Stress is an unfortunate condition of being human, and many of us are totally unable to de-stress effectively. You’ve probably noted on a few occasions that your stress levels have been incredibly high and it seems like everything is just going left.. You wouldn’t be the first, and certainly not the last, to suffer stress overload.
Too much stress can trigger a lot of negative behavioral and bodily reactions, such as skin rashes, insomnia, or hair loss. By the time they turn 50, roughly 85% of men will have significantly thinning hair, yet women aren’t immune from this condition either. The list of potential adverse effects of stress can go on and on, but there are many ways to de-stress.
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Stress is inherently personal, and what you might do to alleviate your stress could make someone else stress out more.
So rather than doing what your neighbor does to relax, consider finding what works for you.
Here is a list of possible ways to de-stress.
Remove the Stressor
This is the most apparent (and probably most effective) way of dealing with too much stress. However, it depends heavily on your ability to identify what causes your stress and how well you can remove or mitigate the source. You might also find that your stressor is something more defined within a broader scope.
For instance, you may think your job is what causes you stress, but it might actually be a specific job function or deadline. In some cases, you might be able to remove the stress completely, and other times you may have to find a way to lessen the stress or deal with more effectively. You might not be able to quit your job, but you could find a way to reduce your anxiety or manage your time more efficiently. You might also find that taking your lunch off work premises helps you de-stress.
If you can’t remove the stressor or mitigate it, you can find better ways to relieve the burden the stress places on your body and mind. Exercise is one of the most proven techniques for de-stressing without resorting to vices. Not only might you find that your mental health improves, but your physical health will definitely get a boost. Cycling 20 miles a week, for example, was found to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 50%, according to a study by the British Medical Association.
Exercise can be a beneficial stress reliever because it gives you a physical outlet to “work out” your stress, rather than keeping it bottled up inside. Exercise doesn’t have to take place in the gym or on a bike, either. It can take the form of any physical activity that you like to do and that helps you release tension, physical and mental. Professional soccer players run an average of 3.9 miles per game, but you don’t need to run a marathon to relieve stress.
Exercise can take many forms, but the important thing is to find some kind of physical activity you can engage in on a regular basis.
Find a New Hobby
Just about anything can be a hobby if it’s something that you find value in doing. Exercising can be a hobby, as could gardening, cooking, sewing, carpentry, or simply posting memes on the Internet. Having a hobby can greatly reduce stress because the activity is able to take your mind off of the stressor as you focus your attention on something positive. Studies have shown “that those who engage in physical leisure activities for at least 20 minutes once a week are less susceptible to fatigue,” as well as “enjoyable activities performed during leisure time were associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index” as well.
So, finding an activity that you find engaging and worth your time may help you avoid a burnout from constant stress.
While many people jokingly say that they’re performing “retail therapy” when they go shopping, it really does give your body a healthy shot of dopamine. Retail therapy can actually be quite effective at managing stress — and maybe even your heart health. According to Hello Heart, a study conducted by the University of Michigan showed that shopping as a method of stress-relief “was up to 40 times more effective at giving people ‘a sense of control’ and that shoppers were three times less sad compared to those that only browsed for items.” They also claim that shopping is a good way to keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.
So if you find that shopping is a stimulating method of stress-relief, then you shouldn’t feel guilty doing it (within reason!). There are 28,360 shoe stores in the United States and countless retail stores and other outlets to choose from. However, if your stressor is your financial situation, then you may find that a different method of stress-relief is better suited to your needs.
There are countless ways to relieve stress, yet what method you choose is ultimately up to you. That doesn’t mean that you’re alone, though. There are many people who can help you find out what causes your stress and give you viable options to mitigate it. It’s important that you take steps to reduce your stress levels and prioritize your mental health. Too often do these things take the back seat when they’re incredibly prevalent. Your health should be your utmost concern.