Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life.
Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. You can protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
|Stress Warning Signs and Symptoms
- Memory problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Seeing only the negative
- Anxious or racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
- Irritability or short temper
- Agitation, inability to relax
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Sense of loneliness and isolation
- Depression or general unhappiness
- Aches and pains
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sex drive
- Frequent colds
- Eating more or less
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Isolating yourself from others
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)
Keep in mind that the signs and symptoms of stress can also be caused by other psychological or medical problems. If you’re experiencing any of the warning signs of stress, it’s important to see a doctor for a full evaluation. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are stress-related.
Don’t let stress hijack your life!
1) Take a 10 min walk
A quiet, relaxing stroll can do wonders to your body and mind, preferably in a park or an open green space, which can put your body into a state of harmony.
2) Listen to music
This is no brainer, the way music affects your mind is incomparable. Put on any music you LOVE and you will see how it takes your mind off the stress. It fills your brain with feel-good neurochemicals (like dopamine). From slowing your heart rate to lowering blood pressure and even triggering biochemical stress reducers, music is one soothing way to cut stress. And as they say – music is a drug, so why not!
3) Breathe in DEEP and breathe out stress
It’s a well known fact that the breath holds an important place in our bodily health. So it comes as no surprise that breathing exercises can help you relax and nourish the body. You may not take this seriously but even just a few deep breaths can help you reduce tension and relieve stress.
4) Take a snack break
Treat yourself to something sweet- a candy or chocolate or a drink. It will soothe your senses resulting in the secretion of a stress hormone called glucocorticoid. But just don’t over-do it else you will end up with another stress-causing factor – WEIGHT GAIN!
5) Take a nap
Napping has been found to help stressed-out people relieve their anxiety and lower blood pressure. Research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a nap. JUST a nap. So take out 20 min from your lunch break and pack in that “power nap” for a stress-free you.
6) Chew a gum
Sure chewing gum freshens up your breath, but did you know studies have suggested that the act of chewing gum reduces stress and anxiety by reducing the cortisol levels.
7) Vent it out – in written words
Writing has a meditative and reflective effect on your mind. When you write down your thoughts on a piece of paper you are able to reflect upon it, introspect and put things in perspective.
However confusing it may seem, it is said that visualizing a calm, beautiful and peaceful scene can help you reduce the stress level and ease anxiety.
This is good news for all the fitness lovers. Exercising during stress, even for few minutes, releases a rush of endorphins, which keeps the pain of stress in check.
10) Sip a cup of tea
One study found that drinking black tea lowers stress levels and induces relaxation.
11) Hug and kiss a loved one
It’s a proven fact! Skin-to-skin contact – either kissing, hugging or even just a touch – releases chemicals that are responsible for lowering stress levels and reducing blood pressure in adults. So why not kiss goodbye to stress and hug a happy and healthy mind.
12) Have a good hearty laugh
Do ANYTHING that can make you laugh out loud! Anything, like a viral video, call a funny friend, watch a good comedy. A good laugh is a lighter relaxation technique. “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
13) Buy a potted plant or two
Apart from being beautiful air purifiers, plants can actually help you calm down and boost your mood. Researchers found that the presence of potted plants are linked with reduction in feelings of anxiety, fatigue and stress.