You probably already know that chronic 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. If you’re looking for fast stress relief, you’ve come to the right place. That’s what this guide is all about.
Stress is normal, but it can become too much
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 puts 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. Understanding the symptoms helps to point you toward the best methods of stress relief for you.
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 can 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, 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 effectively boosted strength, speed, and mental alertness in small doses. They are not meant to be circulating at higher levels through your system all the time, though, as that puts excessive strain on the mind and body.
That’s why chronic stress feels so bad. Hence, the need for stress relief.
Recognizing you have chronic stress
The effects of chronic stress can creep up on you over time. That makes it harder to realize that your health is declining.
To help you recognize what’s going on, read through the common stress symptoms in the list above. Also, check out more detailed information on symptoms of stress to see if you could be suffering without realizing the extent of the effect.
There are many free resources online and, even better, go see your doctor for a diagnosis for your unique situation. The professional can suggest the best course of action for you.
It’s hard not to have a stressful life in today’s fast-paced world. So, even if you think you’re coping well, you can 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 occasional glass of wine isn’t likely to do you any harm. But, if it becomes a regular habit, you might start to feel like you can’t manage without a drink.
At that point, it’s a problematic habit. Using alcohol as a crutch may give you a few moments of relief, but it’s not a long-term solution.
As for smoking, it’s common knowledge that it’s bad for your physical 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, though. So, it’s worth trying to find a way to cut down and ultimately stop altogether.
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 forms of stress relief
If you’ve never tried meditation or mindfulness, don’t dismiss its benefits. Meditation can be a useful method of stress relief.
The activity can be simple, enjoyable, and not overly time-consuming. Try starting with 10 minutes at either the start or end of the day.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to taking care of yourself this way, following an audio-guided meditation is an easy way to do it. 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.
Finding what works well for you
Acknowledging your stress and finding ways to both manage it and reduce its harmful effects doesn’t have to 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 well-being 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 effectively and lead a happier life, so don’t put off finding stress relief methods 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.