Stress has always been a constant throughout human history. Feeling stressed about elements of our environment that threatened our comfort or survival helped us do something about them and develop, which is part of the reason humanity has been around till now.
But that doesn’t make stress a particularly helpful experience to have in the moment. Quite often, when we feel stressed, we feel helpless and overwhelmed, which only leads to more stress. A vicious circle indeed.
While stress seems like an invincible adversary, there are effective steps anyone can take to counter it. In this article, we shall explore these steps in such a way that anyone, no matter what their sources of stress, can apply them to their own situation.
Step 1: identify the source of your stress
It’s hard to solve a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. Stress, while it is the immediate issue, is rarely ever the problem, since it is typically caused by something. A good first step, therefore, is to identify the source of stress.
It may be something major, such as going through a painful breakup, a divorce, moving, changing jobs, or losing a loved one. It might also be a relatively subtle issue that’s harder to pinpoint, such as having too many demands, feeling anxious about going somewhere, or just having to deal with the crazy traffic on your morning commute.
Some students may be stressed due to the pressure of having to handle assignments and handing in well written essays on time. It’s easier to find an essay writing service to help you with this.
Whatever the source, the important thing is to do some soul-searching and find it.
Step 2: apply stress management tactics
There are four major ways you can respond to any situation; these include avoiding it, changing it, adapting to it, or simply accepting it.
Applying these ways to your stress is a good way to handle it. Once you identify the source of your stress, figure out if you can do something to alter it. If scrolling through Twitter makes you feel stressed, then stop. If being around a particular person makes you stressed, either ask them to stop (altering), avoid them, or learn to view it differently (adapting and accepting).
Step 3: exercise
Exercise is nature’s reliever. It releases the right hormones to make you feel good after you’ve been doing it for a while. Whether you like to go to the gym, or jogging, or to play an active sport like tennis or soccer, take to exercising regularly, or at least at times when you’re stressed. You’ll be much better for it.
Step 4: seek human connection
Spending quality time with others can have a profound effect on how we feel. It triggers all the right hormones and quiets our anxiety. It also staves off depression. Opening up to a trusted person that makes you feel safe and understood can also be cathartic. The beauty of it is that the person you talk to doesn’t even need to be able to solve your problems. All they have to do is be a good listener.
Step 5: spend quality time alone
Just like connecting with others is valuable, so is spending time with yourself. Set aside some quality time where you do something that you enjoy or do something that promotes mindfulness, such as meditation or yoga. More importantly, don’t lose your sense of humor. It really is the best medicine.
The steps above should help anyone suffering from chronic stress to manage it better. Stress is a part of who we are, but that doesn’t mean it has to consume us.