So You’re Showing Signs of Stress: Time for Stress Management & Anxiety Reduction

April 2, 2010

Signs of Stress vary from person to person; identifying them is the key to stress management & anxiety reduction. Stress can upset your mental well being and physical health, but there are ways to deal with both the emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Stress is not always a bad thing, it’s designed to keep you from being gobbled up by that predatory beast (the modern workload) and when you’re aware of it, of your personal signs of stress and their causes, you can channel it to work for you. Stress can push you through the finish of a big project or an unwelcome confrontation, but when it invades your life, and becomes chronic, it can start to have more severe effects on your health.

The solution is to turn off your body’s response to stress, that is, realize that you’re feeling it, and then guide it to an end. When your body begins to stress out, it focuses all of your energy on your heart and muscles, slowing down your metabolism, your immune system, and other functions that become secondary. Meanwhile, your brain calculates the risk, it weighs your past experiences and accumulated knowledge. This is when you need to pause, take control, and evaluate a solution. If you can decide that your stressor is not worth the trouble you are giving it, or you can set down a path to follow to solve your problems, you can get your brain to stop treating the situation as stressful.

Studies have shown that the people who can most easily follow this advice do one or more of the following:

  • They socialize and have a strong support system. We’re programmed to trust the group, but one sign of stress is feeling unsocial and isolating yourself. Instead, try talking through your problem with a close friend. If you haven’t been able to draw a solution for yourself, this might help you find one.
  • Eat right. According to studies, people who make poor nutritional choices have more trouble with stress management. Diet becomes more important when you face stress because your body slows down your digestive system. So even when busy it’s important to take breaks and eat a nutritional meal. If you struggle in getting your daily assortment of nutrients, try a daily supplement.
  • Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect your ability to react to and cope with stress. If staying asleep 8 hours is hard for you, consider an all natural solution to helping your brain through it’s nightly restorative functions, such as a vitamin supplement specially formulated for night time.
  • Limit drug, tobacco, and alcohol consumption, which can effect your ability to react to stress. Further, some drugs enhance your sensitivity to stress, so be careful.
  • People who meditate are not only better able to deal with stress but have better blood pressure and heart rates. Try spending 5 minutes a day sitting quietly. Thoughts about stressors in your life may come up, just make a point of not pursuing them. Try extending that 5 minutes into 10, then 15, and so forth.
  • Studies show that people who exercise have less stress, probably because getting your body moving is a great way to channel any excess stress and adrenaline you may have coursing through you. Since we often face non-physically threatening stress, the literal need for fight-or-flight can be a little overwhelming if you’re sitting in one spot all day. So try walking to lunch from work, taking the stairs, and taking frequent breaks that require moving your body, even if it’s just a quick stretch or a bathroom trip.

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