5 Ways To Prevent Stress And Lead A Healthier Life by Lili Stebbings
In today’s world, stress has become all too common for most. Whether it’s the constant pressures of work, rising living costs or even just watching the news, it seems stress-inducing situations are all around us.
It’s also something that’s followed me in my personal life. Have you ever had the sensation that you’re trying to keep your head above water? A racing heart? Overheating? Or being unable to focus? Me too.
National Stress Awareness Day, which is celebrated on the first Wednesday of November every year, is a great reminder that you don’t have to suffer in silence when it comes to dealing with stress.
Although it’s hard to believe, not all stress is bad. In fact, short-lived stress can act as a motivator, help us avoid dangerous situations, and enable us to meet deadlines. Too much constant stress however, can be a burden on our mental and physical health, and have a lasting impact on our wellbeing.
So, in order to cope with the day-to-day, the key to managing and preventing stress is to have measures and strategies in place so that we don’t feel like a duck out of water when unexpected situations arise.
But in order to know how we can manage stress, we first need to understand what stress is.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a natural response to situations that we deem challenging or threatening. It’s a way of describing the worry or tension we feel towards these situations that in turn causes a sense of urgency or unsettlement. When we’re stressed, our fight-or-flight response is activated which then releases the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. This creates physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle tension, and an inability to concentrate. Triggers can vary from person to person, however, some common causes include work, finances, relationship problems, family life, and unrealistic expectations.
How to Prevent Stress
You may think stressful situations are often out of our control, however, that’s not necessarily true. Stress can often occur when we haven’t found the right strategies and coping mechanisms to manage the things going on in our lives.
Thankfully, there are a number of things we can do to prevent ourselves from getting stressed and build our resilience for when unexpected situations arise.
I think it’s safe to say that a lack of time is the cause of many stressful situations. Leaving things until the last minute, being worried that we’re not going to complete tasks on time, or missing deadlines can often send us into panic mode.
So, instead of rushing through tasks, set yourself realistic goals, only taking on what you can manage and then prioritise tasks in order of urgency. Creating a schedule in your calendar or notebook is a great way to lay out everything that needs doing, and allow yourself the space to plan and organise your day.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
When we feel deflated, tired, and have no energy, it affects our productivity levels. Making sure you eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated can really improve our resilience when it comes to facing the day.
Not setting clear boundaries is a recipe for disaster when it comes to protecting your mental health. Without boundaries, miscommunication can start to appear and you may find yourself taking on more work than you can handle. By learning to say no when necessary, you allow yourself the time to complete tasks to the best of your ability, without rushing.
Establishing boundaries is also important in your personal life when it comes to self-care. Not committing yourself to too many plans and instead taking time out to sit quietly, go for a walk, take a bath, or do something for yourself can help you take a step back, recharge and destress.
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to check in with yourself. Exercises such as deep breathing or meditation can help you to stay present and reduce anxiety. Taking just 5 or 10 minutes out of your day to do a mindfulness exercise can help you handle unexpected situations more effectively in the long run.
As the saying goes ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Having others around us who we trust and can lean on is crucial when it comes to dealing with challenging or stressful situations. Talking to our family and friends about difficult situations can sometimes offer a different perspective and give us the emotional support we need to get through challenging times.
Stress is inevitable for pretty much everyone. It’s a natural response to the changes that happen throughout our lives, however, stress can be unhelpful, impact and affect us when it’s no longer needed or arise in situations that pose no threat. Applying these strategies to our everyday life can help us regulate our emotions and better prepare for unexpected changes.
Do you have any methods you rely on when it comes to preventing stress? Be sure to leave your tips in the comments below. Or, if you think these strategies could help someone you know, give this a share, and let’s make the world a less stressful place!
About the author
Lili Stebbings is a freelance writer for emotional wellness and employee wellbeing companies. Starting out as a journalist writing for local and national newspapers, she went on to start her own writing business, using the skills she’d learned in the newsroom and taking inspiration from her own personal experiences to uplift, educate and inspire others.
You can follow her on LinkedIn here or email her at email@example.com.