Healthy Techniques To Cope With Stress: A Helpful Guide

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Stress is a natural part of our life. If we can feel happiness, then we can feel stressed.

So it seems like there is just no escaping the stress in our lives, and the pandemic has made the situation so much worse, now that we are no longer living within our comfort zones and have to re-shuffle our life styles. 

We all face continuous stressors due to finances, health, work, and relationships, among many other factors.

However, that doesn’t mean that we should just give in to it and let it rule our life.

There are healthy techniques to cope with stress, and this is what we’ll share with you today

So one of the essential things we need to do is learn to manage this stress in a healthy way, so it benefits our life for our day to day events. 

1. What is stress?

Defining what stress is will give you a better insight into how to refine any techniques that we will share with you later on so you can adapt them to your personality.

Basically stress is the response our body has to internal and external pressures. 

It is an experience that involves physical, emotional, and psychological elements. 

An article published by the National Institute of Mental Health defines what stress is so succinctly.

To quote them “stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand.” 

We can consider stress a normal response to situations that are overwhelming or require our full alertness. 

This means that any activity requiring a certain amount of effort and discomfort can cause, from small work struggles to more serious relationship issues.

Stress can be associated with thoughts (e.g., “This is too much”), emotions (anxiety, irritability, anger, etc.), and physical responses (headaches, muscular tension, etc.) 

2. The Detrimental Effects of Too Much Stress

In little doses, stress is useful. 

A short burst can get us to focus on something that matters or motivates us to try harder. 

We can react to stress in different ways. Sometimes, it can cause an emotional disturbance in the form of frustration or helplessness and disbelief or shock, depending on the event’s severity.

However, if stress continues or becomes too intense, it can wear down our bodies and become a contributor to many physical and mental diseases. Depression, anxiety, cardiovascular conditions, and more are impacted by our levels of stress.

It doesn’t matter whether you have high self-discipline or confidence. 

We all have our own vulnerabilities that stress can exploit.

Prolonged exposure to an incredibly stressful situation can also wear one down in the long run.

Stress can also activate the nervous system’s fight or flight response.

This is the human body’s natural defense mechanism that usually kicks in when exposed to life-threatening events. 

It triggers our body to release two survival hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.

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It raises our blood pressure, digs into energy reserves, and empowers the body to either fight or flight

Let’s face it, too much stress can also make it harder to sleep, which has a negative impact on our overall health and well-being. 

It encourages bad habits, like smoking, drinking, overeating, and more. 

It can harm our relationships, because we feel on edge and irritable. 

It can bring down our productivity, creativity, and happiness.  

Too much stress is bad for us, and the negative effects are well-documented.

According to a review published in EXCLI Journal Experimental and Clinical Sciences, here are just some of the major health effects of being constantly exposed to stressful conditions:

First, it can be very exhausting for the body and can potentially cause health issues and second, it can consume the energy reserves that we need to survive an actual life-and-death situation.

3. What Are Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress?

The question now is, what are healthy techniques to cope with stress? 

While some people believe that facing the stressors head-on is the best solution.

We understand, though, that it might not be the ideal step for everyone. 

The good news is that we can reduce the impact of stress by managing it in healthy ways.  

By learning to recognize and then be able to lower the stress we feel day to day, it is possible for us to cut down the negative effects it can have.

We all have and use different coping strategies. 

Some of them might work well, and others less. 

For example, many people find that alcohol relieves stress, however, in the long-term, it is a harmful strategy and unfortunately a big contributor to addiction. 

Many relieve stress by eating, especially comfort foods, but that can have bad effects on their health or make them feel guilty, thus adding to the existing stress. 

Healthy ways of coping are those that do not have harmful short-term or long-term side effects, those that help relieve stress successfully, and those that have additional benefits. 

Here are a few examples of negative ways in which we might deal with stress:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Taking it out on someone else
  • Eating sweets or junk food in excess
  • Mindless entertainment 
 
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Here are some healthier and more positive options:

  • Taking a warm bath
  • Sleeping
  • Exercising
  • Meditation and breathing techniques
  • Techniques for relaxing
  • Mindfulness 
  • Writing
  • Art
  • Journaling 
  • Reading
4. What Are the Top 5 Ways to Reduce Stress Fast?

Sometimes, we can’t always soak in a bath or read a relaxing book. 

We need to keep going with our busy lives and be able to relax quickly. 

So, what are the top techniques for reducing stress right away?

a)     Breathing Techniques

Taking control of your breathing or doing a quick exercise is a fast and easy way to calm down. When you breathe deeply, slowly, and with awareness, you signal to your brain and body that the danger has passed.  

You can do mindful breathing, box breathing, or any other approach – they all work well to help you reduce stress right away. Simple deep breaths can be pretty effective on their own. (Why You Need A Guide To Conscious Breathing)

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b)     Writing it down 

The second strategy is to take a few moments and write down everything that is bothering you. 

With freestyle writing, you won’t have to worry about grammar or spelling  – you just have to get it all out there on the page. 

If you need a few prompts to help you along, you might try using a journal with prompts inside, like this one. 

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Let That Sh*t Go: A Journal for Leaving Your Bullsh*t Behind and Creating a Happy Life (Zen as F*ck Journals)

It is a good strategy if your stress is coming from “inside the house- YOU that is”, from all the anxious thoughts that you keep spinning around and around, I’m sure you know what I mean?

Once all of your emotions and thoughts are written down, they actually become much easier to let go, believe it or not. 

Writing down whatever you are not saying can be cathartic.

 

c)     Yawn 

A yawn, surprisingly, can be quick and help reduce stress. According to neuroscience it brings your tension down and is an effective technique that only takes a moment. Unless of course you are facing your boss, but hopefully you shouldn’t get into trouble for yawning, right?

d)     Smile 

Smiling while stressed can feel strange, but it can also push us to relax a little. 

It’s a good idea to keep that smile on for a few minutes and we will feel ourselves becoming less stressed. 

You know the old saying “fake it till you make it” the feeling that you are going to feel a lot better shortly.

e)     Watch something funny 

A quick laugh can reduce the stress we feel. Watch a skit, a sketch, a joke, or an animal video. It’s a great way to relieve stress and feel more relaxed in a short while. 

All these solutions are simple and easy techniques for dealing with stress in the moment. However, to get rid of a stressor, we might also need to work with the root cause.

 
5. How To Create a Less Stressful Environment
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A good idea, in the long run, is to create a less stressful environment for yourself. There are many things you can do, for example, use calming colors like green and blue and place plants around the house. (7 Ways To Use Color Therapy)

Reduce the distractions and the clutter to feel more at ease – too many things in one place can make it harder to calm down. A stress-free environment might not make room for your gadgets or, at least, have alternatives to them. 

Place things that relax you, comfort you, make you feel safe and be able to calm down.

Investing in a relaxing and calm environment is definitely worth it, and you will be able to relax around your favorite things that make you feel soothed and happy. 

Depending on what you like, you can place candles, books, preferred aromas, music, cushions, and anything that helps you feel good. 

Don’t overburden your space, however, but if you can have an area for relaxing, it can be great asset in your life. (Self-Care Integrating Zen Wellness)

Small changes around the house, like plants, good ventilation, good illumination, and more can make your whole home feel like a stress-free zone.

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579396/

Disclaimer
Our web pages and blog posts provide general information for general purposes only and not to be used for any medical, legal or alternative health advice for any type of physical, mental health or financial concerns.
Always speak to your practitioner before embarking on any new alternative treatments. If you have concerns about any medical matters, you should always consult your healthcare provider without delay.
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