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Your phone is ringing nonstop. Your inbox is overflowing mails. You’re 45 minutes late for a deadline and your boss is knocking on your door, asking how your latest project is going. It seems impossible to cope with all the stress.
These are some examples of acute stress, which may not last beyond your workday. However, if your life feels like this every day, you may be experiencing long term or chronic stress.
This kind of stress can be potentially harmful to your health if you do not find ways to cope with it properly.
Major stressors include money troubles, job issues, relationship conflicts, and major life changes, such as the loss of a loved one. Smaller stressors, such as long daily commutes and rushed mornings, can also add up over time.
Here are 6 simple ways you can effectively cope with stress better:
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to cope with stress. Physical activities such as walking or jogging — that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
Regular exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins and improving your sleep and self-image.
2. Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety, although people have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate.
If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.
3. Write it down
One way to cope with stress is to write things down. While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for.
Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
4. Chew Gum
According to several studies, chewing gum may help you relax. It may also promote wellbeing and reduce stress. One possible explanation is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain.
Additionally, one recent study found that stress relief was greatest when people chewed more strongly.
5. Learn to Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating. Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
6. Take a deep breath
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signaling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing, and constricted blood vessels.
Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
Everyone experiences stress from time to time. In the short term, acute stress can give you the motivation you need to power through a tough situation or meet a pressing deadline. However, long-term (chronic) stress can negatively affect your health.
If you feel run down, or like your health might be negatively affected by stress, you can speak with any of a licensed doctor on the Tremendoc app and receive professional advice on the appropriate steps to take, to minimize the effect of stress on your health