Stress is the body’s natural reaction to any stimulus, both negative and positive. In other words, we stress even when we are happy. The only difference is in the consequences. “Positive” stress you feel while parachuting or betting via an online betting site, increases happiness hormone levels, strengthens the immune system, and improves brain function. But “negative” stress gradually depresses us, reduces our ability to work and generally suppresses our desire to live.
But since it’s almost impossible to avoid stress, we must learn how to manage it. We propose to figure out how to make stress your friend and improve your quality of life.
Why Stress Arises
Stress in itself is even useful – it increases attention, activates the brain, improves performance and concentration. In addition, in a state of moderate stress we react better to dangerous situations and produce more energy.
But if you are constantly under stress, there is cortisol dysfunction and, as a consequence, depression, chronic fatigue and cell aging. So if you can’t remember when you were resting normally, and you’ve already forgotten about adequate sleep, it’s worth stopping and thinking about changing the rhythm of life. Otherwise the consequences can be extremely sad.
Methods of Combating Stress
There is a whole list of ways to reduce stress. These are not medical recommendations, but by following them, you can take control of the production of stress hormones and help your body to cope with potential threats.
We are constantly surrounded by stress triggers. These include worries about the future, avoidable interactions with unpleasant people, and physical pain.
It’s unlikely to get rid of them, but if you understand what causes anxiety, the reaction will not be as acute.
An ordinary diary will help. Make a habit of writing down once a day what and why you were agitated. There is no need for details, just describe the fact, and answer honestly: “Why do I care, make me angry, annoyed?”, sooner or later you will get to the truth. And over time, you will discover the hidden causes of stress, for example, the influence of social networks or traumatic events in childhood.
Have you ever had the experience that on a good day you suddenly have a bad mood because of some thought? The fact is that negative thoughts and unpleasant memories are another cause of stress. Scientists have proven that negative thinking contributes to the production of cortisol and inhibits the synthesis of oxytocin, the hormone of joy.
Therefore, mental practices, mind control is a good way to combat stress. Try to meditate for five minutes a day, catch yourself in destructive thoughts and stop them. There will be results, even if you get distracted while meditating, but notice it and try to clear your head again. Studies have shown that a group of people who meditated no matter what became much more productive after one month than those who simply quit the practice in the beginning.
Lack of sleep increases cortisol levels, so people with chronic lack of sleep are more nervous, distracted and tired. Take care of your health and create the most comfortable conditions for sleep.
Buy a good orthopedic pillow, mattress and quality bedding. It’s an investment in your health, so it will pay off in a short time.
Follow your sleep schedule, try to go to bed and get up at the same time.
Establish a pre-bedtime ritual: take a shower, read a few pages of a book, do some light exercise. The main thing is not to use gadgets, so as not to excite the brain.
Give up stimulating drinks in the afternoon: coffee, tea, energy drinks, alcohol.
Many people underestimate the importance of sleep, but you will be surprised how much it changes if you establish a routine and allow yourself a proper rest.
Regular Activity and Exercise
Physical activity is both good and stressful for the body. On the one hand, your cortisol level increases after an intensive workout, but on the other hand, doing sports improves your general well-being and influences the quality of your sleep.
Calculate your optimal level of exercise with the help of a coach, and stick to it: this way you can control the level of stress.
And try to walk more. Time in the woods or the park has a great effect on your emotional and physical well-being. This is because in nature, we breathe more deeply and calmly, and breathing practice is one of the foundations of meditation.
Love to paint, but haven’t picked up a brush in a while? Or you adore dancing, but don’t have time to do it? Dreaming of a collection of rare jewelry or learning jewelry making? Immediately look for time in your schedule for your favorite activities and do not listen to those who say that it’s a waste of time. American scientists have proven that just one month of art therapy can reduce stress levels, get rid of negative thoughts and overcome anxiety.
Allow yourself to do something that gives you pleasure – it’s much more important than doing all the household chores and going to bed, dying of fatigue and self-pity.
Foods That Reduce Stress
We all know that stress eating is bad. But if you eat in a controlled way and eat foods that reduce stress hormones, you will definitely feel better. So introduce foods high in polyphenols into your diet: bananas, dark chocolate, black and green tea, and yogurt. And don’t forget to drink water because dehydration also leads to stress.
The hardest part is taking the first step. You don’t have to make grand plans to combat stress. It’s enough to start small: write down your first thought, go to bed early, go for a walk on your day off. Gradually forming useful habits, you will notice that bad moods appear less and less often, and there are more and more fascinating and interesting things in life.