8 Stress Management Tips from MultiCare Physicians

Finding balance in life can be incredibly hard, and making time to prioritize one’s own health can be even harder, but it must be done or you run the risk of added and unnecessary stress, which can lead to health issues, including high blood pressure.

According to 2014 statistics from the American Psychology Institute, American Institute of Stress, 77% of people regularly experience stress related physical symptoms. Additionally, 48% of individuals say that stress negatively impacts their professional and personal life.

What is Stress? What Are Typical Symptoms of Stress?

Stress is how your body prepares to respond to certain stimuli, and is subjective in nature. Things that are stressful for you might not be a serious cause of concern for others.

There are several kinds of stress, and not all are bad. When you are under stress your body produces certain hormones and chemicals that cause your heart rate to increase. You then become more alert and equipped to face challenges, which can vary from meeting an impending deadline to saving your child from a house fire.

However, when you are constantly under a lot of stress it can seriously impact on your mental health, physical health, and behavior.

Three types of stress:

1- Acute Stress

2- Episodic Acute Stress

3- Chronic Stress

How Does Stress Affect Humans?

Impacts of stress on the body –Fatigue, headache, upset stomach, chest pain, muscle pain, sleep disorders, and decreased libido

Impacts of stress on the mood –Restlessness, depression, anxiety, inability to focus, irritation, and anger

Impacts of stress on the behavior –Tobacco use, eating more or less than usual, withdrawing socially, alcohol or drug abuse, and angry flare-ups

8 Effective Ways to Manage & Reduce Stress

  1. Regular Exercise– The single most effective thing that you can do to fight stress is to exercise regularly, which reduces the level of stress hormones in your body, namely cortisol, and stimulates the production and release of endorphins that helps alleviate your mood. While any activity like jogging, walking, swimming or dancing will do the trick, it is important to note that to be considered regular this exercise must be completed a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week.
  1. Eat a healthy diet – Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will keep your energy high and stress levels low. It is also important not to skip any meals, as one skipped meal can make the difference in how your body handles stress.
  2. Lower your caffeine intake – High amounts of caffeine in your body can increase your anxiety and stress levels. Tea, coffee, some energy drinks, and chocolates are known to contain caffeine, but if you are eating healthy you won’t need to look to these drinks and snacks for energy.
  3. Set realistic goals– We all want to succeed in life, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It is all about establishing realistic goals so that you are not setting yourself up for stress and disappointment. Learning how to take things step by step will help you manage your stress and set yourself up for success.
  4. Spend quality time with loved ones –It has been found that the more social connections you have, the less your chances of depression and anxiety. Inevitable you will find yourself in a stressful situation, and surrounding yourself with supportive people is important, as you can’t handle everything alone.
  5. Pursue hobbies – Take time to do what you love. Whether it is reading, golfing, art, or knitting, try spending 15 – 20 minutes every day on that activity to relax, decompress, and alleviate stress.
  6. Use relaxation techniques – When you are stressed your muscles become tense, breathing can become difficult, and many people also get headaches. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, message, stretching, meditation, yoga, and taking a hot shower or bath can alleviate those symptoms and better equip you to handle stress.
  7. Take life as it comes– Sometimes the only thing you can do is learn to take life one day at a time. It is easy to allow yourself to worry about what lies ahead, but relinquishing control and living in the moment can be a tremendous help. Don’t forget to laugh, too, because laughter is absolutely the best medicine.

If you’ve tried everything you can on your own to manage stress, it is time to contact Multicare Physicians so we can help you develop additional strategies to managing and overcoming stress. We’ll be there every step of the way.