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In 2022, statistics on stress gathered by the American Psychological Association found that most American adults regularly experienced physical symptoms as a result of stress. Factors include the recent pandemic, inflation, and global war.
Stress is the body’s reaction to mental or physical demands. If we are not managing stress it causes a physiological process, the release of chemicals such as adrenaline, that can become magnified as more demands are placed upon the body. The stress response system has been invaluable in human ancestral survival, built to improve performance in short bursts.
Stress Can Affect Our Health
Fortunately for the human species but unfortunately for humans’ mental health states, modern stressors tend to be less dramatic than a charging bear. This chronic nature of modern, long-term stressors actually lowers performance, and over time, it can lead to devastating effects on the body, such as a weakened immune system or heart disease. We must be able to manage stress!
There Are Many Ways to Manage Stress
There are a number of ways people cope with stress, some healthier than others. How someone manages stress has major effects on how the stress affects them. Stress is simply a biological process that can result in either a positive, eustress, or negative, distress, response. As eustress, stress motivates, improves performance, and can elicit euphoria or excitement. Distress, on the other hand, occurs when individuals are overwhelmed by either large task loads or extended periods of unbroken stress, and it results in decreased performance, anxiety, and physical problems.
One’s outlook and stress management ability help to determine which of these stress states is invoked. Taking short breaks between tasks can be crucial to allowing the body to decompress and recover from stress. Breaks that include rejuvenating activities are optimal for improving how a person handles stress in the future. Luckily, there are fun and enlightening ways to manage stressful days from home or the office and get one back to their best, centered self.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Negative stress and anxiety often result from dwelling on incidents in the past, worrying about the future, or both. The practice of mindfulness relieves this stress by focusing the mind on the present moment. The philosophy is that present focus is a skill that can be developed to calm the mind and get it task-focused, rather than worry-focused.
Two of the best ways to build strength in mindfulness are through regular mindful meditation and yoga. Mindful meditation has been practiced for more than 2,500 years, helping millions handle the difficulties that come with human consciousness. At the present, there is significant scientific evidence that mindful meditation, relaxation techniques, and deep breathing not only reduce short-term stress but physically will adapt the brain to better handle future stressful situations over time. In addition, physical activity and a healthy diet will also help.
- Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness and Meditation
- How to Do Mindful Meditation
- Breath: A 30-Day Mindful Yoga Journey
- 15 Yoga Poses for Stress Relief
- Mindfulness Meditation: A Research-Proven Stress Reliever
- 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
- Analysis of Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress
- How Mindfulness Changes the Brain of Depressed Patients
- The Power of Mindfulness
- Tips for Living a Mindful Life
A critical element to cultivating eustress and relieving distress is to remember to give the mind periodic breaks. Creative outlets work wonders for providing distractions from stressful thoughts and an outlet for built-up emotions. To reduce stress, creative stress-relievers can be anything from painting to sculpture to origami. Any creative pastime that requires some amount of focus can help to moderate stress.
- How to Relieve Stress With Art Therapy
- Health and Stress-Relief Benefits of Creating Art
- Adult Coloring Pages
- How to Knit for Beginners
- 15 Mentally Soothing Do-it-Yourself Projects
- Printable Color-by-Numbers Pages for Adults
- Online Color-by-Numbers
- How to Create Homemade Stress Balls
- Origami Instructions and Diagrams
Games and Puzzles
Similar to mindfulness exercises, games and puzzles relieve stress by temporarily drawing attention away from the stressors toward a present-focused, low-risk problem. The mind loves problem-solving, and the diversion of a stress-relieving game lets it actively rejuvenate itself. Games also train the mind to see problems from new perspectives, which can be useful when finding unique solutions to potential stressors.
- Free Rice Vocabulary Game
- USA Today Daily Crossword
- Jigsaw Explorer
- Five Mindful Games to Play With Kids
- 13 Solo Card Games to Play at Home
- Count the Sheep
- Daily Online Sudoku
- Online Solitaire
Everyone’s reactions to stress are individualized to their personality, and there is no single universal fix for everyone’s mental health. It’s important for people to explore their personal anxiety triggers to determine how to transform them into positive and short-lived eustress responses. With continued work on personal growth, people can maximize their lives and learn to use stressful situations to their advantage. Seek a mental health professional to help you manage chronic stress if necessary.
- How to Identify and Address Chronic Stress
- Understanding the Fight or Flight Reaction
- Five Ways Stress Can Actually Be Good
- The Association Between Sleep Quality and Stress
- Exercise and Stress: Get Moving to Manage Stress
- Ten Signs You Need to See a Counselor
There’s no way to have stress relief every day; however, through some simple practices, you can excel at home and on the job; therefore… keeping it all under control!
- Without a doubt, your physical health can be seriously affected by long-term stress, anxiety, serious illness, not enough sleep, high blood pressure, and other unhealthy behaviors.
- Stress relief can be accomplished through good health habits, fostering your creativity, practicing mindful meditation, and more. A positive attitude does wonders!
- Finding the right support group to help you stay well and excel at graduate school is a must-have! A good family life fosters positive emotional support to lower stress levels as well.
- Self-care is important, personally and professionally. Stay away from negative thoughts and daily stress. Try not to feel overwhelmed, avoid alcohol and drugs, and practice gratitude!