Three Ways to Beat Stress
When our bodies are stressed, it releases the hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which then boosts blood sugar and heart rate, allowing your body to respond. Stresses aren’t always from bad things! Good stresses like having more responsibilities after a promotion, buying a car, or getting a puppy are part of daily life. How our body interprets them has a lot to do with the brain.
Adults and young adults alike are reporting higher levels of stress over the last few years based on this study by the American Psychological Association. What can we do about it?
Three Ways to Destress
You don’t have to go all out to enjoy the benefits of moving more. We know the recommendation of getting 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise to maintain a healthy heart. What about managing stress? Finding ways you connect with working up a sweat that also relieving tension helps you by releasing happy hormones known as endorphins as well as improve sleep and overall cognitive function.
It’s not just for kids! Having ways to focus on a subject without interruption helps relieve stress by providing perspective in general, resetting the ol’ brain to look at problems and interactions in other ways. Making things, particularly with your hands, is another way to concentrate on one singular thing, keeping your worries at bay, and allowing yourself to take a break without actually sleeping. Studies are being done on how being creative helps relieve tension and stress. The hippies were onto something!
Removing from Situation
Some people get very anxious in specific situations. A way to take a step back and reset is to physically remove yourself from a situation, even if it’s just a mental one. That means changing your surroundings if you’ve having a tough time figuring out a problem or replaying a bad interaction over and over.
Try taking a walk, taking a shower, meeting up with a friend; even just going into a different room in your home may make a difference. In this experiment regarding drug addiction, giving the lab rats new surroundings with a better, different environment decreased their need for the drug they were seeking. Even with little rats, having a change in their environment can help the cut down on negative habits.
If you find you are struggling to do it on your own, get help from a friend or a professional like a therapist or psychologist. My personal favorite are those trained in cognitive behavior therapy: it helps you learn ways to take care of your well-being in a positive manner! However stress affects you, take time to find ways each day to level yourself out and keep you moving forward.
Americans Are Getting More Stressed Out, Study Finds by Daniel White [Time]
Better Sleep Found by Exercising on a Regular Basis: Exercise improves sleep, but it takes time to reap the benefits. by Michael J Breus, PhD [Psychology Today]
The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A review of Current Literature by Heather L. Stuckey, Did and Jeremy Nobel, MD, MPH [US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health]
The Effects of Stress on Your Body [WebMD]
Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress: Exercise in almost any form can act as a stess reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries. [Mayo Clinic]
How Reading Books Reduces Stress and Makes You Smarter at the Same Time by Emma Siemasko [Entreprenur]
the likely Cause of Addiction Has been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think by Johann Hari [Huffington Post]
The Most Stressed Out Generation? Young Adults by Alexandra Sifferlin [Time]
Physical Activity Reduces Stress [Anxiety and Depression Association of America]
Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior by Mayo Clinic Staff [Mayo Clinic]
What is Cognitive Behavior Therapy? [Beck Cognitive Behavior Therapy]
What Happens to Your Body When You’re Stressed: When your car dies or a deadline looms, it triggers a chain reaction by Brooke Borel [Popular Science]