Reducing stress is a very important phenomenon you must take as a responsibility. Stress is a feeling of physical or psychological aggravation, caused by situations perceived to be out of one’s control. Even though there is no way you will not be under stress one time or another, managing it well is crucial.
When we look around us today, we see lots of people trying to cope with stressed lives. Stress could come from the home, the workplace, school,and even unrealistic expectations from the society. Reducing stress is quite underrated, and this has caused lots of havoc in the lives of people.
We are mostly running the rat race so long, that we do not even know we are stressed out sometimes. This goes on until a physical or mental breakdown occurs.
If Stress is left to badger the body indiscriminately, physically or emotionally, it results in harmful effects on the person, some of which are below:
- Stress causes increase in cortisol hormone in the body. This could make the heart work faster, the blood vessels get narrower, hence, increasing a person’s blood pressure. A constant increase in blood pressure that remains sustained over a certain period of time results in Hypertension. Some people do not even know they have become hypertensive, until they go down with a heart attack.
- Same hormone can make you hungrier, eat and crave more sugary foods, consequently making you gain more weight. If you are thinking of losing weight, yet you are constantly stressed out, that extra weight would not come off.
- Stress can make you lose valuable time and resources when you eventually break down under stress related ailments. Examples are Hypertension, depression and anxiety disorders.
- People who are under too much stress indulge in harmful habits. They turn to drug addiction, alcohol and chain smoking. These could hurt their health in the long run
- Couples trying to conceive, and still under much physical and psychological stress would go through a very hard time in achieving the goal. Stress and fertility do not mix well
- Stress turns you into a huge ball of irritable and angry person. A stressed person will always feel like other people around them are also trying to contribute to their problems. They lash out easily and keep to themselves. Alas, nobody wants to be friends with such a person!
- Students who are stressed out realise too late how counterproductive stress is, after they fail their exams.
- Stress messes up a person’s normal sleep constitution. This is also caused by the cortisol hormone increase. A person who is stressed out is unable to sleep well. This results in unending bouts of fatigue and ineffectiveness.
Now that you know some of the ways Stress could adversely affect your life, let us take a look at ways that we can effectively manage and reduce stress.
How to be Effective in Reducing Stress
Manage your time well
One of the most important ways of effectively reducing stress, is proper time management. Plan your hours accordingly and be disciplined with how you manage the time planned. With that, there will be less backlog of work, and stress is reduced.
When you are busy with work and feel overwhelmed, pause for few minutes and engage in breathing exercises. You sit comfortably, then breathe in,and hold your breath for four to five counts. Afterwards, breathe out through the mouth and release your tensed up muscles. Repeat this multiple times until you feel better and more at rest.
We all know the saying,”procrastination is the thief of time”. In the same vein, procrastination is a huge stress contributor. Make sure your activities are done according to time, and do not pile them up.
When you eat a balanced diet at the right times, you will be strong enough to work and finish your tasks as at when due. But if you are filled with mostly junk foods, you will get tired quickly, and pile up work unnecessarily.
As soon as you realise stress is creeping in, get your calming music or podcast going,and watch how you relax and chase stress out of the way.
Yes! Physical touch like a hug from a loved one reduces stress. This is because feel good hormones are manufactured in the brain and flood the body when such physical touch occurs. So, go hug that love of your life now!
Being grateful for the various tiny sources of happiness around you is a means of reducing stress. When you feel stressed out, get your journal and write out things that you are grateful for. Your mind and body will thank you.
“No phone” periods
When you have a deadline to meet,put your phones away and concentrate on your work. This is very important in reducing stress. If you don’t do this, you will realise that you will spend majority of that time occupied with your phone. Then,your work continues to pile up and stress creeps in gradually.
Make sure you sleep at least seven to nine hours in a day. The more you get adequate sleep, the more you reduce stress.
Get a pet
Pets like cats are good for reducing stress. When you spend quality time with your pet, your mood elevates and stress levels are kept down. Go get yourself a pet to cuddle!
Do you know engaging in exercises can reduce stress levels? Exercise helps release endorphins from your brain. They calm your body and mind, hence, reducing stress. Exercise also takes your mind off stressors and makes you feel healthier and serene.
This beautiful way of reducing stress brings your mind back to tranquility. You are able to concentrate on the present, and discard unnecessary thoughts from your mind. This cleanses your mind, sharpens it,and helps to maintain your focus on your work easily afterwards.
Managing and reducing stress will produce more healthy and productive people. That is why it is necessary that as you try to reduce stress, you ensure that those around you also know what to do to achieve same. That way, our homes, workplaces and society can be havens of wellbeing.