All that we’ve read in the previous articles would only have benefited if we know how to put an end to it or how to prevent any form of stress. Well, guess what? We’ve covered that for you as well! Continue reading till the end of this article and you will get to know exactly that! Happy Reading!
Table of Contents
HOW TO PREVENT STRESS?
HOW MUCH STRESS IS TOO MUCH?
HOW TO TREAT STRESS?
HOW TO PREVENT STRESS?
There are so many ways one can prevent stress. Some of the ways are listed below, which, if followed religiously, can have a huge impact on the way you handle Stress:
Almost every health professional recommends you to follow to improve your lifestyle and keep you in a great state of health is exercise. Exercising to Prevent stress might seem contradictory because it requires you to put in extra stress (physical stress) on your body, but this helps your mental health in many ways and can relieve mental stress by a significant amount. Why does this happen?
Exercising lowers your stress hormone levels in your body. Cortisol is one such stress hormone. It is the primary stress hormone in your body, and regulating cortisol levels in your body the right way is the key to achieving good health. Exercising releases Endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that improve your mood. They also act as natural painkillers. This help reduces the stress levels in your body and keeps you positive and energetic throughout the day.
Exercise can also improve your quality of sleep.
Stress or anxiety can negatively affect your sleep cycle.
Insufficient sleep can also lead to stress.
Exercising regularly increases your confidence and promotes mental wellbeing as the individual more competent and content about their body.
Exercises need not always be the ones you do at the Gym or included heavy equipment. It can be as simple as taking a walk or hiking or Yoga. Activities that involve repetitive movements of the larger muscle group ps in our body, such as running or jogging, can particularly stress relieving.
Commercially, supplements that promote stress and anxiety reduction are available and can be considered safe for use. Some of the common supplements are:
1. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis):
A member of the Mint Family, Lemon Balm is known for its anti-anxiety effects and can be taken to reduce anxiety.
2. Omega-3- Fatty Acids:
Found in Fish oil, it reduces stress and anxiety by around 20%(based on a study conducted on medical students).
An Ayurvedic herb used to increase energy and also reduce stress levels. Consult a doctor before consuming Ashwagandha as it is found to affect Thyroid Levels.
Peppermint Tea (Mentha piperita):
Menthol present in peppermint is a natural muscle relaxant and helps in relaxing in cases of stress and anxiety. Low caffeine amounts in Peppermint Tea also makes it an ideal beverage to get rid of stress, as Caffeine can cause mild anxiety in some cases. Pregnant Women must avoid Peppermint Tea as it can cause Miscarriage.
Chamomile Tea (Matricaria recutita):
Just like Peppermint Tea, Chamomile tea has stress and anxiety-reducing effects and also helps in treating Insomnia. It also has muscle-relaxing effects and also reduces irritability.
Lemon Balm Tea (Melissa officinalis):
A calming herb belonging to the Mint Family helps reduce Cortisol (Primary Stress Hormone) levels in the body and relaxes the body without causing any feeling of drowsiness. It also improves your mood.
Passion Flower Tea (Passiflora incarnata):
Passionflower contains flavone Chrysin which has Anti-Anxiety Benefits. Passion Tea also helps in improving the quality of sleep. Generally considered safe to use, consult your General Practitioner before taking Passion Tea if you are under any medication. Passion Tea is not recommended for Pregnant and Lactating women and children under 6 months.
Green Tea (Camella sinensis):
This popular kind of tea is generally used to relieve stress and anxiety and to overall boost health. As it contains a lot of Caffeine and can cause certain side effects, it's recommended to consult your General Practitioner before consuming Green Tea for Stress and anxiety. Caffeine can make you more alert and increase energy and improves cognition. Green tea increases serotonin levels (Key hormone that stabilizes mood and feeling of wellbeing and happiness). Lack of Serotonin can cause Depression, Anxiety and Disturbed sleep cycles. Serotonin is the main ingredient in Anti-Depressants.
Rose Tea (Rosa centifolia):
Produces a calming sensation, Rose Tea improves the quality of sleep, ensuring peaceful sleep and also helps to Reduce Stress and Anxiety.
5. Valerian Root:
Best known for its Sedative and Tranquilising effects, Valerian root helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It produces Valeric Acid, which alters Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) to lower anxiety.
6. Kava Kava:
A Psychoactive member of the pepper family, Kava Kava is used as a sedative and decreases stress and anxiety levels. Some cases have reported liver damage and can sometimes make depression worse. Pregnant women should not use Kava Kava. Best to consult your General Practitioner before using this resource.
Using certain types of essential oils or burning a scented candle is known to reduce stress and anxiety. This is called Aromatherapy. These types of scents stimulate the smell receptors and send messages to your brain. Essential Oils must be diluted with a carrier oil before use on the skin to reduce the risk of irritation. Some of them are:
Aromatherapy is known to relieve anxiety and stress, however, and it does not mean it can be an alternative for seeing your General Practitioner. Normal stress or anxiety that occurs due to having a bad day or having an important deadline can be treated using these methods. However, if you start experiencing chronic stress that interferes with your daily activities, consulting a medical professional is the right thing to do.
4. REDUCE CAFFEINE INTAKE:
Caffeine is most commonly found in Coffee, Tea, Energy drinks or chocolate. It acts as a stimulant and can increase your anxiety when consumed in extremely high amounts.
The amount of Caffeine, each person is tolerant to varies from person to person. In moderate quantities, Caffeine can be healthy, but in excess, it can affect your health.
5. CHEWING GUM:
The easiest stress reliever probably in this entire list. Chewing gum is a source of quick stress relief. Chewing gum for certain periods causes brain waves to resonate like the ones in relaxed people. Chewing gum also promotes blood flow to the brain, which activates various centres in your brain.
Laughter can help relieve stress in many ways. It relieves tension by calming or relaxing your muscles and relieving stress responses. In the long term, laughter improves mood and also improves the immune system.
A study was conducted with people with cancer, and it arrived that a group that practised Laughter Therapy was more relieved of stress than the other cancer patients.
7. AVOID PROCRASTINATION:
Sorting out your priorities and getting things done at the right time is one way that can help relieve stress as it makes your mind calm and makes you feel good when you get your things done in time.
Procrastination can affect sleep cycles which in turn causes stress. So it is very important to address the issue before it starts ruining your mental health.
WAYS TO REDUCE PROCRASTINATION:
1. 5-Second Rule:
The 5-second rule, if followed religiously, can destroy procrastination and keep you on the top of your game. The moment you feel like you want to get something done, you have to act on it or start doing it within 5 seconds. Otherwise, your brain will tend to procrastinate later on if you simply just dwell on the thought of getting something done but not act on it. Getting started is the hardest thing to do, but once you start, things are smooth from then on.
2. The Redirect Technique:
Going too hard on yourself to get rid of procrastination is not good. Finding yourself blaming yourself for being lazy and not getting things done is counter-productive and decreases your efficiency of doing any work in the future.
A study that examined study habits in children said, "Forgiveness allows the individual to move past their maladaptive behaviour and focus on upcoming examinations without the burden of the past acts to hinder studying. "
Many great people have had their fair share of struggles of managing work ethics. However, that did not make them want to give up. You shouldn't let the fact that you don't want to do something make you feel guilty or bad about yourself.
During your procrastination, direct your mind to do something smaller rather than the actual work. For instance, if you have a whole article to type and write down, but you don't want to do it, at least start by collecting required data and keeping it handy, and when you feel motivated to do your article, you can get it done sooner as you already collected the information you need while you were procrastinating.
Exercises help reduce stress and anxiety, and Yoga is another form of exercise as well. Practising Yoga has one ultimate goal: to establish a connection with the body and mind. Yoga does this with the help of breathing coupled with physical exercises.
Some studies examined the impact Yoga had on mental health. Research has found that Yoga is as effective as an Anti-Depressant drug in enhancing your mood, treating depression and anxiety. In addition, it may help lower Cortisol Levels, Blood Pressure, and Heart Rate and increases GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), which is generally lowered during low moods.
9. SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY:
Social relationships are very important to maintain a work-life balance. When you feel low, the feeling of talking to a friend or a loved one is unparalleled, and it helps reduce your stress levels.
One study found that spending time with friends and family releases a hormone called Oxytocin which is a natural stress reliever, also called the Love Hormone (It is a hormone that plays a role in empathy, social relationships and sexual activity. It is also the very same hormone that is involved in childbirth and breastfeeding in women). This effect is known as 'Tend and Befriend' instead of 'fight or flight response' during stress. Again, this is observed mainly in women but bear in mind that both men and women are benefited from social relationships.
Bottom line: Having strong ties of friendship may help you get through stressful situations.
How grateful you are for things you have in life plays a very important role in your mental health. Gratitude helps relieve stress and anxiety by keeping you aware of all the good things that have happened to you. In addition, it helps generate a positive mindset that keeps you active and keeps stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts away.
HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS?
Coping with stress is more effective than taking medications because medications do not treat the person's mindset; they only treat the symptoms which are caused due to stress. Therefore, for a complete cure from any stress that a person is experiencing, it is very important to treat the person's mind and mental health and treat the stressful condition. Some ways to cope or manage stress are:
1. Keeping fit:
Exercising releases various hormones that improve your mood and allow your body to cope with the stress hormones, and reduce their mental health.
2.Reducing the intake of Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco:
These substances make your stress worse than it already is and almost plays no role in treating symptoms of stress.
During stress, your immunity levels will decrease. So it is very important to boost your immunity with the necessary nutrients that your body needs. A healthy balanced diet consisting of all the required proteins and nutrients will help in boosting your immunity and keeping you healthy. A poor diet can lead to further worsening of health conditions and increased stress reactions.
People tend to procrastinate over things that need to be done. When workload piles up, a person naturally experiences symptoms of stress. Therefore, it is very important to get your priorities sorted, get your things done at the right time and schedule your day in an organized manner to avoid any stress.
5. Calming your mind:
Meditation, massaging and Yoga can help in calming down your body and mind. In addition, deep breathing and relaxation techniques help slow down your heart rate and promote relaxation responses.
Being aware of the symptoms of stress and the effects is essential to get the right treatment done at the right time without allowing the symptoms to aggravate in your body and make your conditions worse.
7. Having a social life:
Talking to a friend or a family member about the stressful conditions that you are going through will help reduce your stress levels. Socializing with people will trigger the body to release hormones that uplift your mood and make you feel better and less stressed about the situations you are in. If you don't happen to have many friends, then making new friends and meeting new people is a very adventurous process, and you will learn so many things along the way, which will help boost your confidence. Something as simple as talking on the phone to your friend or laughing about a joke or an incident that happened many years ago will trigger the release of 'feel-good hormones in your body and instantly put you in good spirits.
8. Finding new hobbies:
Doing things that will distract you and calm your mind is very important. Hobbies are a very good way to keep your mind distracted. It is recommended that a person perform more of his hobbies to relax and cope with stressful situations under stressful conditions. Self-improvement is very motivating to oneself. It is important to work on yourself to improve your mental health and improve your abilities, keeping you engaged and distracted from the stress.
9. Get enough rest:
Some people tend to sleep or take a short when they are experiencing stress. Sleep improves emotional balance and reduces stress. Finding ways to get the best quality sleep during stress is essential as stress itself has a toll on your sleep cycles.
HOW MUCH STRESS IS TOO MUCH?
Stress can cause a variety of effects on your body and affect your body in a multitude of ways. Some people will be able to handle extreme levels of stress while other people might not. Stress is subjective to each person, and each person has their tolerance level to stress.
Certain factors influence a person's stress tolerance level.
1. Support Network:
If you have supportive friends and who will be there for you and who would look out for you when you need them, the level of stress doesn't seem to be too much as they will do all they can to make you feel better and keep you strong. But if you don't have enough people to count on and live an isolated kind of life, it's all on you, and you need to learn to manage stress on your own, which is kind of difficult but, at the same time, doable.
2. Your sense of control:
As a person and how you deal with situations contrary to how you thought things would turn out to be and how you decide to make a decision and move on with life affects your intensity of stress.
If you are the kind of person who is confident about themselves and stays strong through hard times, you are more likely to take proper control of your life and not succumb to stress. While if you're the kind of person who is not confident about themselves and is constantly in doubt about your abilities, stress is more likely to cause more damage to you.
3. Your ability to deal with certain emotions:
When you're feeling down or sad, the way you calm yourself and take control of your situation directly impacts your stress tolerance levels. If you manage to stay strong during difficult times instead of crumbling down and losing all hope, you will handle more stress and make you strong enough to deal with stress.
4. Knowledge and Awareness:
Being aware of the symptoms and different stresses and coping with them will save you from unnecessary panic and wrong judgments.
The way you look at life also affect what kind of toll stress can have on your mind. For example, an optimistic approach towards life makes you less vulnerable to stress and increases your ability to cope with stress. On the contrary, a person with a very pessimistic mindset will find themselves struggling to stay strong during hard times and come out of a stressful condition without inflicting much harm on their mental health because pessimism makes your stress levels worse than it already is.
It is very important to have the right mindset during bad times to tide over it without any problems; otherwise, it is very damaging to your mental health.
HOW TO TREAT STRESS?
When it comes to deciding a specific treatment for stress, there is no specific treatment as such. Treatment mainly consists of improving the way you handle the situation, practise relaxation techniques, learn to cope with stress, treating symptoms that come with stress, etc. Some commonly used ways to help treat stress are:
Various forms of therapy that may help treat symptoms of stress include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on eliminating negative thought patterns, and the other form is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which uses stress-relieving methods aimed at calming the body and mind by meditation, which reduces stress levels.
Medications are used mainly to treat or reduce the symptoms that stress causes. For Example, Anti-Depressants are prescribed to treat depression, Sleeping aids to help treat sleep disorders, etc.
3. Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
Methods like Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Yoga, Massage can be followed to reduce stress levels in your body.
The best ways to treat stress is to learn to cope with it because certain medications can have various side effects. Also, it will only help in masking the stress for a temporary time, and not help the person regain his mental strength and not completely heal the person from whatever is causing them stress/anxiety. But, if the person learns to stay strong and to cope with stress, then, in the future, when they unexpectedly have episodes of stress, they would be precautious and do what's best to restore their mental health most efficiently.
All said and done, should you feel like you have been having symptoms of stress for more than a week or a long time, make sure to pay a visit to your General Practitioner and start treatment right away before it gets any worse!