Everybody feels stressed from time to time – it’s a pretty normal feeling in our modern world. Stress can make us feel overwhelmed and panicked when trying to deal with tough and complicated situations.
As humans stress is our natural response to feeling under pressure and can be trigged for many different reasons. However, according to the Mental Health Foundation stress is often brought on when we’re faced with something new or unexpected that we have little control over or threatens our sense of security.
People tend to experience different symptoms when feeling stressed, some of these include:
- Depression or anxiety,
- Anger, feeling irritable or restlessness,
- Feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated,
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much,
- Memory loss or problems keeping concentration,
- Making bad decisions
So, if you experience symptoms of stress – whether it’s your workload, your personal life, or financially – it’s important you find ways to manage it. As part of Stress Awareness Month, we’ve put together some coping strategies for dealing with the overwhelming pressure of being stuck in a stressful situation.
1. Focus on Mindfulness and the Power of Positivity
When stressed or overwhelmed it’s easy to focus on the worst-case scenario, which can be catastrophic to your mental health and only increase the feelings of anxiety and panic.
By switching up your thought process and taking a few minutes to focus on the positives when you feel overwhelmed. This may seem a bit hard when you’re already feeling stressed – but think about the opportunities that can occur and avoid asking yourself “But, what if…?”
For example, if you’re stressed about a presentation or new task you have to complete at work – think that it’s a learning opportunity that you can add to your skillset. By remaining positive in even the most stressful situations you will trick your brain into staying calm.
2. Fresh Air can Help to Calm Feelings of Stress
Taking a walk outdoors and getting some gentle exercise will help your body to produce those “feel-good” endorphins which can help to clear your mind. Outdoor exercise is best, however, if feel like you simply don’t have the time a 10-minute body workout will also do the trick.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of the outdoors, it’s vital for your mental wellbeing and causes a pleasant distraction from everyday worries in a calm environment.
3. Eating Well & Getting Rest is Good for Stress
We don’t need to tell you how important getting a good night’s rest is – but often, stress can bring insomnia, which causes a repetitive cycle of not sleeping and then feeling worse. You can try and combat this by creating a nighttime routine to help you unwind. Try a diffuser with lavender essential oils to promote a calm and relaxing atmosphere.
When it comes to food, it’s easy to choose meals that don’t tick all nutritional boxes and can be high in fat and carbohydrates when we’re stressed. Factor in time to cook yourself something which is high in vitamins and minerals. Specifically, food that’s high in magnesium – which is dramatically depleted in times of stress – like dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
4. Disconnect from the World for a Little While
Taking time away from your mobile phone and laptop can seriously help to keep stress under control.
Now, depending on how your mobile phone impacts your stress levels – maybe it could be your job, the pressure of being perfect on social media, or even receiving a never-ending stream of notifications? It might be worth not only putting your phone to the side – but turning it off completely – or at least downloading an app that suspends your activity on social media for a set amount of time.
If this seems like an impossible task, remember that just because our phone provides constant communication 24/7 – it does not mean that you have to make yourself available at all hours of the day! You’re human – and can take some time away to relax and appreciate your own time. Maybe start on the times where you’re less likely to be contacted – like a Sunday morning or Friday evening.
5. Don’t Tackle Stress by Yourself
As much as you may think you can deal with everything by yourself – a problem shared, is a problem halved. Recognising that you could do with some support is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. So, tap into your support system and unload some of your worries with the people who are helpful and genuinely have your best interests at heart.
Often, when your friends or family are not directly involved with the stressful situation, they’re able to see solutions and help you prioritise – something that’s much harder to do when you’re at full capacity and trying to juggle everything.
6. Meditation can Help You to Relax
When we say meditation – we don’t mean sitting on the floor cross-legged, chanting “om”, with incense burning (although, if you want to do that, then go for it!) – we mean, finding a quiet, comfortable place where you can close your eyes for a few minutes and just focus on your breathing.
Meditation is a proven form of relaxation and has been practised for thousands of years. It’s been found that it can alter the brain over time so you can manage your emotions much more easily. For a proper guide to meditating – check out YouTube videos and apps like Headspace and Calm – which can teach you to meditate and guide you through breathing exercises to help you to unwind.
Combat Stress by Choosing Healthy Habits
You will never be able to control everything which is thrown your way, but you can take steps to stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed and trapped into negative thinking. By making the effort to practice the points mentioned above, the next time you feel stressed you should be better equipped to deal with the pressure of life.