How to better manage stress

January 4, 2022

Many people experience stress and anxiety, but few seek out stress management techniques that work. Many people experience stress and anxiety, but few seek out stress management techniques that work. According to The American Psychological Association (APA), almost half of those struggling with stress say it affects their behavior. Daily life has become more hectic and we’re all competing with worries about our finances, work-life balance, our health, and everything else which is going on. Our resilience to stress is also decreasing. If you’re feeling a sufferer, it’s important to understand how to manage stress and anxiety, what triggers it, and deploy stress management strategies for stress relief.

So, how do you manage stress? Here we’re going to explore how to manage stress in life and regain control by making some simple lifestyle changes in order to improve your wellbeing. If you’re feeling the pressure, it’s important to understand what triggers it and deploy coping strategies for stress.

What is stress?

A high level of stress is a very common mental health condition, so never feel you’re alone in this experience. The APA has found that Covid has increased stress levels across the nation, and Covid is just one factor and has sparked a discourse on how to manage stress and anxiety. Most of us will experience stress at some point in our lives and, at its worst, it can be debilitating. From juggling childcare to unexpected bills and expenses, the world can throw a lot at you and make it feel like a challenge coping with day-to-day life, and that's why we sometimes need coping strategies for stress.

How do you manage stress? It’s all too easy to overlook the symptoms of stress and think there aren’t enough hours in the day to just focus on yourself and your own mental health. Signs you’re stressed might include racing thoughts, disturbed sleep, difficulty focusing and meditating, a drop in productivity, and feeling like you’re on edge all the time. At its most extreme, you may also experience the physical effects of stress, things like a racing heart or palpitations, shortness of breath, and tightness in your chest. There are, however, stress management techniques you can use to help build resilience. So, let's explore what is good for stress release.

How to manage stress in life

It’s important to find stress management techniques or coping strategies for stress that work for you because we’re all individuals and all cope in different ways. If you’re interested in how to manage stress and anxiety, here are a few areas you should concentrate on.

Healthy eating

There’s increasing evidence of the link between mood and food, so what you’re eating becomes all the more important if you’re stressed. You need to ensure your diet contains all the essential vitamins and minerals which are needed for good brain health. Eating plenty of leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts, oily fish, beans and pulses will help, as will increasing the amount of water you drink to stay hydrated.

Also, consider your gut microbiome. In recent years, scientists have found the gut ‘speaks’ to the brain through the gut-brain axis and influences how we feel, so ensuring you have enough good gut bacteria can make a profound difference when it comes to stress relief. Fermented foods such as kimchi or sauerkraut contain live microbes which boost gut health, and high fiber vegetables, raw milk cheeses, unsweetened yogurt, and soybean-based products are all great for the gut too.

Exercise - how does exercise reduce stress?

Exercise is one of the best stress relief techniques out there, and it doesn’t have to be high-intensity. If you’re not keen on hitting the gym for a workout, then simply going for a walk or hopping on a bike is more than good enough. It’s the act of escaping whatever is triggering your stress and clearing your mind, leaving you feeling refreshed. So how does exercise reduce stress?

Exercise of any kind releases positive endorphins in the brain which lift our mood. The ‘happy hormone’ serotonin floods the body when you engage in exercise, even if it's just strolling to school to pick up the kids or taking part in a yoga or Pilates class. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll feel the good vibes kick in almost immediately.

Improve your sleep

Over 35% of American adults admit to getting less than the average 7 hours a night. When we’re stressed, sleep often suffers. You may lie awake for hours wrestling with your problems, your mind just too busy to let you drift off. If that’s the case, it might be time to look at your sleep routine and make a few changes to improve your sleep hygiene.

Try to step away from all screens at least half an hour before you want to go to bed, and that includes your phone. The glare of blue light from screens can disrupt your natural circadian rhythm, making it even harder to get to sleep. There are a few more stress relief techniques you can try before bed. You could also try pillow sprays that contain lavender, which is known to have a calming effect and can be incredibly soothing. A warm, non-caffeinated drink can have a similar effect too.

Be kind to yourself

What is good for stress release? How do you manage stress? How to manage stress and anxiety? How to manage stress in life? These are questions we all ask ourselves. Many of us who experience extreme stress spend our lives putting others first and making sure we keep on top of our responsibilities. Yes, that’s important, but so too is looking after yourself and sometimes you need to come first. It’s the whole thing about putting on your own oxygen mask before you help others. Trying to be 'perfect' means you're at a greater risk of developing stress.

However busy you are, make space in your schedule to focus on yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. Whether you just want a soak in the bath or half an hour curled up with a good book, find something you enjoy and take a little me-time. You’ll feel like a better person for it.

Let us help

These are just some coping strategies for stress, but if you need a helping hand, we're here for you. We know what is good for stress release and can help set you on the right track for a more relaxed and fulfilling life. Simply download and explore Stitch today, to start understanding your experience of stress and how you can get it under control.

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