Often the simple act of organizing the information about what we do and do not yet know and/or taking time to simply get organized can relieve stress. When we try to do too much or set unrealistic goals it is easy to feel overwhelmed. By being realistic about what we can get done and prioritizing tasks or obligations so we can tackle one thing at a time, it is easier to stay or find balance.
It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re taking deep breaths on a run, feeling the rush of a downhill bike ride, or playing a pickup game with friends. Exercise doesn’t just take our mind off of stress; it releases chemicals in our brains that make us feel better. Learn how to manage your heart rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure when stress hits. Biofeedback gives you information about how your body reacts when you try to relax. Sensors are placed on your body that call out changes in everything from your brain-wave pattern to your muscle tone. Working with a biofeedback therapist, you can start to take control of the signals by changing how your body reacts to the sensor.
Learning healthy ways to cope and getting the right care and support can help reduce stressful feelings and symptoms. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make us feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Physical exercise and nutrition are two important components in how you respond to stress. When your body is healthy, your mind can be healthy and vice versa. Physical exercise is proven to be a great stress reliever and also helps to improve your overall quality of life.
If you experience anxiety more frequently, or have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, quick coping methods can still help when you’re in a bind but they shouldn’t be the only thing you use. It’s important to find treatment that works for you to manage your day-to-day life. It can be helpful to have a chat to your doctor or mental health professional to figure out a plan. Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic event—like a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
Most of us know that exercise is good for our physical health. For the past few decades, research has suggested that exercise may be even more effective than medication. Maintaining a regular (healthy, non-obsessive) exercise routine has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, enhance self-esteem, and increase energy levels. During exercise, the body releases chemicals cognitive behavior therapy called endorphins which interact with receptors in the brain to causing euphoric feelings and reduction in physical pain. Leaving home for the first time, living in a new city or state, and having to manage their own schedule may be a challenging experience for a student. In addition, they may struggle to make new friends and build the life skills they need to succeed.
Some ongoing stressors, such as your job, need more time to break down – is there a work deadline, or a specific person or project, that’s triggering your anxiety? Some potential triggers, such as a stressful home environment, are difficult to manage. In these situations, using other strategies can help you to become more resilient and better able to cope with your anxiety. It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during traumatic events such as mass shootings, natural disasters, or pandemics. Below are ways that you can help yourself, others, and your community manage stress.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions in adults and children. If you haven’t tried mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises yet, there’s no better time to start. Try different stress management techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness and exercise and notice how they impact stress levels. Sudden or ongoing stress activates your nervous system and floods your bloodstream with adrenaline and cortisol, two hormones that raise blood pressure, increase heart rate and spike blood sugar.
Find something you enjoy, whether it is walking, cycling, softball, swimming, or dancing, and do it for at least 30 minutes on most days. When your car dies or a deadline looms, how do you respond? Long-term, low-grade or acute stress takes a serious toll on your body and mind, so don’t ignore feelings of constant tension.