When you are dealing with stress, it can be easy to let the symptoms overwhelm you and disrupt your daily routine. It’s important not to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms and prioritise healthier habits to reduce stress.

This article will give you effective stress management strategies to help you gain control and maintain balance in your life. By nurturing these habits, you can better navigate the challenges that come your way.

What is stress?

Stress is an emotion that everyone feels at times. It can come at any point in your life but is most common when dealing with change or life challenges, such as money worries, issues at work, or relationship problems. It is caused by the body releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which may cause physical symptoms.

Common Symptoms of Stress

Stress can cause a range of symptoms affecting your physical, mental, and behavioural well-being. It’s important to be aware of these signs, which may include: 

  1. Physical symptoms: Headaches, muscle tension, stomach issues, chest pain, increased heartbeat, and sexual problems.
  2. Mental symptoms: Difficulty concentrating, struggling to make decisions, feeling overwhelmed, constantly worrying, and being forgetful.
  3. Changes in behaviour: Being irritable, sleeping too much/too little, eating too much/too little, increased frequency of drinking and smoking.

Identify your triggers

Stress is often related to feeling out of control over a situation, but at times, there can be no obvious cause. Whether it’s driven by work, relationships, or unexpected events, stress can impact both our physical and mental wellbeing. Understanding your triggers allows you to begin dealing with stress more effectively.

Managing Stress

Once you’ve pinpointed how stress impacts your emotions, thoughts, and actions, you should consider strategies for either preventing or alleviating the symptoms. Here are a few different strategies you can try whilst dealing with stress:

Be active

Although exercising won’t  eliminate stress long-term, it can be a short-term distraction that reduces the high emotions that you are feeling. This can allow you to have a clearer, more rational thought process to  better deal with your problems.

Avoiding unhealthy habits

Try not to rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. These can lead to poorer mental health and enhance the symptoms of stress long term. It’s best to tackle the cause of your stress than to numb it.

Positivity can go a long way

Practice gratitude and look for the positives in your life rather than solely focussing on the bad. Try writing down at least three things that have gone well for you, or that you are grateful at the end of each day. This small act can significantly change your outcome of your day long term.

Time to talk

Sharing the load with others and having open discussions about your symptoms of stress can be useful in managing it effectively. Engaging in conversations with friends, family, and colleagues is a valuable tool in reducing the stress you may encounter. By seeking support from those around you can lighten the burden and cultivate a sense of resilience in facing challenges.

You can also talk to a healthcare professional if symptoms are becoming too overwhelming in your day-to-day life.

Importance of stress relief

Taking regular breaks when you’re feeling stressed can help you to manage stressful situations. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll, a heart-to-heart chat with a friend, or a brief ten-minute mindfulness session, prioritising these activities can effectively lower your stress levels. It’s important to incorporate these moments of self-care into your routine to promote calmness in your life.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not substitute the medical advice from a healthcare professional.