The Forgotten Tool Against Stress

To combat the stress that surrounds you every day, you just need to spend a few minutes resting your body and mind.
The Forgotten Tool Against Stress
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Stress is an increasing part of your daily life. You run from one activity to another, with your mind full of all the things you have to do. In fact, you focus so much on being productive that you don’t allow yourself to rest. However, rest is the forgotten tool against stress.

Taking a few minutes to cease all activity won’t make a great deal of difference to your goals. Indeed, it’s always possible (or, at least, it should be) to save 15 minutes of your time to disconnect. Furthermore, on a subjective level, it’ll bring you great benefits. Because knowing that you have the option to rest and allowing yourself to do so, has a great influence on you at a mental level.

Man with work stress.

Stress is attitude

You tend to think that stress arises from the large number of tasks that you have to perform each day. Undoubtedly, they make a contribution. Nevertheless, much of this subjective feeling comes from your attitude. It tends to happen if you’re the kind of person who lives your life at ninety miles an hour, regardless of your obligations.

You’re always in a hurry, mentally turning over your chores in your head and looking for new activities to add to your ever-increasing list. Obviously, you have things to do (work, family, and socially related) but much of the pressure comes from the fact that you never disconnect. In fact, your body never rests, and neither does your mind.

On the other hand, there are people who, despite fulfilling their tasks perfectly well, do so with a relaxed attitude. These individuals don’t necessarily work more slowly, nor are they less productive. Their mind simply works at a different and healthier rhythm. They allow themselves to disconnect and they take a few minutes out of their day to rest. Furthermore, they’re able to enjoy the present moment instead of anticipating, in a hurry, what they have to do tomorrow.

The dangers of living with stress

Living in a stressful way does you no favors. Your attitude won’t allow you to make better use of your time or be more effective. On the contrary, when your levels of anxiety are excessive, they begin to interfere with your abilities. You start to perform less effectively. Not only that but your health can also be seriously affected.

As a matter of fact, sustained stress situations are closely related to coronary problems, hypertension, and increased cholesterol. They also generate various somatizations such as stomach aches or headaches. Overweight (due to emotional eating) and sleep disturbances may also appear.

Your body is perfectly equipped to face a high level of tension in a timely manner. Before the stressful situation, it sets in motion the necessary mechanisms to allow you to take action. However, when this situation continues over time, the effects on your body can be devastating.

Also, when you’re in alert mode, you’re focused on surviving and not on taking care of yourself. You begin to neglect your habits and reduce your practice of self-care.

A woman who's feeling out of control

The forgotten tool against stress

Among the many existing tools to combat stress, rest is one of the simplest, most effective, yet most forgotten. Its power comes, not only from the physical fact of stopping your daily hustle and bustle but also from the effect that slowing down has on your mind.

It’s easy to rest. Every two hours or so, take a break from your activities and focus your attention on the present. No more than five or ten minutes are necessary. Just clear your mind of what you were doing and focus on what you’re feeling. You might want to take a short walk to mobilize your body or just sit and focus on your breathing.

The main idea is that you remember to live, enjoy, feel and escape the mental loop of your obligations and responsibilities for a moment. This is especially important in the middle of the day, around lunchtime. Take your time and eat calmly and mindfully.

Also, use the time to have a relaxed chat, read, or watch TV. In fact, it doesn’t matter how you use it so long as you consider it as free time. It constitutes a stop along the way, a break in the day, that allows you to escape your inertia and come back to you.

However, if you currently identify as a person who’s constantly stressed, the idea of rest will probably seem absurd to you. You’ll find a thousand excuses and mental justifications why you can’t afford it. Nevertheless, surely, the more impossible or unnecessary it seems to you, the more you need this forgotten tool against stress.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Eagleston, J. R., Chesney, M. A., & Rosenman, R. H. (1988). Factores psicosociales de riesgo en las enfermedades coronarias: el patrón de comportamiento tipo A como ejemplo. Revista latinoamericana de psicología20(1), 81-89.
  • Fernández-Castro, J., Doval, E., EDO, S., & Santiago, M. (1994). Efectos del estrés docente sobre los hábitos de salud. Ansiedad y estrés, 127-133.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.