Everyday we are exposed to various types of stress. While it’s a part of life, too much of it can cause negative effects. If left unchecked, chronic stress can take a toll on our minds and bodies and can weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. So, learning to manage stress is important to our overall well-being.
A lot of things have been said about fighting stress. Thousands of self-help books are available that teach ways on managing stress, and still many of us including myself are having a hard time to handle stress. I guess, it’s easier said than done. During a small group discussion hosted by Herbalife, we learned proper ways to handle stress.
1. Be observant
The first step in managing stress is to recognize the signs of your body’s responses to stress, such as difficulty sleeping, sudden weight fluctuations, mood swings, feeling depressed, or increased alcohol and other substance use. By identifying such stress cues, you will know when you should start taking a step back and taking action to relieve stress.
2. Talk to your healthcare provider
If you’re feeling the effects of stress, start a conversation with your healthcare provider or a health professional about your stress levels and how it is impacting your health. By seeking proper healthcare, you can prevent the escalation of dire health issues due to stress. Healthcare professionals can also provide treatments to help you if your stress is affecting your relationships or ability to work.
3. Move your body
Regular exercise has been proven to improve our overall health and sense of well-being and is also a great way to combat stress. When we exercise, we produce endorphins – chemicals in the brain that help to reduce the perception of pain and improve mood, which in turn relieves stress. Make a little exercise a daily routine; for instance, just 30 minutes per day of walking can go a long way toward stress management.
4. Try a relaxing activity
Explore and schedule time for relaxing activities like listening to music, gardening, painting or hiking in nature. You might also try yoga and meditation, which can help with focus, stress, and attitude, especially when combined with regular exercise and proper food choices.
5. Set goals and priorities
Set realistic goals and decide what must get done now and what can wait. Learn to draw boundaries by saying “no” to tasks that you cannot cope with at the moment. This can help you manage your time better and give you more breathing space.
6. Stay connected
Humans are social beings who desire human interaction by nature. Start surrounding yourself with people who can provide emotional support and practical help. You can do so by cultivating a social support network, finding people with similar interests by joining community clubs, setting up a regular workout routine with your buddies at the local gym, attending local events that interest you, or participating in
7. Ensure balanced nutrition
A balanced diet can support a healthy immune system. The largest part of the immune system – approximately 70% of it – is located near the intestines and it interacts with our intestinal microbiome. A balanced, nutritious diet provides the nutrients our cells need along with the extra energy needed to cope with stressful situations. Ensure that you are getting sufficient proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients from your diet every day.