How to Cope with Stress
Are you so overwhelmed with daily responsibilities that you feel you just can’t keep up?
While many in our society wear the “I’m More Stressed Than You” badge of honor, being overly stressed really isn’t something to brag about. In fact, too much stress can be detrimental to your brain and overall health. So, in order to live a more stress-free life each day, you must learn how to cope with stress the right way.
6 Things You Can Do to Reduce Stress
Use the following S-T-R-E-S-S acrostic to help reduce the stress in your life. Try these 6 strategies today to help you manage and cope with stress in a more positive way. Each of these strategies has been proven to reduce stress and promote relaxation in stressful situations.
S – Social Connection
By building and maintaining good, healthy, helpful relationships, you can feel understood and cared for. When you care for and attend to others, it allows you to get outside of yourself and you often find your perceptions are transformed. This leads to discovering new ideas about how to solve your own problems. Furthermore, when you care for others and feel cared for, your brain releases oxytocin, the “bonding” hormone, which can counteract many of the negative effects of stress.
Also, never underestimate the power of being around the right people! The health habits of the people you spend time with have a dramatic impact on your own health and habits. So surround yourself with people who are happy, upbeat, and kind.
T – Therapy/Meditation
At the heart of many types of therapy is learning about ANTs – which stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts—the cynical, gloomy and complaining thoughts that come into your mind automatically. Think of these negative thoughts like ANTs at a picnic that infest your mind and spirit and ruin your day. Learning how to kill the ANTs and develop an internal ANTeater is incredibly effective at reducing the stress and anxiety in your life. Therapy can also help you clear up past traumas that might trigger you and cause more stress in your life.
Meditation is a wonderful way to soothe your mind and help you create a state of deep relaxation. Interestingly enough, meditating actually stimulates the brain; increasing blood flow to the areas responsible for attention and forethought, while calming down the areas that perceive pain. And you can receive the positive benefits of meditating in just minutes per day.
R – Relaxation Techniques
By using relaxation techniques, you will gain better control over the stress and anxiety that is ruining your health and happiness.
Deep breathing is one such relaxation technique and a very effective method for overcoming stress; one that can be done anywhere, anytime! When you take shallow breaths, it reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain cells, reducing overall brain function. As you inhale, let your belly expand. When you exhale, pull your belly in to push the air out of your lungs. This allows you to expel more air, which in turn, encourages you to inhale more deeply. So we challenge you to try taking deep breaths and let your mind and body start to relax.
E – Exercise
Exercise will help you manage stress by immediately lowering stress hormones and helping you become more resistant to stress over time. Raising your heart rate through exercise also makes you better handle stress because it raises beta-endorphins, the brain’s own natural morphine! Consistent exercise will prepare you for the obstacles you may face like being in stressful situations. Exercise also helps you maintain a strong mind and body can help equip you to handle possible crises in your future.
S – Sleep
Sleep deprivation is hazardous to your health! Skimping on sleep can affect your health in more ways than you might imagine and definitely makes you more susceptible to stress. If you aren’t getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, you’re setting yourself up for a host of physical and mental issues. When you fall behind on sleep, blood flow to your brain decreases and you are much more likely to make poor decisions. Be sure that your sleep hygiene is sound by turning off electronics at least one hour before bedtime, avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol later in the day, avoid naps, keep your bedroom dark and cool, and avoid exercising vigorously late in the evening.
Natural relaxation substances can be incredibly effective in reducing stress. Drink some spearmint or chamomile teas. Put dried lavender in a vase near your bed. Use calming essential oil aromas such as clary sage, bergamot, or ylang-ylang. Or try BrainMD’s Everyday Stress Relief, which helps replenish your brain and body’s nutrients that can be depleted during times of increased stress. It includes herbal extracts clinically proven to have calming and anti-stress effects, helping to ease anxiousness without causing sleepiness. This formula helps you cope with apprehension, tension, worry, and fatigue.
This safe, non-sedating, and non-habit-forming formula combines the multiple beneficial actions of these well-studied herbs and nutrients to help your brain and body cope with stress on multiple levels.
“This is what I take when I’m stressed,” says Dr. Daniel Amen. “And it works.”
You have a choice about how you respond to the stress in your life!