Stressed Out? Get Back in Control!

Stress can create havoc with our physical and mental well-being. It can make you want to pull your hair out and scream full throttle!  There is a way to reduce stress levels and start to feel calmer and more in control.  

geralt / Pixabay

Stress can be initiated by many common issues such as:

  • Money worries
  • Personal relationships
  • Health problems
  • Work-related
  • School or college
  • Christmas
  • Moving house

Stress can lead to severe anxiety and eventually depression.   Allowing it to continually control your daily life will result in a never-ending cycle of fear where you will dread the thought of the next dawn breaking.  Anyone with severe stress should see their doctor.  The following is for mild stress-related issues.  

How anxious are you? 

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  It can be very draining to the person who is experiencing it but with self-help techniques, the stress levels can be substantially reduced.  There will be a link at the end of this article where you can take a test to see how high your stress levels are.

What are the symptoms of stress?

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Upset Stomach, including diarrhoea and constipation
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Tiredness and insomnia
  • Chest pains
  • Loss of interest in normal activities such as playing football or swimming
  • Frequent colds and infections
  • Dizziness

How does the body cope with stress?

When feeling stressed the body’s nervous systems responds by releasing the stress hormones; adrenaline and cortisol.  These hormones incite the body into action in emergency situations.  This causes the blood pressure to rise, the heart to beat faster, muscles become tense, breathing quickens and the senses become more alert.  

What are the exercises to reduce stress levels?

Breathing

Breathing exercises are simple and you can do these just anywhere.  Try and relax your body then take a deep slow breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth.  Keep repeating until you start to feel yourself calming down.

Exercise

Going for a brisk walk costs nothing and is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress.  If possible a park area away from the noise of traffic etc is more beneficial.  Walking, where you can see and hear the sounds of nature, is much better than a traffic noisy polluted road. 

Swimming is another option to lessen the effects of stress. 

Yoga is very popular.  There are videos to buy to learn the relaxation techniques Yoga can deliver.  Youtube has a variety of video’s from beginners to the more experienced.  The area you live in could possibly have Yoga clubs you can join.  

Note:  If anyone has a disability or health concern please consult your doctor before trying the muscle relaxing exercise below or considering Yoga.  

Muscle relaxation is another way to reduce stress but this needs patience and practice to reap the real benefits.  The difference between a tense muscle to a relaxed one must be recognized.  You can sit on a chair with the feet flat on the floor and arms on the arm of the chair.  If lying down on a bed or a floor ensure the arms are just a bit away from the side of the body with the palms of the hands facing upwards.  It may be more comfortable to bend the knees and that’s fine just make sure the feet are flat on the floor.     If standing is preferred the feet should be apart and in line with the hips.  Make sure your clothing is loose and comfortable.  Breath normally in through your nose and exhale through the mouth.  

Find the muscle groups in the calfs of your legs and gently tense them for a count of 10 then relax.  Take around 10 to 15  seconds break before finding another set of muscles in the thighs, stomach and so on until you work up through the body.  It will become easier to do as you practice.  Once you have mastered the technique tense the muscles for a little bit longer.  Stop immediately if you start to feel uncomfortable.  

If you become stressed every now and again and it is not an on-going problem, use the breathing exercise by inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth.  While you are doing this think to yourself that although the feeling of being stressed is unpleasant you will let it pass through your body, it is not serious, you are not going to have a heart attack and you will start to feel calmer within a few minutes.   

The NHS has advice on coping with stress, it’s worth checking out what they suggest.   

Stop stress in its tracks and don’t allow it to control your life.  Deal with your issues and if they are something you need professional help with go and seek that help.  

Click here for the anxiety assessment.

[Featured image: Pixabay]


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