5 Effective Suggestions to Gain Control of Stress

Written by 
Dana Rockwell, BS, MBA

Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives.  In general, stress is a physical or emotional response to demand. Individuals have daily demands with work, school, family, and household responsibilities.  Any demand can be considered a stressor.  While in college, I recall taking a Stress Management course as an elective. I found the course extremely informative as it taught me common facts about stress, the body's physical and emotional reaction to stress, and healthy coping mechanisms.

According to a survey conducted in 2018, 85% of UK adults are experiencing stress on a regular basis.  The same survey determined that one-third of UK adults feel stressed one whole 24 hour period per week.  Stress over time can lead to chronic health crises and conditions. On a positive note, with dedication and effort, individuals can learn to manage stress.  The UK recognizes the month of April as National Stress Awareness Month.   To celebrate, we've prepared five effective suggestions that can help individuals gain control of stress.   

Good Stress vs. Bad Stress 

Not all stress is bad.  Eustress is positive stress. Moving, a job promotion, and getting married are examples of good stress.  Eustress is described as a feeling of excitement or burst of energy.  It is a healthy response.  Bad stress or negative stress is distress.  Examples include death, injury, and abuse.  It is important to be able to differentiate between the two.  Learning about stressors and triggers will help.  

Learn Stress Triggers - Learning what triggers your stress should be first and foremost in order to succeed in stress management. Ask yourself what are your stressors? Stressors can be a work or school deadline, an upcoming financial obligation, or the fear of flying. Grab a pen and make a list of your stressors. Once you identify each stressor make a plan on how you can gradually reduce the pressure and feeling of being overwhelmed or burdened with worry. 

Get More Sleep - The proper amount of sleep is essential for our health and well-being. According to various experts in the UK, the ideal amount of sleep varies by age.  A newborn requires approximately 14 hours of sleep while an adult 65 years of age or older should sleep at least 7-8 hours. When stress is out of control, it can negatively affect sleep patterns and lead to chronic insomnia.  Develop a healthy sleep routine to avoid interrupted sleep patterns. Simple things like listening to relaxing music, taking a bath with essential oils, changing into comfortable pajamas, and putting away all electronic devices can help. 

Rid Your Life of Bad Habits - It is natural to have bad habits.  People respond to stress by taking several smoking breaks throughout the day or perhaps attending Happy Hour with co-workers after work. They associate smoking and drinking with relaxation.  Learn new habits.  For example, if you are a smoker, you can replace smoking with vaping as the healthier alternative. Vaping has become extremely popular all around the world.  Some consider vaping a hobby as you are able to collect and design different units according to preference. There are also various vaping flavors with a choice of nicotine level. 

Exercise - Stress is known to negatively impact many systems throughout the body, including the endocrine system.  Exercise acts as a stress reliever improving both mind and body. If you believe you're too stressed or busy to fit in exercise, you're wrong. It will help, not hurt you. It increases the production of endorphins or the "feel-good" hormones leading to a better mood and less anxiety. Exercise should be a part of a solid stress management plan.  

Say "NO" often - We live in a world of high demand and expectations.  People pleasing needs to be avoided at all costs.  People pleasers never say "NO" and spread themselves too thin leading to added stress.  Set healthy boundaries in all areas of life.  Saying "NO" is your right.  Don't confuse saying "NO" with being mean. I had the liberty of attending a seminar a while back, the guest speaker was Suzy Welch, a highly recognized business management author.  Saying "NO" can be done respectfully and ultimately lead to less stressful days.     

Some other coping skills include time management, participating in regular self-care, and maintaining an optimistic attitude.  Being proactive and utilizing the 5 suggestions will help to reduce stress and enhance overall health and well-being.   

365 Days of Health & Fitness would like to hear directly from you.  What are some ways you cope with stress?  

Author Bio:  Dana has over 10 years experience in the healthcare sector including management experience.  She holds her MBA from the University of Maryland U.C. and her BS in Psychology. Striving to motivate others to find their true potential, Dana is currently pursuing an additional degree in Human Services with a focus on alcohol and drug addiction. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, blogging, and watching movies.  Click to view her LinkedIn profile.  


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