How to Deal with Stress More Efficiently

Stress is extremely common in today’s high-pressured society, and is a contributory factor in depression. Here’s the reason why. Adrenaline is the hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in response to stress. We need this hormone for the ‘fight or flight’ survival mechanism, which gives us a boost of energy to save ourselves from danger, but these days it is much more often secreted in response to unwelcome everyday anxiety from the stress of modern life. When it is present in our bodies in high levels over long periods of time, it damages our body systems.

We don’t always realise it, but many of us have become used to living with stress. All stress isn’t bad; we need a chal­lenge, we need the stimulus of trying new things and pushing ourselves to achieve difficult goals, but we don’t need unwel­come stress, the sort that, for instance, the electronic age has brought. Mobile phones, computers, faxes and e-mails are excellent technological advances, and we wouldn’t be without them, but they have their downside too. For instance, you can’t have a quiet moment anywhere, even with your friends and family, and guarantee you won’t be interrupted by the screech of someone’s mobile. We have learned to expect instant communication. ‘Where were you? I couldn’t get hold of you,’ we are often told if we go ‘off-line’. But for many people, never being off-line is very stressful.

Stress More Efficiently

Then there is the speed at which we live – always on the run, never even stopping to eat a proper meal – and the noise from overcrowded cities, piped music, traffic, car and house alarms. Or the image stress of being thin enough, or having a wrinkle-free face and firm breasts – many women have Botox treatment rather than lunch these days.

Every generation has its stresses, but we seem to have more than most in our hi-tech age. We can’t easily change our envir­onment, but we can learn to deal with stress more efficiently, to avoid too much damaging adrenaline pumping around our body. Here are some tips to prevent the stress factor:

  • Be realistic about what you can comfortably achieve in a day. Don’t over-stretch yourself, and learn to say ‘no’.
  • Be organised; a lot of stress is caused by forgetting things, losing things, being late, missing deadlines and so on.
  • Have proper meals. Gobbling a breakfast bar on the bus is not breakfast. Eating in front of the computer is not a lunch break.
  • Drink lots of water. This helps wash toxins from your system.
  • Have time to yourself when you can wind down and do what you want to do, whatever that is. Exercise. This is vital because aerobic exercise helps to burn off stress hormones. You should exercise a little every day, even if it is just walking briskly for fifteen minutes, which also has the advantage of getting you out into the fresh air and daylight. A calming, non-aerobic exercise, such as yoga, is also beneficial for letting go of tensions and relaxing the mind.
  • Meditate. Many people are nervous of meditation, thinking it is only for the spiritually enlightened. But it does not have to be difficult. There are many different meditation techniques which can help to calm the mind and give you a perspective on your life. Meditation requires practice, and it is helpful to get guidance from an expert at first, but it is worth the effort.
  • Breathe properly. Most of us use only the top triangle of our lungs. This means we get inadequate oxygen to the brain, and this prevents us metabolising unwanted stress hormones. Full diaphragmatic breathing calms you down. So take a deep breath!
  • Sleep well. Stress hormones can stop us sleeping, and the subsequent tiredness only stresses us more. So we need to learn sleep techniques that give us adequate rest. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol, coffee and tea, or heavy meals late at night, make sure your bedroom is airy and comfort­able, wind down before bedtime and create a routine for yourself so your body is ready for sleep.

  • Have a massage. Manual massage of the body tissues helps eliminate toxins, including stress hormones, and is fantas­tically calming. Try to budget for a monthly massage, or more often if you can afford it.
  • Try to change any elements of your life that make you unhappy. This may sound glib, but many of us just accept that we hate our job or are unhappy in our relationship without even trying to do something about it. Change may not be easy, but if it is for the better it will reduce your stress in the long term.
  • Have some fun! Do things you enjoy, be it abseiling or having a drink with friends. Find time to let your hair down.

By reducing the stress in your life, you will give your essen­tial fatty acids a better chance of reaching their desired goal in supporting your brain and body tissues.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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