How to deal with stress is something that has plagued most people’s lives for years. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of those surveyed in 2018 have felt stressed and unable to cope. And I can imagine that those numbers will only continue to rise. In fact, they most certainly are based on this research.
Not that I’m being pessimistic about the situation. But to deal with stress, you need to do more than follow a few pieces of advice here and there. You need to do more than “not feel stressed” or “not let stress get to you.”
What you need to do, is consider some of the following activities. And these activities make a lot of sense once you understand stress more.
Recognize Stress Is An Inside Job
Over the years I’ve been writing on self-improvement, one thing I’ve come to learn is this:
The obvious is obvious to some, but not all.
We’ve heard pieces of advice before but never bothered to employ them. Even the most simple of techniques we sometimes avoid. That much is true when we have to deal with stress.
After all, stress is primarily an inside job. How you experience stress is from outside forces that are affecting your own mindset. They’re also affecting your own way of life. WebMD points out we have emotional and physical symptoms when stressed:
Headaches. Insomnia.Low self-esteem. Avoiding other people.
These are all things that are impacting you specifically and that you can fix yourself. Sometimes it’s following the other points I mention below. However, in some cases, it might just be you working to find happiness. There are plenty of suggestions as this list suggests.
Deal With Stress By Handling Stressful Situations
One other method that I find helpful to deal with stress is to take more control over your life. What I mean by that is looking at your stressors, and finding a way to work with them.
In so many cases, I find that stress is self-inducing. And though it’s very powerful in the moment, there are ways that you can manage that. For example, so many pill commercials work because what they cure is something that provides a lot of stress to people.
People with mobility issues or issues with getting enough energy to go about their day.
Most people want a quick solution and it can go down to having a pill like that. Now we know there are issues with that of course, but what I’m getting at is there are alternatives.
Instead of a pill, try light exercises to build strength. Low on energy? Look at your diet and eat better foods.
Another stressor is money as well and for that, I’d consider taking a look at this guide. This can help those in debt manage their finances better.
Avoid Unhealthy Stimulants
Stimulants like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol boost our heart rate and stimulate our brains in a bad way. Even in the cases of alcohol where drinking a lot is a depressant, smaller quantities won’t help.
Avoiding these stimulants does make a lot of sense when you think about it. When our body feels like it’s threatened, we create a stress response. Another term is “fight-or-flight”. In that state, our heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure increases along with tightening our muscles. It makes sense having stimulates that are known to boost heart rate or affect blood pressure more won’t help us.
Instead, you want to look for other drinks that can help you. Diluted natural fruit juices or herbal teas can help significantly. And if you’re not the type to drink that, you can always drink more water. After all, most people are dehydrated and don’t even know it.
On that note, reducing your intake of refined sugars will also help with stress levels as well. Sugar is another addictive stimulant that has a negative impact on our mental state as well.
Make A Routine Of Exercise
Another thing people have is a sedentary lifestyle. Most of us are at desk jobs all day and spend our free time sitting around as well. While having a sedentary lifestyle isn’t exactly stressful, it can be a byproduct to being stressed out. Why? Well, physical activity is one solid way to deal with stress.
Going back to our fight-or-flight responses, we enter this state when we feel threatened. But these days, most of us aren’t in any real danger. As a result, the hormones that are pumped into our body from that response linger in our body. This is where physical activity comes in as it’s a means of removing those hormones from our system.
Even in cases where you’re not particularly stressed out, exercising can help. I’ve been going for long walks every day now as ways of organizing my life and adding structure to it. I know for myself I need that structure, especially since I’m an entrepreneur.
This structure is a way of getting back into control over your own life. This is key since when we think of dealing with stress, some think it’s outside of our control. It’s not. Again, stress is all in our heads and we have the tools to get out of it.
Deal With Stress By Resting More
Another example of us being in control of our stress is this piece of advice. While extreme cases of stress do lead to insomnia as WebMD suggests, think about why stress does that. In most cases, people can’t rest because their head is clouded with all kinds of thoughts and problems.
People feel more stressed these days because they are constantly thinking. Money issues. Life situations. Problems at home or with family. The list of issues goes on and on.
That’s not to say that these issues aren’t important, but, when it’s time to rest, you want to leave those things behind.
So how do you deal with that? Simple. You make rituals.
Make a habit of putting your mind into a state of relaxation before bed. Things like meditation, taking a bath and reducing blue light exposure before bed can help. Even listening to calming music can help.
The whole idea is to be able to get the proper amount of sleep. Sleep provides a lengthy list of benefits. It’s to the point that if you don’t get much sleep, you’re at risk of dying from higher blood pressures or other health problems.
Another option to consider is trying other sleep techniques. Consider this military technique where you can fall asleep in under 2 minutes.
Use Stress To Your Advantage
Another aspect of stress to note is that despite the techniques here, we will never remove stress entirely. And while that may sound like a bad thing, that’s not the case. A lot of us believe that stress is all bad. But it’s not as this article suggests.
Stress can be used as a means of motivation and working under pressure. It can even help us in putting on a better performance. The difference between those able to do this and those who crumble is how they use stress.
A lot of the suggestions I made above are ways for us to use stress to our advantage. Some other aspects to consider are:
- Think about how you view the world. Perhaps your own attitude and reaction to problems is creating undue stress.
- Consider your network. Do you have people you can offload your stress onto by talking things out?
- Are you someone who is so precise in their thinking you don’t consider other options? Being inflexible can be stressful when dealing with problems.
By making changes to how we see our stressors and use them in different ways, we can turn stress into fuel. We can propel ourselves forward with our stress when we work on developing ourselves.
Deal With Stress
To deal with stress, we need to be creative in our own ways. Sometimes it’s having more control over our lives and our actions. In other cases, it’s finding creative ways of dealing with our problems. Regardless, there are always lessons to be learned from these scenarios. These keep us going and pursuing our journey.
So if you are feeling stressed, it might be a sign to look at yourself and what you’re doing. Make some adjustments and experiment, never give up on your pursuit. You got this!
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon