Our body is an intelligent machine, designed to speak to us. Our feelings, sensations and emotions are the body’s way of sending a message. But what happens when we ignore these signals and fail to pay attention?
An estimated 77% of American adults reported to have experienced stress in 2017 according to The American Institute of Stress.
In addition, The American Institute of Stress provides the following definitions for various types of emotional strain:
Acute Stress: Fight or flight. The body prepares to defend itself. It takes about 90 minutes for the metabolism to return to normal when the response is over.
Chronic Stress: The cost of daily living: bills, kids, jobs…This is the stress we tend to ignore or push down. Left uncontrolled this stress affects your health- your body and your immune system.
Eustress: Stress in daily life that has positive connotations such as:
Marriage, Promotion, Baby, Winning Money, New Friends, Graduation, ect.
Distress: Stress in daily life that has negative connotations such as:
Divorce, Punishment, Injury, Negative feelings, Financial Problems
and Work Difficulties, among others.
In order to combat these feelings, we wanted to provide you with simple techniques that can be implemented in your daily life to help you cope with the feelings of mental and physical exhaustion.
Here are five healthy techniques according to the American Psychological Association that have shown to help reduce stress in the short- and long-term.
Take a break from the stressor. It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby or a growing credit card bill. But when you give yourself permission to step away from it, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed. It’s important to not avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), but even just 20-minutes to take care of yourself is helpful.
Exercise. The research keeps growing — exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long-term benefits of a regular exercise routine. But even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
Smile and laugh. Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
Get social support. Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you. If your family is a stressor, for example, it may not alleviate your stress if you share your works woes with one of them.
Meditate. Meditation and mindful prayer help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress. Much like exercise, research has shown that even meditating briefly can reap immediate benefits.
Let us know in the comments what are other ways that you deal with stress.