Stress is something that everyone experiences at one time or another, and while the severity depends on current life circumstances, the way you handle it can also have a large impact on the end result. Some stress is good, some not so good, but one thing that links them is how the body reacts to it. When stress is introduced, whether it is emotional or physical, the body will initiate the fight-or-flight response. At this point, it begins to reduce nonessential processes in order to ensure efficient and effective reactions. While this enables you to deal with the stressful situation when you need to, it can also have some long-lasting effects on your overall health.
While it would be nice to be able to take time off in order to deal with the stresses of daily life, for most people that just isn’t an option. Thankfully for those who are not able to reduce their daily responsibilities, there are a few simple, effective ways to relieve or reduce stress for a short amount of time to allow the body a chance to recover from the surge of hormones and activity.
1. Schedule Downtime
Instead of waiting for stress to hit, consider being proactive and scheduling yourself a certain amount of time each day, whether it be ten minutes or two hours, in which you can pursue an activity that helps you to recalibrate your mind and body. For some people, getting up a little earlier than normal for some personal time can be just what they need in order to deal with the day ahead, while others would benefit more from a break part-way through the day. For those with limited time availability, perhaps it might even be possible to keep a book close at hand or downloaded on a mobile device that can be enjoyed a little bit at a time over coffee or lunch breaks.
2. Deal With One Thing at a Time
Most of the time there is no warning when additional stress hits. In times like these, it can seem impossible to deal with the situation in a calm, rational manner. If this happens, consider taking a few minutes to write down the issue in detail. By giving action to the problem, even in this small way, the mind is able to increase its focus on a single incident, rather than feeling like it’s being bombarded by one thing after another. If there are several issues that need to be dealt with at once, consider making a list and using it to decide which is the most important to tackle first. The confidence you gain by having reasonable expectations of yourself can go a long way in reducing stress.
3. Stay Active
When stress is especially high or constant, the body can release a considerable amount of hormones to help combat the stress. Sometimes, however, the action required in a stressful situation may not be physical at all, leaving you feeling ill when your body cannot release or use up the additional hormones. Physical activity can help by burning it off through exertion. This is not to say you have to run ten miles, but a walk in your favorite park or a stop off at the local gym could be just the ticket to help your body balance itself out while allowing you some additional downtime.
For many people, avoiding stress is not an option, so it’s important to find ways in order to alleviate stress whenever possible. Whether it is done beforehand to give you better tools with which to cope, during to enhance performance, or afterward to ease it back down to an acceptable level, it is necessary to be willing to do what is needed to ensure you can continue to operate competently and efficiently on a regular basis.