7 Tips for Managing Stress
Stress is one of the biggest problems in our modern world, especially in more developed places. It’s not easy to keep calm in a world on high speed. Nor is it easy to handle the noise and hostility of today’s big cities. Because of all of this, managing stress isn’t an easy task.
In both the short and long term, stress can cause harm to both mind and body. Many physical illnesses stem from too much stress. At the same time, stress blocks our minds so we can’t think clearly and it affects our relationships.
Don’t fear, however. Managing stress is possible by using a few simple methods. Everything comes down to pausing and applying a few of the tricks we’ll explain here.
“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
1. Identify the moment the stress started
Recognizing stress is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. Often, we only notice that we are stressed when it has already reached a high level.
Stress manifests itself in both physical and emotional ways. It can grow in intensity quickly or hold steady behind the scenes.
The physical signs of stress are muscular tension, especially in the jaw, neck, or shoulders. Also, stress can cause tension in the face, often making your lips into a thin line.
Emotionally, there is a feeling of irritation mixed with anguish. These emotions tell us that it is time to put a stop to this stress.
2. Use breathing techniques
Breathing is something we do all the time anyway, so it’s always at hand as a tool for managing stress. It’s an excellent way to bring some peace back to your life. It has been proven that slow, rhythmic breathing activates the vagus nerve. This responds to stress.
Sometimes all you need is to find a comfortable position and breathe deeply. Try to focus on your lungs filling with air. Then, exhale slowly. After two or three minutes of this, your stress will go down.
3. Divert your attention
Stress is associated with the fight or flight responses. That’s why we direct all of out attention to the thing that gave rise to the tension.
The more you fixate on on these sources of restlessness, the more stressed you will feel.
That’s why it’s so important that you try to divert your attention. Look at something around you. Try to describe it mentally, with as many details as possible.
Then repeat this same exercise with two other objects. This will help you manage your stress, regulating your impulses and expanding your immediate emotional outlook.
4. Look at a relaxing image
Images communicate sensations to their observers. That’s why it’s good to always have on hand a photo or other image of something relaxing. Good ones are landscapes, especially in solitary places or involving cold weather, lots of green, or lots of water.
When you feel stressed, looking at those images will help you relax. It’s also a way of focusing your mind on something pleasant, which reduces restlessness.
5. Reinterpret the experience
Sometimes, focusing on your stress makes it worse. You feel too much anguish and want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Since this is not always easy, we get more worried instead of calming down.
Thus it’s important to identify and accept our stress and then start using methods to control it.
Try to recognize all the ways stress shows up. What do you feel in your body? How are you sitting or standing? How fast is your heart beating? What kind of thoughts come to mind?
These questions will help you reinterpret what you feel. Then, the feeling of tension may gradually dissipate.
6. Adopt an anti-stress physical posture
There are stress postures and anti-stress postures. The first ones are, for example, sitting cross-legged in a contorted way. Twitching a leg at a steady pace can also be a sign of stress. Having a hunched back and tight facial muscles is another sign.
On the other hand, standing with your back straight and moving your face will help in managing stress. It’s a position that brings confidence and security. According to a study by Health Psychology, this position also inhibits the production of cortisol.
7. Do a simple exercise with your hands
It has been proven that making tight fists with both hands and then opening them helps reduce stress. It is an aggressive gesture and for that reason it helps release tension.
All these little tricks are very effective for managing stress. It’s normal to feel this way in our modern world, especially if we live in big cities. The important thing is not to let stress take over and instead use these tools to control it.