Offering you advice and coping mechanisms
Stress. A word we throw about often. It can work wonders for those needing to hand in work to meet a deadline or carry a team through a game of competitive sport. But when not managed properly it can lead to overwhelm, burn-out and more seriously, be detrimental to our health.
In fact, it’s estimated that “75-90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments or complaints”!
So, how exactly can we manage it?
To manage it, we first need to understand it.
Stressful situations crop up in everyone’s lives, from job stresses to financial worry.
When they do, our body releases an influx of hormones including cortisol, which can induce several issues including fatigue, irritability, sexual dysfunction, and trouble sleeping.
Cortisol is also responsible for impulsive and unhealthy choices which could indirectly increase the risk of heart disease and insulin resistance overtime.
As most of us are flooded with responsibility, our systems are activated repeatedly for a prolonged amount of time, eventually making it harder to shut off.
This can lead to chronic stress which can induce further implications including the shrinking of the brain’s prefrontal cortex, responsible for the regulation of behaviours such as:
- Social interaction
Through the dampening of some immune cell functions over time, we can also be made more susceptible to infections and slow heal rates. Even more serious: problems like depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Whilst we can’t determine when stressful situations are going to happen, we do have control over how we deal with them when they do and even reverse negative effects.
Here is a list of just some coping strategies for stress:
- Keep active is one of the most effective ways to slow our response to stress. Regular aerobic exercise like walking or stretching can reduce stress and stimulate the body’s natural mood elevators!
- Use your senses – breathing exercises, listening to music or even hugging a pet can reduce stress levels. Try this when a stressful situation occurs to reduce your immediate reaction and bring your attention back to your body.
- Time manage – prioritising tasks helps us to manage commitments and target procrastination that can end up leading to stress.
- Get rest - sleep hygiene is fundamental when it comes to recovering, allowing our bodies processes to function normally and balancing hormones.
Slowly implement little things that you think are achievable for you and see how they have an impact.
Top tip: start journaling in order to help with prioritising tasks, processing emotion and clearing your mind - unleashing creativity for the day ahead!
Make a note of what works for you and if you’re feeling down, remember to try to process it and manage it in your own way to minimise its effects and prevent more serious problems.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with chronic stress and mental health, listen without judgement, find out what might help them and reassure them that there are resources available.
Sources: Stress - Every Mind Matters - NHS (www.nhs.uk) | How to manage and reduce stress | Mental Health Foundation | Chronic stress puts your health at risk - Mayo Clinic
Note to reader – this information is to be followed as advice to contribute toward and assist with a healthy lifestyle. Please do not be discouraged if any of the information mentioned does not work for you. Everyone is different and this is merely to accept as a guide which has impacted others.