Updated: Jul 19, 2020
We’ve all experienced stress. It is defined as a perception of psychological pressure as well as the body’s response to it. These responses can include reactions such an increased heart rate or blood pressure, fear, decreased sleep, emotional eating, memory loss, and depression. The truth of the matter is that life will always include some level of stress. However, it is important to identify stressors and learn strategies to manage them in healthy and life affirming ways.
10 signs of excessive stress 1. Fatigue or extreme tiredness 2. Changes in mood and/or sex drive 3. Insomnia 4. Headaches 5. Excessive alcohol or drug use 6. Over or under eating 7. Muscle pain or body aches 8. Poor focus or motivation 9. Anger outbursts 10. Social withdrawal
So, you may be saying “Okay, Dr. Ayanna that describes me, but can I do about it?” Well, here are 5 ways you can help to manage your stress starting today:
Take a walk. Aim to walk 30 minutes per day to take advantage of the cardiovascular benefits of exercise but if you only have 5 to 10 minutes, do that. Exercise is one of my “go-to” ways of managing my daily stressors and walking is FREE!
Take a breath. Meditation has been shown to be a helpful addition to your wellness regimen to reduce anxiety, depression and pain.
Write it down. Though it appears that there are a number of reasons why expressive writing helps with stress management, some studies show that writing your thoughts may help people to cope with a stressful event or experience. I personally love hand written letters and cards to connect with those I love AND get a few things off my chest.☺
Do what you love! This is pretty simple. If you have a hobby that you truly love, but you do not do because life has gotten in the way, consider finding time to start again. Doing things about which we feel truly passionate is good medicine for the soul!
Ask for help. Asking for help when you need it is not only healthy, but it is smart. No one has all of the answers, but seeking out the counsel or assistance of someone you trust (i.e., therapist, minister, doctor, or trusted loved one) may help you to gain the perspective you need to change the circumstances which are increasing your level of stress.
What’s the take home point: We can’t make stress completely disappear from our lives, but we can control how we deal with it. I challenge you to create a solution for yourself that will empower you to live a healthy and balanced life! Until next time, BE WELL!