You probably already know that stress can make you miserable, affect your enjoyment of life, and could lead to a variety of health problems. However, there’s a difference between knowing these facts and addressing them in your own life. We all have to live with a degree of stress, and to a certain extent, it’s a necessary motivation for action and decision-making. The problem arises when it is chronic stress. It’s a permanent strain on your mind and body, rather than the situational necessity it is designed to be. You may not even realize how stressed you are, or that it has become a chronic problem. You might feel like you should be able to cope with whatever life throws at you, and that overwhelm and exhaustion are signs of weakness. In reality, this isn’t true at all. Not taking steps to reduce your stress levels will just make your situation worse. So act now to encourage stress relief, using the sensible strategies below for stress symptoms to help improve your health and happiness.
There are two aspects of stress, which manifest in different ways. These are common stress symptoms:
- Psychologically you may feel down, and in the longer term, clinically depressed. You may find it harder to keep your temper, getting angry at small inconveniences and snapping at the family. You can suffer a range of negative emotions, including sadness, irritability, grumpiness, and crying. Motivating yourself may be difficult too. Perhaps life feels like a daily grind, a chore to endure rather than a joyous experience full of hope and opportunity. It may be hard to enjoy yourself too, and you turn to comfort eating or alcohol to get through the day.
- Physiologically you probably feel tired, even constant exhaustion, and find it hard to accomplish what you need daily. You may get headaches, as well as aches and pains in your muscles, particularly the neck and shoulders. Other signs of stress are trouble sleeping, racing of the heart, constant muscle tension, and change in appetite – either not feeling hungry or craving certain foods.
Chronic stress can affect every bodily system, as the effects of having a constantly high level of stress hormones put a strain on every part of you. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol were originally designed to enable your primitive ancestors to outrun a Smilodon, and they are very effective at boosting your strength, speed, and mental alertness in small doses. They are not meant to be circulating at higher levels through your system all the time. When they do so, there’s an excessive strain on your mind and body, which is why chronic stress makes you feel so bad. Hence the need for stress relief.
Recognizing you have chronic stress
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The effects of chronic stress can creep up on you over time, making it harder to realize that your health is being negatively affected. Have a look at the stress symptoms listed above, and check out some detailed information on symptoms of stress to see if you could be suffering without realizing the extent to which you’re affected. It’s hard not to have a stressful life in the fast-paced world we live in. So even if you think you’re coping perfectly well, you will still benefit from adopting some stress relief techniques.
Quick fixes: Stress relief options
For many people, a quick fix for stress involves having a glass of wine at the end of the day. Or maybe it’s a cigarette to calm the nerves. The odd glass of wine isn’t likely to do you any harm. But if it becomes regular and you start to feel you can’t manage without a drink, you need to recognize that’s a problem. Using alcohol as a crutch may give you a few moments of relief, but it’s not a long-term solution.
We all know that smoking is bad for our health. But when you feel stress, it can be difficult to give up that nicotine fix you turn to. The benefits to your health and well-being of quitting are significant. So it’s worth trying to find a way to cut down and ultimately stop altogether. There are many different methods available. One solution could be to try vaping as an alternative to smoking tobacco. If you go here, you can find out about the different e-cigarettes available and get more information on vaping. Comfort eating is another common way people cope with stress symptoms. Again, the occasional sweet treat won’t do you too much harm, but getting into the habit of eating for stress relief will adversely affect your health over time.
Healthier quick fixes for stress
If you’ve never tried meditation or mindfulness, don’t dismiss its benefits. Studies show meditation is one of the best methods of stress relief. And it can be simple, enjoyable, and not overly time-consuming. Start with 10 minutes at either end of the day following an audio-guided meditation. Many examples are freely available online.
Meditation is essentially a method of clearing your mind and relaxing your body. There is nothing mystical about it, so you needn’t feel skeptical. Another way to look at it is that you won’t lose anything by giving it a try, but you could benefit a great deal. Finding an exercise method that you enjoy is another highly effective way to relieve stress. It doesn’t need to be a strenuous gym workout either. Simply walking around the block in the evening can help tremendously.
Acknowledging your stress and finding ways to both manage it and reduce its harmful effects needn’t be hard work. Stress relief activities don’t have to take up a lot of time either. Investing time and energy into looking after this basic aspect of wellbeing is worth it. Stress relief can benefit you mentally and physically. It will also benefit your family, friends, work colleagues, and everyone you come into contact with in the future.
You can tackle stress and lead a happier life, so don’t put it off any longer. Making a few changes in your routine can make all the difference to your health and happiness. So be good to yourself and get your stress under control.