The term “stress” is derived from the Latin word stringere, which can be translated as, ‘to draw tight’. Stress is a state of increased tension that is created as a person struggles to respond to the demands of their work, family, obligations, and self-criticism. Stress can accumulate until a crisis point is reached, at which point, both physical and psychological symptoms may be evident within an individual suffering from the illness. Stress can take over your life. It can be all consuming, and learning to notice the signs and de-stress yourself accordingly is essential to managing the condition.
Here are eight steps that may help you get control of stress, before it takes control of you:
Maintain a Healthy Diet
You might think that eating a takeaway or consuming alcohol is reducing your stress, but research has shown that eating or drinking unhealthily can actually add to stress levels; a healthy diet gives your body all the good stuff it needs to stay well.
Stop Smoking or Other Addictive Habits
Not only is smoking bad for your health, nicotine also acts as a stimulant and can bring about more stress symptoms. Drop the habit; beat the addiction, and you’ll notice a difference.
Whether you choose to head off to a gym at somewhere like GymNation, or simply practice aerobic or other exercise in the comfort of your own home, there’s no denying it can help with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Aerobic exercise has been shown to release endorphins in the brain; these endorphins help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude.
Non-competitive exercise also reduces excess tension in the body, and enables you to unwind.
Reduce Stressors (things that cause you stress)
Placing too many demands upon yourself is a sure-fire way to increase your stress levels. Step back, take a look at the demands and daily pressures you face, and see if you can remove any. Try to improve your time-management skills as well, for this will allow you more time to do the things you need to do.
Set Realistic Goals
Everyone has goals and expectations, but understanding that each will take time to accomplish, and that and you may not be 100% successful at everything, will help you to keep perspective and not become agitated or disheartened.
It may sound daft, but many of us aren’t as good at relaxing as we think. Slouching in front a television may feel like relaxation, but there are far better ways to ease your stress. Take some time to control your breathing in a quiet room, perhaps with a gentle music accompaniment. You’ll soon see that you feel physically and mentally revitalised after a brief period of deep relaxation.
Attend a Meditation
Spending time away from the pressures and demands of everyday life is often the perfect medicine for overcoming stress. Pack your bags for a few days and unwind in a carefree, supportive environment; these sanctuaries are purposely designed to encourage relaxation and stress relief.
Learn to Say No
Although many of the pressures we face stem from the self-imposed demands we place upon ourselves, often it is our inability to say no to others that can cause our stress levels to increase. It is easy to find yourself overwhelmed with an impossible schedule or unfair demands; be assertive, stand up for yourself, and you’ll instantly start to feel more positive and in control.
Each of these eight methods devised to reduce stress are suggestions only; often stress levels are so great that regular stress-reducing techniques will be ineffective. If you feel you are struggling with stress, try and confide in someone close to you, or better yet, seek the help of a professional.
*Photos by Ketut Subiyanto