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The Most Effective Ways To Manage Your Stress For Good


Stress, Chronic Stress, and Stress Relief

So what exactly is stress? You may be surprised to know that it's actually designed to make you stronger. This is the popular belief, at least. As it turns out, though, stress and strength have nothing to do with each other. Stress can make you stronger but only if strength is measured by rigidity of body and mind - rigidity that shuts down creativity, flexibility, resourcefulness and problem solving skills.


This stress response, also known as the fight-or-flight response, triggers many involuntary changes in your body, which give you an extra burst of energy so that you can fight or run away from perceived threats. This was a helpful response for us in earlier times when most of the stresses we faced were physical. This burst of physical energy was needed to keep us alive in many cases. Nowadays, though, more and more of our threats are psychological — job stress, interpersonal conflict, etc. — and this response to stress, which can actually make us think less clearly, isn't always necessary or even helpful.


Chronic Stress

Having your stress response activated long-term and not getting your body back to a state of relaxation can tax your system, leaving you overstimulated and depleted at the same time.

Studies on health and stress have shown that stress can be a causal or contributing factor to virtually all major illnesses because chronic stress can lower immunity.

Chronic stress can lead to serious health problems. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has identified stress as a factor in heart attacks, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression and anxiety. Since the immune system is suppressed by stress, it's harder to fight off colds and other illnesses

The good news is that the effects of chronic stress are reversible.

If you already think that you might be experiencing the effects of chronic stress, here are some suggestions for self-care:

Make time to relax by breaking up your day with something enjoyable such as exercise, listening to music, playing with a pet, or reading something light or inspirational.

Practice deep breathing or mindfulness meditation. It really helps to take several slow breaths as soon as you realize that tension is building. This allows the nervous system to calm down and the body to relax.


Stress Management Basics

No matter what the origin of stress is for you, there are some basic steps you can take to manage the stress that you experience. Try to approach stress from three angles:


Quick Stress Relief


While quick stress relievers aren't a complete stress management plan in themselves, they are an excellent first line of defense against the effects of chronic stress. This is because they can help you turn off your body's stress response and respond to the stressors you face from a calm (or calmer), more relaxed place. This helps you to more effectively deal with what is stress, and keep yourself healthier at the same time. Common strategies for quick stress relief include breathing exercises or the use of humor.


Coping With Stressors


The other key component of effective stress management is learning about how to cope with your own particular sources of chronic stress. I call this "coping" instead of "fixing" because sometimes it's not possible to fix a source of chronic stress. For example, if your boss is giving you a hard time, it might be unrealistic to try to fix that; instead, you might have to learn how to cope with that situation until it improves on its own or until you find another job. Effective coping strategies for dealing with chronic stressors

While quick stress relievers aren't a complete stress management plan in themselves, they are an excellent first line of defense against the effects of chronic stress. This is because they can help you turn off your body's stress response and respond to the stressors you face from a calm (or calmer), more relaxed place. This helps you to more effectively deal with what is stress, and keep yourself healthier at the same time. Common strategies for quick stress relief include breathing exercises or the use of humor.


Stress Reduction Techniques


A longer-lasting strategy to deal with chronic or major life stressors is to learn some effective stress reduction techniques. Stress reduction techniques are skills that you learn and practice, usually in a specific context, and that you can use overtime to help lower your overall level of stress. There are many different types of stress reduction techniques that people use in this way, but some common examples include yoga, meditation and journaling.


Addressing Underlying Stressors


When it comes to major sources of chronic stress, you might not be able to completely eliminate them from your life (such as through changing jobs). But sometimes things like this are possible, and when they are, it can be one of the most effective ways to manage the effects of chronic stress.


Long-Term Stress Management

Part of the self-management component is learning how to manage your stress when you do experience it. Here are several things you can do to help manage your stress on an ongoing basis.


Practice Healthy Eating Habits

A healthy diet can help you bounce back from a stressful day and minimize the physical toll it takes on your body. Focusing on foods from a variety of plant sources and lean protein sources can help support your immune system and energy levels.


Learn Deep Breathing Exercises

Learning deep breathing exercises for stress management is easy and doesn't take much time. These exercises are a great way to quickly calm yourself down when feeling overwhelmed with stress.


Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is an exercise that helps you relax your muscles one at a time. This technique has been shown to be effective for reducing stress and anxiety, as well as improving sleep quality in people with insomnia.


Practice Meditation Exercises

Meditation is a process where an individual trains their mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or as an end in itself. The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices


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Gupta Psychiatry

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