top tips to simmer stress.
Stress can have a demotivating and detrimental effect on our lives. Poppy Evans covers her top tips on how to channel this stress in a positive way.
Stress is an instinct that can keep us motivated and alert, helping us to avoid danger. However, one of the challenges of everyday life is knowing how to manage stress and channel it in a way that will be positive and beneficial to you. Here are a few tips on exactly how to do this.
First, let’s talk about the positive side of stress. To most people this is something that is unheard of – stress is a negative thing, right? Wrong. Eustress helps us to work towards goals and deadlines; keeps us motivated; and is what gives us a sense of accomplishment after a long day of hard work.
Sara Lindberg talks in her article of psychologist, Dr. Kara Fasone’s, views on eustress. She believes it enables you to challenge yourself emotionally, psychologically, and physically. For example, it can spark feelings of inspiration and perseverance; help us to build self-sufficiency by finding positive coping strategies, and motivate you to look after your body and stay healthy. The key is finding healthy habits that turn distress into eustress.
write it down and get organised!
Stress usually begins at a psychological point. A step to managing this is to organise your thoughts. MSU’s Emotional Health and Well-Being Educator, Lisa Tams, tells us that journaling "can be a great stress reducer through organizing one’s thoughts, clearing one’s mind and facilitating problem solving”.
Sometimes it’s not necessary to keep a journal, just writing lists and plans for the week can help keep your mind tidy and organised.
get moving and keep fit.
Exercise is beneficial in relieving stress for many reasons. It is good for you physically, mentally, and can even help in a social aspect. Getting your blood pumping and your body moving increases the production of endorphins. This can vary from a workout at the gym, to an aerobics class, to a walk around the park. After exercising you get an almost euphoric feeling – that’s the endorphins being pumped around your body.
There is also an argument that exercise is a good stress relief because it is a form of meditation. Erica M. Jackson, Ph.D., FACSM, a professor of Movement Science at Delaware State University, conducted a study into the role of exercise in stress management.
Jackson did tests on students who were stressed from studying and concluded: “When participants were not given a break from their stressor in the “studying while exercising” condition, exercise did not have the same calming effect.” Mayo Clinic also agrees that exercise is “meditation in motion” as during a workout your mind concentrates on your body’s movements.
laughter is the best medicine.
When you are stressed it is easy to shut yourself away and deal with things on your own. But research show socialisation and human connection are vital components to de-stressing. Psychology Today talks of the hormone Oxytocin, released when you get stressed and “urges you to seek social connection when experiencing stressful situations”.
If you are upset or stressed, speak to your friends and family about it. Think of it as a free therapy session! Talking through your problems puts things into perspective and helps you to remember that everybody goes through difficult periods. Also, spending time with friends can be a good distraction; remember, laughter is the best medicine.
For those of you reading this during a time of stress, please remember to eat well, exercise regularly, and be happy!
How do you handle stress?
By Poppy Evans