How To Manage Stress In Daily Life – Put Stress In Its Place
Stress is all around us – at home – at work – even when you are at play! Let’s take a look at how to manage stress in daily life.
Whether you are at home or at work it is easy to feel the stress of circumstances all around you. This stress can be seen not only in the people that you work with but in the events that are taking place around you.
DID YOU KNOW THAT APRIL WAS STRESS AWARENESS MONTH – Yup and somehow I blinked and missed the memo… LOL
It is never too late to look at how stress affects us and those around us.
Stress is a funny thing. It can actually energize some people, and for others, it can leave you feeling exhausted, famished, depressed or feeling any number of other unpleasantries.
Just as those happy feelings can be contagious, stress can be contagious too. Not only does stress affect you but it can affect those around you! Those that support you, your family and friends, can be affected by your stress as well.
Think about a time that you felt the stress of a situation – perhaps you were in a store and there was a child who wanted that candy bar at the checkout. You know they put those tempting items there for a reason.
The child starts to cry and whine and yell that they want this candy bar and the parent refuses which then leads to a power struggle between child and parent. The child continues and ends up in a tantrum.
The parent gets frustrated and agitated which resulted in a yelling match between the child and the parent. The crying continues and continues and the situation escalates and gets louder and louder and is now definitely out of control.
Soon everyone in the store can hear the crying and arguing. By this time the child is feeling maximum stressed and he or she is letting the whole store know about it. The parent is now definitely very close to losing it. Now everyone around them is feeling the stress too!
We’ve all been there. Although we weren’t directly involved in the argument we definitely felt the stressful event!
So what’s a person to do? There is always going to be stress around us and we will ultimately be presented with various responses:
Fight or Flight
Let it go
Use it to our advantage…
DEFINITION OF STRESS – What is stress?
According to the American Psychological Association “stress is often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed, worried or run-down. Stress can affect people of all ages, genders and circumstances and can lead to both physical and psychological health issues.”
“By definition, stress is any uncomfortable ‘emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes’.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml
“Everyone feels stress from time to time” … Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor—such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events—can be stressful.”
The National Institute of Mental Health reminds us that stress can affect your health both negatively and positively. When dealing with stresses in our lives it is important to pay attention to “how you deal with” these minor or major stressful events.
Let’s look at how to manage stress in daily life and Put Stress In Its Place. Here are five things you should know about stress:
- # 1 EVERYONE EXPERIENCES STRESS
Each one of us will experience stress in different ways in our daily lives, Some of us just cope with this stress better than others or tend to recover from stressful events in a more quickly manner.
There are many different types of stressor and these can lead to various physical or mental health risks. Stressors might be a one time occurrence, or they may be something that keeps happening to you over a period of time.
Types of stress you may experience on a daily basis include:
- routine stresses of work, family, school and daily responsibilities
- life changes such as losing a job, divorce or diagnosis of an illness
- trauma events like a natural disaster, car accident, a death of a loved one
- # 2 STRESS CAN BE BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE
Some people find stress to be motivating. It can help them perform at their best. That little bit of stress might help you perform better on a test or a sporting event.
Stress may also be helpful in cases where you might be in danger. We have a “Flight or Fight” response that often kicks in when we are being threatened. This is a natural response preparing the body to face that dangerous threat and flee to safety if need be. This stress is a survival mode and can be useful depending on the circumstances.
- # 3 BRINGING STRESS HOME
Sometimes we bring stress home after a long day at work. This can result in you unloading your stressful day on your significant other, family member, friend, parent or loved one…
Bringing stress home can sometimes manifest itself in the poor treatment of those you love. This can and may cause a strain on your relationship. Sometimes even leading to damaging that relationship. More often than not communication will be impaired!
On a more positive note, sometimes talking about stress can be a particularly helpful way of relieving it. Venting can be therapeutic but we must not do it at the detriment of your listener.” Venting works as long as we don’t stress out our listener with our stressful situation!
- # 4 DO YOU HAVE AN EFFECTIVE COPING MECHANISM
How you let stress manifest not only affects you but those around you.
Are you one who has a tendency to shut people out when you are stressed? You will come home after a stressful day and hide or checkout on the sofa with Netflix and a bag of chips.
This is your way to not bother those around you with your stress so thus you hide from them and your stressful situation. You basically shut down or self-isolate yourself! If this is you, you might be causing your relationship to suffer as you are not allowing yourself to show vulnerability.
The other side of the coin is the person who tends to do the opposite. Instead of isolating yourself when you’re overwhelmed, you tend to unwind by going out each night – perhaps drinking or some other activity that keeps you from having to deal with your stress. This too can negatively impact you and your family, friends or significant other as they watch you spin out of control.
- # 5 EFFECTS OF LONG TERM STRESS
It is important to find ways to keep stress from becoming chronic. If stress goes on for too long, is constant or goes on after the threat of danger is alleviated then this can lead to health issues or problems.
Most people will feel the effects of chronic stress in different ways. You might feel the effects of stress as digestive issues, headaches, anger, sadness or it might manifest as sleep issues or some other health issue – like anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and more…
Many people who are under chronic stress are also more susceptible to colds, flu and viral type infections.
Before I continue with my article I want to make something very clear…
PLEASE NOTE: This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any illnesses. It is merely my thoughts from the information I have found in my research on stress. PLEASE follow the recommendations of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health)
seek help of a health professional if you’re overwhelmed by stress
seek help right away if you have suicidal thoughts, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope. Your doctor may be able to provide a recommendation.
You can find resources to help you find a mental health provider by visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Anyone experiencing severe or long-term, unrelenting stress can become overwhelmed. If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential.
Now let’s continue with how to manage stress in daily life and put stress in its place….
PRACTICAL WAYS TO HELP MANAGE YOUR DAILY STRESS
As you are now aware from reading my article, stress can build up in some people over time. How this stress affects you often depends not only on how you are seeing stress in your life, but also on how you create stress with your thoughts.
Tara Brach calls this False Evidence Appearing Real. F.E.A.R. If you would like to learn more about this you can read about it in my article The Key To Happiness.
Basically we all have a wonderful thing called an imagination. Through this imagination you can create a wonderful life. But sometimes we can let our thoughts get out of control and spiral. This can lead to worried thinking. Often this ‘worrying’ or thinking is about some event or issue that has not happened and probably will not happen.
So let’s take a look at what we can do that will put stress into perspective.
I have put together – just for you – 7 of My Best Tips For How to Manage Stress in Daily Life. These tips can help you reduce, prevent or cope with those pesky stresses in your life.
7 OF MY BEST TIPS TO MANAGE STRESS
1. Know the Signs of Stress: People experience stress differently. Know what the signs are for you. What body responses are you having in relation to your stress.
Are you having trouble sleeping, are you easily agitated, do you have low energy are you feeling depressed, are you eating more or less, using alcohol to suppress your feelings…
2. Know Your Limitations and Set Goals: One way to keep from getting overwhelmed is to decide what ‘must be get done’ and ‘what can wait’.
I’m sure you have heard this many times – you have to learn how to say ‘no’ if that one last thing is going to put you into overwhelm.
Try to remember to acknowledge what you have accomplished vs what still needs to be done at the end of your day! Hard to do, but well worth the effort!
3. Exercise: I’ve mentioned exercise before in my other articles. It is one of my first GO TO suggestions for many different health issues. It is noted in the research that just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and reduce stress. This 30 minutes does not have to be done all at once. You can break it down into 3 sets of 10 minutes of walking at a time.
Other exercises that you might like to try might include yoga, tai chi, biking, swimming, weight lifting, hiking, golf… or an thing that provides stress release for you. Each person is different and what works for one person may not work you.
4. Remember to Ask For Help: Look to your friends, coworkers, family members not only for emotional support but to do things with that can help alleviate stress. A night out at a movie or sporting event, a game of tennis, a walk in the park or river valley – you get the idea.
Stop and Breathe: When things seem to be piling up all around you – project is due now, boss wants something immediately; your house is a disaster and you have company coming in an hour; bills are piling up… Take a moment – Stop and Breathe – A couple of options you might try:
- Take a Deep breath count quickly 1,2,3,4,5; Let out your breath and count backwards 5,4,3,2,1 (Do this several times
- Close Your Eyes; take a deep breath in slowly, and think of a relaxing, calming place – it might be a beach, or a park or the mountains…, something peaceful and serene. Stay in this place for a few minutes.
- Try 4 Count Breathing – I talked about this in another article where you breathe in through your nose for 4 count; hold for 4 counts; and exhale through your mouth for 4 counts. You then repeat this 3 or more times until you start feeling calm.
My GoTo For Reducing Stress is a Combination of Mindfulness and Essential Oils:
5. MINDFULNESS Practicing mindfulness can benefit your health and wellness. Building mindfulness into your everyday activities and routines can be a great way to keep stress at bay.
What Is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is a state of focusing on the present moment in a nonjudgmental manner. Mindfulness techniques often include the following elements:
- Awareness – noticing what is happening in the present moment. This might be the sights, sounds, smells, or physical sensations all around you (these are often things you usually miss because you are too busy or stressed)
- Focus – Paying attention to the present moment, without thinking about past or future events.
- Observe and Accept – this is the ability to observe and accept your feelings or thinking, without judging them or trying to change them or your reactions to them.
*If you would like to learn more about mindfulness check out my article here.
6. ESSENTIAL OILS
What are Essential oils? Wikipedia defines essential oils as “a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile (easily evaporated at normal temperatures) chemical compounds from plants.”
Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy. It you are interested in learning more about essential oils check out my article here.
For those times you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or are finding it hard to cope then essential oils can help you find a balance. In my opinion their healing power is unstoppable.
Using essential oils in combination with mindfulness and your daily self-care routine may help boost your self-confidence, increase your productivity and focus, and may lower your stress levels.
Here is my Overwhelm – Reduce Stress Blend Recipe (I find it works effectively at reducing my stress in a matter of minutes)
Overwhelm – Reduce Stress Blend (Combine ingredients into a Rollerball)
8 drops Lavender
7 drops Cedarwood
5 drops Vetiver
4 drops Lemon
4 drops Ylang Ylang
Add the above essential oils to a 10ml rollerball. Top off with Jojoba Oil.
Roll the blend over your pulse points, temples, back of your neck or bottom of your feet.
You can also roll over the palm of your hand and then take 3 or more deep breaths (of you can just breathe over the open end of the roller bottle)
Breathing in these essential oils has been said to calm down the Amygdala area – your fight or flight center.
7. Herbs for Stress Relief:
I also want to add a quick note about using Herbs and reducing stress. I am presently in the process of learning more about herbs and their relationship to health. In my research I’ve come across a few herbs that can be considered useful in ‘putting stress in its place!’
Most of you have probably come across the quote “Nature itself is the best physician” – Hippocrates, father of western medicine.
I truly believe in using natural methods when it comes to my health issues.
Natural medicine acknowledges the benefits of herbs and food as medicine. Herbs can be thought of as “adaptogens.” that may have an impact on the stress response.
Some common herbs and what they claim to be good for:
- Herbs (adaptogens) for long-term or chronic stress: ashwagandha and Asian ginseng are thought to reduce long-term sources of stress and hormone imbalances. Some research has suggested that Holy Basil, and Tulsi, may also help lower your stress levels.
- Herbs (adaptogens) for acute stress: Some research suggests that Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola and Schisandra may help deal with your fight-or-flight stress response. Siberian ginseng is said to boost physical stamina and sexual health; Rhodiola is thought to improve energy, physical performance and memory; and Schisandra is thought to improve liver function and gastrointestinal problems.
It is important to note that I have found very little human research to back up these claims, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work – it just means more research needs to be done.
A Couple of Interesting Tidbits:
82% of the world uses herbs and other natural medicines FIRST before going to prescription drugs.
Many practitioners of this ancient knowledge were suppressed, persecuted and sometimes even killed for practicing their traditional healing arts (many of them women).
Herbs are another very powerful area to explore when it comes to our health, wellness and stress. Please check back soon, as I plan on adding more articles in this area. I do have an article on Revitalizing, Taking the Natural Path With Herbs and Flowers if you are interested in learning more here.
If you are interested in attending a Summit hosted by Nick Polizzi where you can learn more about herbs with me… I’m attending the Remedy Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness 9 Part Documentary series that starts June 4, 2019.
This summit is free and has many well-known names in the field presenting. This is a great opportunity to take a look at the powerful knowledge of herbs and what they can do for you. You can sign up here.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS…
Know When to Talk to Your Health Professional. If you have tried some of my 7 best tips on how to manage stress in daily life and you just aren’t feeling like you have your stress under control – take action and talk to your health care professional. They can often help you with your existing or new health problems.
I hope my article has given you some information and tips that you can use to reduce, prevent or cope with stresses in your life. Staying calm and stress free can help you remain healthy and happy in this stressful world.
I hope you see that how you think and deal with stress are equally as important. Living a ‘Stress-Free lifestyle ultimately begins with you!”
Do you have a special way to handle stress that I haven’t mentioned above and would like to share?
Please let me know in the comments below and don’t hesitate to ask any questions because I am always here to help.
Until next time,
P.S. Disclaimer: Information found on this site is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your healthcare provider.
This information should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.
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