How Do You Deal with Stress Every Day?
Millions of people deal with stress every day whether they’re worried about a family member, a deadline, a health concern, or something else. Coping with everyday stress is difficult, but important to our overall health. Increased levels of stress can lead to chronic inflammation in the body and a greater risk of chronic disease.
Stress may seem unavoidable for those who live busy lives, but these easy steps for managing everyday stressors can help you achieve a clearer, healthier mind and body. Check out the following eight tips on how to reduce stress in daily life.
Is it Normal to Feel Stressed Every Day?
Yes, being stressed every day is normal but that doesn’t make it healthy. Some people are more vulnerable to stress than others due to their living situation, level of support, work-life balance, personality type, and other factors. Certain professionals like healthcare workers or law enforcement have greater social responsibilities that can induce stress both at work and at home.
Because so many factors can influence how vulnerable we are to becoming stressed, experiencing it every day rather than just on occasion is common. Chronic stress can also be a symptom or catalyst to depression and anxiety, the two most common mental health disorders.
How to Reduce Daily Stress
While the following steps to reducing daily stress are not solutions for anxiety or depression, they can help you learn how to cope with everyday stress and lead to a healthier thought process the next time you start to feel overwhelmed. Consider incorporating these eight stress-reducing activities into your routine.
1. Go for a Walk Outdoors
One of the easiest ways to tackle stress is being active. Just stretching your muscles alone helps reduce built-up tension and feels good. Exercise reduces stress by regulating our flight or fight response. It increases the level of antioxidants in the body and encourages the brain to release endorphins, the feel-good chemical that makes us feel better about ourselves and lifts our mood.
Starting a fitness routine and doing gentle exercises like going for a walk has a grounding effect, clearing our heads, calming the mind, and letting our body return to normal. If you have arthritis, you might want to talk to your doctor about trying a different type of aerobic exercise like swimming to help you clear your mind.
Being active outdoors is an even better way to boost your mood and fight stress. The fresh air is good for our lungs and our brains whether you’re going for a hike or just walking around a local park on your lunch break. If your stress is causing inflammation in your back, knees, hips, or feet, consider wearing orthotics for walking to relieve pain and support better posture.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Unhealthy eating habits are common among people with chronic stress. Many individuals try to remedy their stress by choosing convenient, processed foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats. Some people overeat, called stress eating, while others eat less to cope with their anxious thoughts.
Overly processed foods lack the nutrients we need to regulate stress naturally. Though it may be hard to change your eating habits, it is extremely beneficial for your health. Instead, opt for whole foods that reduce stress, like those high in Omega 3s, magnesium, and Vitamin B. This includes:
- Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and other leafy greens
- Fresh fruits including berries, bananas, and citrus fruits
- Beans, nuts, and seeds
- Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout
- Dark chocolate, which is high in magnesium
3. Get Enough Sleep
The best and easiest way to achieve daily stress relief to by working it into what we do every day, which should be sleep. We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is important for both physical and mental health, but it also plays a key role in reducing stress levels.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies don’t have sufficient time to recover from the day’s stresses, leading to increased fatigue and anxiety. Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep each night so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
A relaxing cup of chamomile tea might help your body relax before bed. You might also consider using essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or bergamot as part of an aromatherapy routine to calm your mind for a more peaceful night’s sleep.
4. Read a Book
Chances are, you spend a good chunk of your free time scrolling through social media or being on your phone. One of the leading causes of chronic stress is phone addiction. Whether you’re comparing yourself to old peers or worried about missing out, it’s not healthy and excessive screen time can cause a myriad of health problems.
Instead, do your brain a favor and get off the screen by jumping into a book. You can even try listening to an audiobook or using an e-reader specially designed to be easy on your eyes. Reading gives your brain a cognitive boost and you can learn new ideas from your favorite topics.
5. Pay Attention to Your Body
Stress is hard to ignore, and you shouldn’t try to. Stress is your body’s natural fight or flight response. When your body senses a threat, it releases stress hormones like cortisol. Your heart rate and blood pressure rise, your breathing becomes heavier, and your muscles tighten.
This biological response is not meant to be permanent, so when your stress becomes constant, it can harm the body and lead to either a breakdown or burnout as well as chronic inflammation. Chronic stress could be a sign that you should see a doctor about your mental or physical health.
Always listen to your body. Minor arches and pains from stress can make it more difficult to cope with what’s causing your stress in the first place. Doctor Hoy’s Natural Pain Relief Roll-On Gel is an easy to use topical that helps ease pain and inflammation from headaches, backaches, and muscle strains due to stress.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that brings your mind and body into the present moment. Rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, being mindful of the present breaks the cycle of stressful thinking and forces you to focus on what’s happening right now.
A good introduction to being more mindful is meditation. Sitting outside or in a dark, quiet room and closing your eyes while allowing your mind to rest for several minutes helps decrease anxiety and stress. Emptying your mind gives your brain a break as you focus instead on your five senses.
7. Write It Out
Journaling about what bothers you and how it makes you feel can help you become more aware of your stressors and how to resolve them. Along with spilling out all your negative thoughts, be sure to focus on the positive ones. Write about what you’re grateful for and what’s going well in your life. Much of our stress is a result of how much time we spend on our bad thoughts, so focus on the positive instead.
8. Find Support with Family & Friends
Support through challenging times helps us manage our stress and feel less alone. Your family and close friends are fantastic outlets for discussing your anxieties or just spending time together. Even your pet makes a good companion for cuddling and playing. You might also consider joining a social support group such as a recreational activity, book club, or volunteering for a cause.
When you feel like your stress is no longer something you can control, reach out for help. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be struggling with increased anxiety or depression. Close friends and family can help shed light on certain subjects and even lessen the burden of an overwhelming to do list by taking on some chores for you.
Daily Stress Meets Everyday Relief
Coping with everyday stress is an ongoing process rather than a one-time thing. Small changes add up over time. With consistent self-care for your body and mind including regular exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and paying closer attention to your body’s signals, you will soon find yourself feeling calmer and better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way.
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