The result of untreated stress - dis-stress, can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Chronic, untreated stress reactions are strongly associated with major mental health disorders and life- threatening physical disease.
Stress is a normal part of life. The human body is designed to respond to stress triggers from your environment and internally from your body or your thoughts. Stress can be positive, keeping you alert and ready to respond to danger. Stress becomes negative when you are continually triggered by ‘stress-full’ challenges without any downtime – relief or relaxation.
Benefits of Stress Reduction
o Better concentration/focus
o More stable moods
o Improved communication/relationships
o Better physical health
o Increased sense of control of time and activity
What is Stress?
“Stress arises when individuals perceive that they cannot adequately cope with the demands being made on them or with demands being made on them or with threats to their well-being.” Lazarus, R.S. (1966).
The Impact of Stress
o 60-80% of outpatient visits may be related to stress (Rosch, 1991; Avey, Matheny, Robbins, & Jacobson, 2003)
o Linked to all leading physical causes of death - heart disease, cancer, stroke (Cohen, Janicki-Deverts, & Miller, 2007)
o Associated with development of most major mental health problems – depression, PTSD, pathologic ageing (Marin et al., 2011)
o Affects foetal development & outcomes (Kinsella & Monk, 2009)
o Predicts negative health behaviours and relapses – smoking, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, sleeplessness (Kassel, Paronis, Stroud, 2003; Herman, 2012; Ellis, et al., 2012)
What stresses you out? Make a List! Write your stress triggers down.
50 Stress Buster Tips
Decrease stress triggers
1. Say no.
2. Make realistic to-do lists.
3. Avoid people that stress you out.
4. Do not overbook yourself.
5. Get organised.
6. Practice healthy coping strategies.
7. Limit intrusive world chaos and conflict.
8. Find alternatives to stressful situations.
9. Create life-balance.
Change your perspective
10. Accept that you cannot control everything.
11. Stop sweating the small things.
12. Be the real you not an ideal – you are perfect the way you are
13. Prepare for the worst and expect the best. Learn to let go of past stress and hurts. Stop holding grudges.
14. Remember, you cannot please everyone.
15. Talk about your feelings.
16. Laugh with your self.
17. Take things easy.
18. Remember busy is not the new black.
19. Practice mindfulness: Be present in the moment. Be non-judgmental. Focus on what you are doing now. Let go of past regrets and the guilt.
20. Use the ‘Stop’ technique to reduce the anxiety and the worry of the future.
Ways to reduce and relieve stress.
21. Exercise balances stress hormones in the brain - Walk or take a run, play sport, join a Yoga or Pilate’s group.
22. Eat super-foods. Foods high in Vitamin B, potassium, and magnesium help with concentration and energy levels.
23. Practice deep breathing. Slowly breathe in through your nose, feel your diaphragm rise. Slowly breathe out through your mouth and feel your muscles relax.
24. Write it out. Start a journal; don’t worry about being the perfect writer, spelling or grammar.
25. Interrupt the stress-fullness. Take a bath or shower. Have a cup of tea, stop and enjoy, the making and drinking of it. Drink relaxation or stress reducing teas like chamomile .
26. Schedule a worry-time. Allocate 10-15 minutes a day when you can worry that day. If worry thoughts arise, put them aside for your worry-time. Write it down and set aside.
27. Use aromatherapy. Diffuse lavender and citrus oil in a oil burner. Have a lavender oil bath. Rub lavender oil on your temples and lightly press between your eyes.
28. Think positively. Look on the bright side of life. Practice positive affirmations. Read inspirational and motivational quotes. Read my previous Blogs Uplifting Notes to Your Self Can Change Who You Are & Uplifting Notes to Your Self #2
29. Music. Listen to relaxing music. Play an instrument. Sing or chant.
30. Massage or acupuncture. Release emotional stress. Go to a spa or massage therapist. Visit your local acupuncturist.
31. Be in nature. Relax and focus on the bird sounds, smell the flowers, and see the trees. Take a camera to help you focus on the beauty and composition of nature.
32. Increase your self-awareness. Practice meditation. Listen or watch a gilded meditation. Use the sense that interrupts your worries or thoughts.
33. Learn to de-stress with others. Read a self-help book or blog. Join a support group. Take a stress reduction class online. Check out the net-there’s an app for that!
34. Make a vision board. A therapeutic exercise to help you focus and reach your dreams, and inspire your life.
35. Reframe stressful situations. Change stress and worry thoughts to “That was challenging, but I got through it”. Enjoy my previous Blog: 30 Magical Messages to Boost Your Optimism
36. Set aside me-time every day. Schedule 10-15 minutes each day to do something fun and relaxing. Start a ME tiME-ritual. Join the closed FB Group I manage for self-care rituals and tips Nurture Your Self
37. Therapeutic “toys” relieve tension. Keep your hands busy, this way you’re not alone with your worrisome thoughts. Play with stress balls or other fidgets. Take up knitting or crochet.
38. Stretch it out. Stretching release stress and trauma stored in your muscles. Join a stretch or yoga class.
39. Be creative. Draw a picture. Join an art class. Arrange flowers. Try meditative Zenangle drawing. Make a garden.
40. Unplug and disconnect - Just BE.
Change your lifestyle.
41. Make a schedule and stick to it.
42. Stop comparing yourself to others.
43. Make a priority list and stick to it.
44. Less mess, get organised and be neat.
45. Delegate and outsource.
46. Get plenty of sunshine and water.
47. Get your finances in order.
48. Have a medical checkup.
49. Make changes - Start something that supports your wellbeing & Stop what is not working, re-prioritise and delegate.
49. Seek professional support.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard