleep
It’s a common struggle for stressed individuals to get enough sleep. Deep, restful sleep will help re-energize your body so you’ll wake up with energy and help you think clearly. You can combat mental stress by checking what needs to be changed or improved in your environment to help you sleep better and quicker. Be open to making some changes in your lifestyle so you can doze off every night quickly.
4. Avoid known stressors
Identify your stressors and try to avoid them or, if possible, remove yourself from them altogether. Any situation that makes you feel as if you are under overwhelming pressure can be a significant contributor to stress in your life. If you’re having a hard time identifying your sources of stress, try writing them down and take note of how each of them makes you feel. Avoiding what stresses you is one of the best stress management techniques.
5. Change your perspective
Changing your perspective by having a more positive outlook in life, especially in confronting challenges, will help you manage stress. A positive outlook in life will help you let go of things you’re stressing over but cannot control. Meditation and yoga can help you focus on the present, so the overwhelming and fast-paced thoughts that contribute to your stress can be contained.
What are ways to cope with stress?
One way of coping with stress is to reach out to others when you find it challenging to deal with it on your own. Talking about it with a trusted friend will help you rationalize what you are thinking and help you see things differently.
If you’re not comfortable talking about it with your family or friends, you can also choose to talk with a professional. In some cases where a traumatic accident happens, and the trauma is the source of the stress, some professionals offer Critical Incident Stress Management. It’s sometimes called psychological first aid since it’s a form of intervention for those who recently experienced something traumatic.
How can a person be happy in life without stress?
Living a life without stress may be the ultimate dream, but we all know that that’s not possible. Adopting a mindset that positively views and accepts challenges as a part of life is probably one way to live a happy life without stress. It’s best to remember that stress is a natural reaction to challenging situations. The solution is not to allow ourselves to be consumed by stress and anxiety for a long time.
Going easy on ourselves, accepting the things we can’t change, and learning more ways to relax may not eliminate stress, but they are some of the ways to help you start in the direction of a happier life.
Wrapping things up
If the stress and anxiety in your life are too overwhelming and you’d like to talk to a professional, our doors at Recovery BLVD Treatment Center are open for you. You can come to our treatment center at 1316 SE 12th Avenue Portland, OR 97214. Or call us at 503-897-1916 to get started.