Sometimes stress is so common – even inherent – in our lives that we can’t imagine it is possible to feel relieved from it and accomplish stress management. Problems with careers, bills, family, political climate… they all seem to be too much for a singular being to deal with. As a result, we end up spending our time stressed out as it was a normal condition.
You probably know they exist, but aren’t aware of: The truth is there are some practices to help reduce stress and its symptoms – headaches, muscle tension and heart palpitation. But what are these practices? Follow below and find them out:
What is stress exactly?
In order to deal with something, you first need to know exactly what it is and its details. Of course, it works the same way for stress management.
I’m sure you are aware there is no way to live life without being under some kind of pressure: new and unexpected situations, daily struggles, health conditions and diseases, deadlines to meet, etc.
In fact, there are many situations that push us out of our comfort zone, but they are not necessarily bad things. Pressure can even make us faster, more efficient and even feel more motivated. It’s like in sports, when a team scores ahead, and the other has to work harder to make up for the disadvantage.
The problem is that not everyone deals with pressure the same way: some may feel motivated, while others feel overwhelmed. And that is where stress comes in. We can say, then, what generates stress is the way we notice certain situations and deal with pressure.
The circumstances that influence whether we will feel stressed may be conscious too, but most of the times they are unconscious processes; which makes quite difficult to manage it.
The overwhelming feeling can be caused by both physical or mental motivations, which means you must also work on identifying the causes to then manage stress.
1. Determine what causes stress.
The main factor for feeling stress is to be under unpleasant situations; the most unpleasant situations we experience are related to the frustrations we have. Finally, frustrations are directly linked to the expectations we place on projects, people, plans and tasks.
The American Psychological Association conducted a survey in 2017 that pointed out the main reasons that cause stress among American citizens. The result? Money, Work, Future (nation and career) and Political Climate are the biggest causes of conscious stress.
About money: aren’t we demanding too much of ourselves? Isn’t what we have obtained and still obtain annually a stable amount? Do we need to see money as the ultimate goal for all things we do?
The truth is the vast majority of people are always chasing after more and more, and expects to gain absurd amounts of money. Many forget to enjoy at least a bit of what they reach.
About work: the need to move up the career ladder, just like increasing incomes, is an ambition and a final goal for a large part of the workforce. People forget to appreciate their positions and the process of climbing.
What results from this constant chase is a huge stone pressing down our shoulders, worse performances during the workdays and a lot of frustration for not being able to achieve goals.
Another form of feeling stress from our jobs is when we end up working on something we hate. I refer to extreme cases, like highly toxic working teams or functions and tasks that go against our philosophy and moral.
In those cases, the best solution is probably start planning to leave your job as soon as possible and start over your career. There are always open doors; we just need patience and persistence to find them out.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to provide answers for every situation that causes stress. To practice stress management, you need to identify the source of it, which, as researches indicate, is usually related to our high expectations towards our financial life.
If this is not the reason for your stress, check out the next tips we have to practice stress management.
2. Include Stress Reducers in your life.
Very commonly, identifying precisely what causes stress on an individual is not possible, but that does not mean they cannot deal with it. One of the best ways to handle subconscious stress is to include stress reducers in your habits.
Learn to say NO:
People often drain all our energy by asking and demanding too much from us. Understanding your limits to help others out is helpful and will be crucial for your mental health.
Chemicals have the power to alter our sensory nervous system and they play important role to feelings like happiness and motivation. Then, what can be healthier than releasing them naturally at the same time you take care of your body and have fun? Going to a gym, practicing a sport, running out… they can all reduce stress.
Even if it is once a week: practice an activity where you don’t need to be productive or learn something from. It gives you energy to be able to put effort on your work hours and keep your mind stable; not overwhelmed.
Stretching your muscles is a great way to prepare your body to receive pressure. Difficult situations will seem minor when you stick to a stretching routine.
3. Pay attention to physical indicators.
We rarely associate stress with physical conditions like pain or sore; at most, we realize tension is a sign of accumulated stress. However, physical conditions can cause fatigue, exhaustion, demotivation and loss of patience. Are they familiar symptoms to you?
Therefore, it is crucial to recognize physical conditions when they show up: back pain, tendonitis, poor posture, headaches… all of these factors might come from stress and must be treated.
Ultimately, the recommendation is that you practice alternative activities for your body health: yoga, massage treatment, chiropractic care, etc. Chiropractic care, for instance, is worldwide known as the most effective alternative medicine method.
Schedule a first appointment to benefit from these treatments and improve your stress management since the very first session.
4. Improve your eating habits.
As we already agreed in previous topics, our bodies cannot avoid being under situations of pressure and discomfort. So why would you give them a hindrance to deal with if it is easily preventable?
Yes, bad eating habits are a major obstacle for anyone trying to manage stress. Still don’t understand why?
In order to receive pressure, our bodies need to be rested and healthy. Nevertheless, the most common nutrients in junk food are carbohydrates and fats; both require tons of energy to be processed in our bodies.
That means if you eat low nutritional value food, your body will spend too long trying to find beneficial nutrients where there are simply none. Besides, if it can’t find, it will be unable to discard what isn’t helpful, and those horrible nutrients like fats will get accumulated.
Consume more fruits and vegetables, reduce oils and other types of fat, and also try to have your meals every 3 or 4 hours.
Your entire body will be thankful, and you won’t have to go through horrible sensations like weakness, diarrhea, gastric reflux, and many other digestive conditions.
Oh, I was forgetting to emphasize! These conditions also consume energy in the body and cause stress, so it’s really worth it avoiding them.
5. Plan your routine, but be flexible.
Many people are averse to the word “planning”. They associate the term with negative meanings such as lack of freedom, pressure and appointments. Because of the way they conceive it, they end up feeling pressured and stressed when trying to add some planning in their routines.
However, when there is no planning for the week, we deal with the duties as we are able to – have time and energy to do it – or as they arise (randomly force ourselves regardless our condition).
Because of it, what turns out is that we are most of the time unable to complete even half of our tasks, and we have no freedom to do anything but duties during the week. I bet this scenario looks much worse than the first, but it happens more often…
Therefore, the key is to understand that planning is actually a tactic so things do not get chaotic, but it does not have to be followed strictly. In fact, when we plan a week, we should not draw ourselves in chores. We have to be moderate and reserve some time for ourselves.
To plan better:
- Take a moment out of the weekend to list some activities for the week;
- List your work routine first and try to divide tasks according to time availability. On busier days at work, add less house chores.
- Try to keep one day of your weekend as free as possible.
- Estimate no more than 12 hours of chores + work hours and transportation per day.
- You can create a wall at home for sticky notes and pin your week planning so it is not hard to remember what needs to be done and when.
Little by little, you’ll get used to it and will be able to enjoy some free time and not get overwhelmed.
Stress Management is not a job for one
In the struggle to increase your ability to manage pressure, you may need the help of professionals when it gets out of your control; especially when the stress has unconscious motivators.
The chiropractor is one of the best professionals available to help you to relieve stress and tensions from your body if you’re not aware of what is disturbing you and making you feel exhausted and explosive.
If you are in New York, schedule a first consultation now and don’t try to face the stress by yourself. Chiropractors will help you get free from physical stress, making stress management easier to be followed up at home and in your job.