Once you learn to recognize the signs of stress, for your own well-being and that of your loved ones, family members, co-workers and friends, it’s imperative that you find ways to manage stress before it spirals out of control and causes serious health problems.
Everyone is different, and so are the ways they choose to manage their stress. Here are some healthy techniques that psychological research has shown to help reduce stress in the short- and long-term.
1. Make time for yourself
Good self-care when you’re stressed is important to overcoming stress. If you have a hobby, set aside time to devote to it. This can be any activity that you enjoy, including gardening, cooking, decorating, reading, listening to music or watching movies….. Even a brief time doing what you enjoy can dramatically reduce stress.
2. Engage in physical activity
Exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. Even a 20-minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
3. Get sleep
By ensuring you get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly, you can minimise the caustic effects of stress. Remember that the body heals during restful sleep and this is especially important when you are stressed and sleep-deprived
4. Reduce caffeine and alcohol
When you feel stressed, instead of opting for a caffeine-rich drink or a glass of wine, experts say it’s best to drink water. Caffeine and alcohol are known to cause an uptick in anxiety and may even trigger panic attacks in some stressed-out individuals. Research found that using alcohol to reduce stress may instead make the stress worse and prolong recovery from what caused the stress to begin with.
5. Just breathe
A quick and effortless way to reduce stress is to take a few deep breaths. Slowly breathe in and out whenever you feel stressed to experience almost immediate relief. Research has found that deep breathing, yoga, tai chi and other relaxation techniques can reduce stress and enhance well-being.
6. Get social support
Call a friend, send a message or an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you. If the stress becomes too overwhelming, you should seek professional help.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and it’s really true. Laughing out loud increases oxygen and blood flow which automatically reduces stress.