Identifying, Preventing, and/or Managing Stress

It’s that time of year when our checklist doubles and, for most people, stress levels double too.

Stress can take on a nearly impossible number of forms. That is because stress means something different to everyone. From responsibilities at home to work to taking care of children, everything in your life is a potential source of stress. Some of these sources may not even be a factor for others.

Not only can stress take thousands of different forms, but how it affects any individual also varies. Cooking healthy meals for your family may be easy for you, but that task might be a source of anxiety for another person. Everyone also has different stress management systems, but those that work for you may not work for others. Because of this, symptoms of stress can vary.

Not all stress is bad, however. In small doses, it can be a great motivator. This positive stress is more a motivation to get things done rather than a cause of anxiety. Our bodies are specifically designed to handle small doses of stress, which can be seen through the importance of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Unfortunately, we cannot tolerate long-term, chronic stress without physical, mental, and emotional consequences.

There are quite a few different stress types. These include emotional, physical, and cognitive. Each of these types is affected by other aspects of your life, and each can be overworked to the point where you are experiencing a negative impact on your health. This is usually because of chronic stress. This is a severe illness that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ve outlined some of the most common symptoms for each type below:

Emotional symptoms of stress include:

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody.
  • Feeling tired, depressed, and anxious.
  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control.
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind.

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Low energy.
  • Headaches.
  • Aches, pains, and muscle tension.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet.
  • Clenched jaw and grinding teeth.

Cognitive (Mental) symptoms of stress include:

  • Constant worrying.
  • Racing thoughts.
  • Forgetfulness and disorganization.
  • Inability to focus.

Noticing these symptoms of stress within yourself can be overwhelming at first. But it would be best not to worry about it as that will only worsen the problem. Taking time for stress relief will significantly improve your wellbeing.

6 Ways To Help Manage Stress

Just as there are many ways for chronic stress to manifest in your body, there are also many ways that can actively help you lower its levels in your body. Remember, though, that what works for others may not always work for you. The key is to find methods that fit your personal needs.

From practicing deep breathing techniques to positive self-talk, finding a method that works for you is a matter of trial and error. Some treatments are consistently effective in reducing stress. Lifestyle changes are more readily available and, when dealing with long-term stress, can be more of a permanent fix for your mental health. We’ve outlined some of the best and easiest ways to manage and cope with stress below:

1. Set aside time each morning to sit quietly and breathe. All it takes is 5 minutes a day to get your mind and body relaxed, helping with mental health. If you are currently suffering from chronic stress, you may not be able to fully disconnect your thoughts from what is affecting you. If this is the case, sitting outside in a quiet place and practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques will help relieve stress even more!

2. Write down three things you are grateful for each day. Studies have shown that people who do this regularly experience fewer symptoms of stress. It’s a quick thing to do for your health.

3. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity is great for your mind and your body. No one can dispute the mental and physical benefits of exercise. It does not matter what you do as long as you exercise your body. Find an activity that gets your body moving and do it regularly. You can even start by doing push-ups and squats at your desk at work, taking a walk around the office, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Lower your muscle tension by getting your blood flowing!

4. Make time for yourself before you feel stressed. This can include carving out time in your daily schedule for something you enjoy. You are important. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

5. Look up and smile throughout the day. A simple smile can release dopamine into your brain, causing a relaxation response. Try it now! You will feel better just by doing this simple act, and a lot better if you take the time to smile more.

6. Have a craniosacral session.

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, non-invasive form of bodywork that addresses the bones of the head, spinal column, and sacrum. The goal is to release compression in areas that alleviate stress and pain. Effects have been known to last for weeks after a therapy session. Having craniosacral treatment by a trained professional is relaxing and therapeutic.

Craniosacral therapy offers many benefits aside from alleviating stress. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Decreasing chronic and acute pain from a variety of causes.
  • Improving the immune system function and assisting in fighting infections.
  • Release of tissue and bone restrictions, improving mobility.
  • Enhancing your overall relaxation and revitalization of your mind and body.
  • Taking care of yourself increases your ability to withstand stress. It allows you to enjoy each day and live life to its fullest!

If you’re noticing chronic or excessive stress, adding one or more of the above mentioned techniques is vital. One of An Optimal You’s incredible health and wellness partners is a craniosacral therapist! Sandra Scutelnicu offers 30-minute sessions of this amazing treatment for only $50. If you wish to experience the benefits of craniosacral therapy for yourself, what are you waiting for? Call (951) 319-7819 to set up your appointment!

Posted In - Mental Health