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How To Cope with Stress

How To Cope with Stress

How To Cope with Stress

Too much stress can be bad for you. It can affect both your physical and mental health. Sudden or ongoing stress activates your nervous system and floods your bloodstream with adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones that raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and spike blood sugar. These changes pitch your body into a fight or flight response. That enabled our ancestors to outrun tigers, and it is helpful today for situations like dodging a car accident. But most modern chronic stressors, such as finances or a challenging relationship, keep your body in that heightened state, which hurts your health. It is key to recognize stressful situations as they occur because it allows you to focus on managing how you react. It is therefore helpful to be aware of a wide range of tools and techniques for managing stress, and below, we have shared ways on how to cope with stress.

Prioritize Self-care

Prioritizing self-care is what allows you to live your life smoothly and effectively, and bring your best to whatever priorities and challenges come your way. People should be as disciplined about self-care as they are about work. If you give your all for your work, you should keep that same level of commitment to yourself, too. That means honouring time for the things that help bring you joy and relaxation like yoga, therapy, taking a walk, and having coffee with friends. This will not take away from your productivity but it will increase it. Take time to connect with yourself and pay attention to what you need. Start small by making small promises to yourself like: I will take 5 minutes every morning to meditate, or I will take a 15-minute walk during my lunch break every day.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You do not have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. Most at times stress does not take place in the present moment. Stress happens after your mind is worried about the future or about something that already happened. When you are feeling stressed, stop, take a deep breath, and exhale, then identify 4 or more things you can see wherever you are: a picture on the wall, a beautiful tree outside, et cetera. Then identify four sounds: birds, the air conditioning, music, car noise. Then you move on to become aware of three different textures in your surroundings: the smoothness of your computer, the ridges in the steering wheel, the prickliness of the succulent on your desk. Now, take in two smells around you, the lingering scent of a candle, someone grilling outside. Lastly, taste one thing even if it’s just swallowing a sip of water. This mindfulness awareness not only stops the whirling of the mind, but slows the heart rate, and relaxes the nervous system.

Take Deep Breathes

The power of deep breathing can be very great at coping with stress. The exercise is simply to identify the in-breath as the in-breath and the out-breath as the out-breath. When you breathe in, you know that this is your in-breath. When you breathe out, you are mindful that this is your out-breath. When you do that, the mental discourse will stop. You do not think anymore. You do not have to make an effort to stop your thinking; you bring your attention to your in-breath and the mental discourse just stops. That is the miracle of the practice. You do not think of the past anymore. You do not think of the future. You do not think of your projects, because you are focusing your attention, your mindfulness, on your breath.

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Sometimes the best way to get stress out of the body it to move through exercise. When your body is stressed, it gets into flight-or-flight mode, and you can move those stress chemicals out by going for a run, putting on music to dance, and doing something physical.

Spend Time in Nature

Nature has a magical way of healing. Time spent in nature can lead to a range of benefits, from lower stress hormones and heart rate variability to higher self-esteem. Going outside barefoot, laying in the grass is grounding, and can calm you down you feel amped up.

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