17 ways to avoid stress
With prolonged exposure, stress triggers a cascade of physiological reactions that negatively affect health. Heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature increase. All this can lead to problems with the heart and blood vessels, exacerbation of chronic diseases, reduced immunity.
Knowing how to cope with the normal stresses of life can help maintain strength and a positive attitude for productive work and communication with loved ones. Below are recommendations that will help to get rid of stress.
1. Know your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone
Elevated cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, diabetes mellitus, decreased vision, decreased testosterone levels, decreased ability to metabolize calcium and collagen synthesis, and increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
2. Get enough sleep
An adult needs at least 8 hours of sleep. Go to bed on time, because during the night hours several vital hormones are produced: growth hormone (somatotropin), sex hormones, hormones controlling hunger and appetite (ghrelin/leptin).
Or, if possible, reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke. Nicotine provokes an increase in cortisol levels in the blood.
4. Do not drink alcohol: it is not a way to relax, but an additional burden for the body.
Alcohol-containing drinks lead to a loss of vitamins and antioxidants, which intensifies oxidative reactions. This affects the skin – it becomes less elastic, uneven. As a result, your face looks puffy and you look a few years older.
5. Don’t overindulge in vitamins.
It’s true that during stress, some of the vitamins and minerals are quickly used up. However, it is advisable to take vitamins and minerals only after performing tests. To find out which macro and microelements are missing, perform a comprehensive examination at CITILAB: Vitamin and mineral complex “Health Source”.
6. 6. Sign up for an aroma massage
Or do an aromatherapy session at home. Choose essential oils of lavender, chamomile, basil, cedar, sage, hyssop – they have a calming effect on the nervous system. Read about which oils will help relieve stress and cheer up, as well as how to use them correctly, in this article.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
At least one glass before breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
8. Try floating.
This is a relaxation procedure in a special pool of salt water, creating an effect of weightlessness. The session helps relieve muscle tension, back and joint pain, and relieves the nervous system.
9. Do a lymphatic drainage massage.
You can use a body brush made of, for example, cactus or natural bristles. Dry body massage improves blood circulation, the outflow of lymph, in which metabolic products accumulate.
Meditation has been proven to have a pronounced therapeutic effect – it normalizes blood pressure, improves sleep, increases efficiency and increases stress tolerance.
11. Practice breathing exercises
Breathing is the key to health. Most often when stressed, there is shallow breathing, holding your breath. If you feel that the tension is growing – take 10 slow deep breaths and exhalations.
12. Exercise or fitness
You don’t have to work out every day until you are exhausted. 35-45 minutes 2-3 times a week is enough. If you are a beginner, do the Sport Basic test at CITILAB. The analysis will help test your body for fitness readiness.
13. Get a pet.
There are studies that have proven the positive effects of socializing with pets, especially cats and dogs.
Relieve stress, especially after a hard day’s work, a conversation with a beloved friend will help. Laugh, gossip, and make plans to get together!
15. Change the scenery
Don’t spend the weekend on the couch, go to an exhibition, concert or lecture. New experiences are a great stress preventative.
Dance movements promote the production of happy hormones – endorphins. The effect of a lesson is like a chocolate bar, only without the extra calories!
17. Have a check-up.
If you do not know how to cope with stress, everything falls out of your hands, you have no energy to work – perhaps you should perform a body checkup. The doctors at CITILAB have developed a special profile that will help you find out the cause of your ill health: “Annual Examination” (25 indicators).
How to fight stress
Achievements of scientific and technological progress, accelerated rhythm of life require more mental effort. Overwhelming information flows, rapid changes in society, increasing multitasking turn into constant tension, which depletes mental and physical resources. To withstand the stressful conditions, many begin taking antidepressants, tranquilizers, which are not without side effects. Psychologists recommend safer, but effective methods of maintaining the psychophysiological state. About how to combat stress without harm to health, we will tell in this article.
What is stress?
The concept of “stress” was introduced into medicine at the beginning of the last century by American physiologist W. Cannon. The doctor denoted with one succinct word a nonspecific adaptive response of the body to neuro-psychological overload. In the post-war years Cannon’s research was continued by his student (Canadian endocrinologist H. Selye), and by the end of the XX century the study of stress conditions and their consequences acquired a worldwide scale.
Stress can be both positive and negative. In the first case it is eustress – a bright positive event, which passes without complications for the body, charges positive, ends with relaxation. In the second case we are talking about distress – prolonged tension of the nervous system, the accumulation of negative emotions. Such a condition negatively affects the entire body, which is due to the close connection between the mental component and the somatic component. Permanent stress often leads to psycho-emotional dysfunctions, addictions, development of chronic diseases.
It is established that the inhabitants of megapolises, persons with a labile psyche, teenagers, people of the advanced age are more exposed to nervous and mental overload.
Causes of stress reactions
Stress is caused by neuropsychological overload and psychotraumatic situations. The more attention a person pays to his problems, the more it affects his mental and somatic health.
The main provoking factors include:
- Psychotraumas. For example, the news of an incurable illness, the death of a loved one, bankruptcy, loss of property, a difficult divorce process.
- Workaholism. Regardless of the type of work (mental or physical), non-stop regime leads to burnout, chronic stress.
- Physical injuries – car accidents, injuries, assaults, surgeries, as a result of which a person becomes incapacitated.
- Unresolved or slowly resolved problems – financial and housing difficulties, illness of relatives, protracted litigation, long treatment or rehabilitation.
- Problems in the family and society – constant tension in marital relations, conflicts with colleagues, superiors, neighbors, and acquaintances.
- Age Crisis. Stress reactions, especially in women, cause age-related changes.
- Adaptation situation – moving to another city, job changes, changes in living conditions, etc.
Psychiatrists and psychologists separately consider variants of violence, which often lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Signs and Symptoms
Psycho-emotional stress affects a person’s behavior. Some people feel anxiety, overexcitement (similar to a fugiform reaction), become anxious, irritable, sometimes aggressive. Others withdraw into themselves, become depressed, and begin to behave in a detached manner. Why does this happen? The response to stress depends on the initial state of health and personality accentuation – personal vulnerability to the influence of various psychogenic factors.
The stress response affects the brain, nervous system, and internal organs. This is due to increased production of adrenaline and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. In a shock situation, the level of adrenaline rises rapidly, forcing a lightning-fast “hit or run” decision. However, after a while the hormone returns to normal. In chronic stress, blood levels of adrenaline are constantly elevated, leading to physiological and mental malfunctions.
- insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks;
- muscle tension;
- intermittent dizziness;
- tremors in the extremities;
- decreased immunity;
- impaired cognitive function.
A person becomes distracted, capricious, tearful, his mood constantly changes, there is a feeling of uselessness.
Stress is dangerous to health.
A disturbed hormonal background threatens the development of diseases such as
- hypertension with the possibility of a stroke;
- arrhythmia, coronary heart disease;
- functional disorders of the adrenal cortex, the formation of pheochromocytoma (hormone-active tumor);
- metabolic disorders, thyroid gland malfunction;
- stress ulcers of the stomach;
- chronic fatigue syndrome;
- erectile dysfunction, NOMC (disorders of the ovarian and menstrual cycle).
Constant anxiety leads to mental health disorders. Such conditions develop:
- Psychogenic depression. The main postulates are hopelessness, senselessness. The past arouses disgust, the future seems unpromising, the present has no sense.
- Mental disorders – anhedonia (loss of ability to rejoice), abulia (decrease in volitional qualities), anorexia nervosa.
- Phobias – futurophobia (fear of the future), sociophobia (fear of people), neophobia (fear of change and everything new).
- Affective disorders of the severity, adequacy and stability of emotions.
Suicidal ideation is not uncommon with distress. The desire to leave problems and relieve stress turns into alcohol or drug addiction.
Ways to combat it
It is necessary to understand why emotions are out of control, and to accept the reason for the stress reaction. To do this, it is recommended to analyze your feelings, thoughts, confess your desires, and regain lost feelings. It is quite difficult to do this on your own. With chronic stress, professional help is needed. Classes with a psychotherapist include cognitive therapy, Gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, therapy of personal growth.
If the condition has not reached a critical point, well help independent ways to combat stress. Their goal is the superficial processing of negative emotions (according to the “here and now” principle). Psychologists recommend:
- Writing down thoughts when an emotional wave hits. Reading through what you have written after some time, you can better understand the problem, separating the main from the secondary.
- Clean the house regularly. Confusion in things is reflected by confusion in thoughts and feelings.
- Take vitamins for the nervous system and multivitamin complexes. Distress depletes the body, so you need to replenish lost nutrients.
- Maximize physical activity. Sports distract from worries, regular exercise speeds up blood circulation, reduces the level of adrenaline in the blood.
- Master mindfulness – the art of attention management, presence in the present moment. It helps to reduce anxiety, not to succumb to emotional outbursts, reflex reactions.
- Take herbal teas at night. Phytotherapy has long been shown to be highly effective.
- Do breathing exercises. Exercises are good for relaxation, normalize heart activity, and speed up the metabolism.
- Use aromatherapy products. Aromas of different essential oils can cheer you up, lift your spirits, encourage action or, conversely, calm you down, set you up for a pleasant rest.
- Find time for hobbies. Long-abandoned or new hobbies will help switch from negative to positive.
- Communicate with relatives and friends. Vocal and listened to the problem – the first step to its solution.
- Don’t give up something that gives joy and pleasure. In periods of emotional instability, it is important to receive positive emotions.
Women in this matter well help shopping – buying new clothes, cosmetics or household goods.
Shall we dance?
One effective way to combat stress is to do random dance movements to your favorite music. Together with energy, worries, fears and excitement escape.
During stress, muscle tone increases. Consider a few simple exercises for the relaxation of the muscular apparatus:
- Starting position – sitting on the floor with legs wide apart. Put your left hand on your right side, inhale deeply, lift your right hand vertically and swing it from side to side. Repeat with the other arm.
- Initial position is lying on back. Lift your legs, bend at the knees, pull them to the chest and put your arms around them. Start rocking slowly, keeping the body position.
- Starting position is sitting, feet together. Raise your hands up, slowly bend forward. Reach your hands to your feet, trying to “fold” in half.
It is important not to make sudden movements, and to do the exercises in a leisurely rhythm (smoothly).
From the tools you need only an alarm clock:
- For a minute, watch how the second hand moves, without being distracted by sounds, thoughts, emotions, feelings.
- Set the alarm for a random daily time. When it rings, we stop, distract ourselves, and mentally answer the questions: “Where am I? What do I hear? What do I see? What emotions am I experiencing? What does my body feel?”
Exercise helps you “dive out” of the turmoil, focus, calm down, and reduce anxiety.
In dealing with stress, it is important to learn how to shift attention from negative emotions to positive ones, and to rest regularly. One should not exclude sports, walks, hobbies, socializing with friends, and things that bring joy.