Are you feeling stressed and anxious? If so, you’re not alone. Stress is normal and part of everyday life, although it can become overwhelming if not managed properly. Chronic stress often leads to various health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression. Fortunately, many effective stress-relieving techniques can help you control your stress levels and improve your overall well-being.
What is Stress?
Before we dive into how to overcome stress and anxiety, let’s first understand what stress is. Stress is a response natural to a threat or demand, whether real or perceived. When your body senses a threat, stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, get released, which prepare your body to respond to the danger. Your body’s stress response is called the “fight or flight” response.
How to Overcome Stress and Anxiety
Now that you know what stress is, let’s discuss overcoming it. Here are some effective stress-relieving techniques that if you add into your daily routine can help you to take control of Stress and Anxiety:
1. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is a powerful stress-relieving technique you can use anytime, anywhere. Not only when you feel stressed or anxious, but daily consciously take deep breaths, focusing on the sensations of the air moving as you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
2. Muscle Relaxation and hypnosis
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique I often use when guiding Clients into hypnosis that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body. Start with your feet and work through parts of your body up to your head, tensing each muscle group for a few seconds before releasing the tension.
Exercise is a fantastic way to relieve stress and improve your mood. Whether running, doing yoga, or lifting weights, exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Regular exercise is a great way to manage stress and anxiety. It helps to reduce stress hormones, such as cortisol, in the body and increases the production of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Exercise can also help improve sleep quality, further reducing stress and anxiety.
4. Mindfulness and Effortless Meditation
Mindfulness and Effortless meditation involve focusing your attention on the present moment. It can help you release stress and anxiety by bringing your attention to a Mantra, your breath, or other physical sensations. Introducing a daily practice is proven to help those who suffer stress and anxiety.
Tapping, known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a technique that involves tapping on specific acupressure points on your body while focusing on one particular issue or emotion. It can help reduce stress and anxiety by releasing negative emotions. Check out my previous Blog for instructions on how to perform EFT. Read HERE
Emotional Stress Release (ESR) is a simple yet powerful technique I learnt when studying Kinesiology. ESR can help you cope with stress, anxiety, and intense emotions. By placing your fingertips or palms on your forehead for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you like, you allow your body and energy to relax and become calm.
Technically, ESR involves holding the “frontal eminences,” the bumps or ridges on your forehead between your eyebrows and hairline. Take some time to feel around and locate these spots on your forehead.
But how does holding your forehead help with stress and anxiety? When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, your body produces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones signal to your body that there’s danger and trigger the “fight or flight” response causing your body to direct blood away from non-essential bodily processes like digestion and the neo-cortex and towards your heart, lungs, arms, and legs so that you can escape from harm.
When you practice ESR by holding your forehead, you are telling your body that it’s safe and in no danger helping to reduce the levels of stress hormones and allowing your body to shift back to a state of relaxation. With regular practice, ESR can be valuable in your stress-management toolbox.
7. Social support
Social support from friends, family, and loved ones reduces stress and anxiety by providing emotional support and a sense of belonging. Social support can also provide practical assistance, such as help with daily tasks or problem-solving.
Additional Tools to Use in the Moment of Feeling Stress
While the above techniques can help you manage your stress levels long-term, sometimes you need different tools in the moment when stress overtakes your mind. Here are some ideas:
- Counting to 10 before responding to a stressful situation
- Taking a walk or stepping outside for some fresh air
- Listening to your favorite music or podcast
- Taking a few minutes to journal your thoughts and feelings
- Doing a quick yoga pose or stretch
- Holding an object, such as a stress ball or fidget toy
- Rubbing two fingers together mindfully while feeling the ridges of the fingers. It can help increase your “Positive Intelligence” (PQ), which measures your ability to handle stress and challenges.
Q: Can stress be good for you?
A: Yes. A certain amount of stress can motivate and help you perform.
Stress is considered harmful but can be good for you in small doses. Here are some ways that stress can be beneficial:
- Motivation: Stress can motivate you to work harder and strive for success. It can give you the drive to achieve your goals and be productive.
- Resilience: Going through stressful situations can help build strength and make you stronger. It can teach you to cope with difficult situations and bounce back from adversity.
- Increased focus: When you’re under stress, your body releases adrenaline, which can help you focus and think more clearly. This focus can be helpful in situations when performing at your best is required, such as during a job interview or an important presentation.
- Boosted immunity: Short-term stress can stimulate the production of white blood cells, raising the immune system and helping you fight infections and illnesses.
- Improved memory: Stress can also enhance your memory and help you learn better. When stressed, your brain releases hormones, strengthening the connections between neurons and making it easier to remember information.
It’s important to note that while you can see that stress is beneficial in small doses, chronic stress ultimately affects your physical and mental health in the long term. Finding healthy ways to manage stress and prevent it from becoming overwhelming is essential.
Q: Can stress cause physical pain?
A: Yes, Chronic stress can cause physical pain, especially in the neck, shoulders, and back. Stress can cause muscle tension and inflammation, leading to pain and discomfort. It’s essential to manage stress levels to prevent the onset of chronic pain.
Q: Can stress cause digestive problems?
A: Yes, Stress can cause various digestive problems, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and belly pain. The extra cortisol produced when stressed can interfere with digestion and cause inflammation in the digestive tract.
Q: Can stress affect your skin?
A: Yes, stress can affect your skin in several ways. It can cause acne, rashes, hives, and other skin problems. Skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis, are often exacerbated by stress. It’s essential to manage stress levels to maintain healthy skin.
Q: Is it possible to eliminate stress?
A: No, it’s impossible to eliminate stress as it is a valuable part of life, and everyone experiences it to some degree. However, managing stress levels effectively and developing coping mechanisms to deal with stressful situations healthily is possible.
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