Try these simple guidelines to helping you survive stressful times.
Stress can be a debilitating condition. It can have serious effects on your emotional and psychological well-being, making your life feel like a never-ending bad dream. Stress also has serious implications for your physical health and can play a role in development of a range of diseases and conditions…
Stress-related diseases include (but aren’t limited to):
If you are likely to be subject to highly stressful experiences or environments, it is important that you understand the symptoms of stress. This will help you self monitor and know when your stress levels are elevated and – perhaps – hamful. It is also critical you have a plan to deal with that stress once you’ve identified it. Symptoms of stress include (but are not limited to):
It is important to note that if you are experiencing ongoing stress that you do not feel capable of handling or if you are suffering sever stress symptoms, you should talk to your health professional. If your stress is work-related, it may be appropriate to talk to your manager or supervisor. For lower to intermediate levels of stress, the below potential coping mechanisms may help during times of stress.
The anxiety and tension that accompany stress can often be (at least partially) relieved by talking to a friend, councillor or doctor. Having a sympathetic ear that you can share your problems with will not only help you feel better, it can also be a useful way to identify the main causes of your stress. Thirdly, it is a great way to work out strategies on how you can mitigate the source of your stress. Having a fresh perspective on the situation can help you see past the blinders we sometimes have on during times of stress.
During stressful times, it can be enticing to have a drink (or four) to calm the nerves. Alcohol and substance abuse are common coping mechanisms in Australia. These substances may offer temporary relief from stress, but only serve to amplify stress symptoms once their effect wears off. Do your best to resist.
Finding activities that reduce stress, and forcing yourself to do them every day, is a critical stress management technique. However, the exact activities that help relieve stress will vary from person to person. If you tend to fire up and become angry or agitated during times of stress, force yourself to do an activity every day that calms you down and helps quieten you to counter that. Similarly, if you tend to become depressed or withdrawn under stress, try to make your daily stress relieving activity something that excites and stimulates you, something that energises and excites you.
There are a wide range of benefits from exercise. Exercise reduces stress. It boosts endorphins. It has a calming, mind-clearing effect similar to meditation. It boosts mood. Whilst exercise of almost any type can help reduce stress, aiming to get 45 minutes of high intensity exercise 3 times or more per week can work wonders for your ability to deal with stress.
Diet is another important way to deal with stress. When you are stressed, your body has an elevated need for vitamins and minerals, making it all the more important that you eat a variety of healthy foods to support your health. In particular, your body may need increased levels of:
– Vitamin C (oranges, red capsicum, chilli or Super Kale).
– Vitamin E (almonds, tofu, spinach, avocado)
– B Vitamins (meats, fish, poultry, milk, dark green leafy vegetables or Super Spirulina)
We always advocate eating a healthy diet over taking a multivitamin. However, during times of stress, we usually don’t have the time to create a meal plan, buy groceries and cook healthy meals. As such, a broad range multivitamin may help support your body during times of stress. Look for one that contains vitamins C & E, plus magnesium for relaxation, lemon balm (traditionally used to help rest and relaxation) and the B vitamins. Alternatively, Super Spirulina has been called “Nature’s Multivitamin” due to it’s high vitamin content. Including it in your cooking, juice, smoothies etc can give an added nutrient boost to help your body deal with increased demand during stressful times.
This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. For more information on handling stress, visit www.health365.com.au.