Do you feel a constant sense of stress? Are you overwhelmed by everything that’s on your plate? Do you wish you could experience relief from the pit in your stomach?
As a society, we experience far more stress than our bodies are designed to handle. Unfortunately, we don’t always deal with this stress in the healthiest of manners. Learning how to do so could mean the difference between chronic anxiety and a life well lived.
4 of the Healthiest Ways to Tackle Stress
“While some stress is totally natural, chronic stress is not. Not only is it unpleasant to constantly feel stressed out, but it’s also unhealthy,” explains Green Residential, a Houston property management company that works closely with landlords to make their lives easier and more efficient. “Chronic stress can lead to depression, physical pain, sleep issues, autoimmune diseases, digestive problems, skin conditions, heart disease, weight problems, reproductive issues, and cognitive deficiencies.”
You may be tempted to handle stress with alcohol, tobacco, food, or mindless Netflix binge watching, but these aren’t necessarily your best options. They may provide some temporary relief, but they’ll actually make the underlying issues worse in the long run. Instead, try healthy options like these:
- Eliminate the Stressor
People often complain that they’re stressed out, yet have a hard time pinpointing the exact cause of their stress. This is highly problematic, since the only way to effectively deal with stress is by tackling it at the root.
Sit down and make a list of the top three to five things that cause you the most stress in your life. For most people, this includes things like: work/career, money, health problems, and relationships. With these underlying factors identified, you can then work towards removing them from your life or confronting them head-on.
- Practice Self-Care
Many people who are stressed out find that they don’t take care of themselves nearly enough. They spend so much time dealing with the friction in their lives that they fail to unwind.
It’s important to practice regular self-care. This looks different for everyone, but includes things like going for a walk, getting a massage, spending some time reading, meeting a friend for coffee, playing a favorite sport, or listening to music. Brief periods of self-care will do wonders for your stress.
- Find Support
Trying to battle stress alone is like attempting to ride a tandem bike without a partner. You might be able to balance everything for a little while, but you’re eventually going to fall down. Avoid the temptation to isolate yourself in the middle of chronic stress. Instead, surround yourself with supportive friends and family.
- Get Physical
Your mind and body share a connection that’s deeper than most people realize. When you’re emotionally stressed, your muscles and joints tighten up, your blood vessels constrict, and your body feels a significant increase in tension. It also works the other way. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that make your mind feel good.
“While just about any form of physical activity can help burn away tension and stress, rhythmic activities are especially effective,” HelpGuide.org explains. “Good choices include walking, running, swimming, dancing, cycling, tai chi, and aerobics. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy so you’re more likely to stick with it.”
Make Smart Choices
It’s relatively easy to mask stress, but it’s important that you get to the root of the problem and deal with it in a way that prioritizes both your short-term sanity and long-term health. Start with some of the ideas mentioned in this article and see if they allow you to gain any ground in your battle against stress. If nothing else, it’ll show you that there are other options out there.