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Medication Free Tips to Help Reduce Overwhelming Stress

Updated on October 20, 2014
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What is Stress?

Common terms, “stress” and “stressors,” are used and countless times interchangeably, yet they have different meanings. Stress is a natural feeling when under immediate pressure, whereas the stressor is the object (event, situation, person, etc.) that is triggering the stress reaction. Despite stress being absolutely normal and in many cases, a good thing, moderation is fundamental.

Identify what is stressing you

One might ask, “What is this feeling all about?” However, changing the unknown is unequivocally impossible, so first of all one must sit down and have a heart-to-heart about life. Once the culprit(s) can be identified the true work can begin. Being able to make a list of stressors can be a helpful tool as you can make a column of changeable and unchangeable stress.

Different Types of Stress

Changeable Stress
Unchangeable Stress
Working A lot
Death in family
Overwhelmed by household chores
Car breaks down
Homework assignments piling up
Failed test

Physiological Effects of Stress

Stress attacks the body in multiple ways and can be a silent but very harmful. Learning to reduce the stress that occurs in your life can help you to regain many bodily functions that you were unaware of giving up. Recognize how stress can affect your body by the following:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing
  • Slower digestion
  • Increase in pulse
  • Lowered immune system
  • Tense muscles
  • Sleep issues

If you cannot change it, accept it

Ask yourself when you are stressed about a particular event, person or situation – can this be changed? For example, you may have just lost your job. I must agree, I would be stressed. However, can you get your job back? No. So what can you do. Accept that this is an unforeseen situation and it is alright to acknowledge that it is a crappy situation. Yet, dwelling on the circumstances around losing your job Is not helpful in getting a new one and it surely will not pay any bills. By accepting that it is crappy and moving one has the potential of leading you toward a positive outlook and will certainly help to get a new job. Has anything positive ever occurred with a negative mindset. Likely, NO.

You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.

— Steve Maraboli

Learn to accept the uncontrollable life events

Can you take back that you tripped walking down the sidewalk. No. So by understanding the human quality about yourself equals – mistakes and uncontrolled circumstances. Control is an illusion in our minds and leads us to actually believe that we have power over something. Yes, you may have good intentions trying to making it to your kids school on time for little Johnny’s first play but how were you to know that a huge accident had the whole freeway shut down. Yes in today’s technological world one may say that everything has an app and so I should not get stuck in traffic. Despite that fact, things still occur in this world that are sudden and thereby uncontrollable. Once you have learned acceptance and the ability to check and lower your expectations of yourself and others, there are ways to accomplish lowered stress.

Reduce Stress In Your Life

1. Set a schedule

Many times what adds to stress is disorganization. Can you feel your pulse rise when at the last minute you remember that tonight is that very important dinner meeting with a potential client you are so excited to knock their socks off. Well without a schedule you may miss that important date. As I mentioned above, there is an app for everything. So, yes there are many “schedule” related apps. The nice feature offered with a schedule allows you to recognize where you can fit self-care time in and if you in fact have more projects and obligations than time. Also, a schedule can help to prioritize important obligations. Now you have realized that there are not enough hours in a day, what to do now.

2. Delegate

Why should you be the only one stressed. If you are part of a family system, use it. Formulate a family schedule that allows others in your personal world to prioritize as well. This helps children in many ways. First off, they learn how to manage time and reduce the amount of unnecessary stress and anxiety that they may feel. Also, it is all right to demonstrate to others that you are important and should be able to reward yourself with some self-care, however that is not possible if you have no time. Therefore, delegate, delegate, delegate.

3. Self-Care

Ok, now that you have a schedule, lets plan some self-care time. Yes, put that right in your schedule so no other priorities can take its place. This means just what it says, do something for yourself and the purpose is to reduce stress and regain control over your internal self. Self-care can be almost anything that can be considered fun or a hobby and of course legal and healthy. Even though, the nightly glass of wine sounds appealing and has stress reducing qualities, it is not healthy to habitually use substances as a means to relax.

4. Meditation

One great way to reduce stress is through meditation. Many self-guided instructional programs are out there on CD, DVD, the internet and books. Foundational to meditation is focused on the person’s ability to channel their attention into one area. Many techniques exist and in the beginning can feel pretty silly, though, practice is the key to success. Research proves that this is a tried and true way of relieving stress. Even closing your eyes and thinking of a “happy place” can help you to relieve situational stress and when a full session is not possible at the moment.

5. Mindfulness

In many ways mindfulness and meditation overlap as the common goal is related to self-awareness and inner peace. Though, mindfulness differs in that rather than using the techniques to change the self to create a new belief or feeling, mindfulness brings the person into the awareness of their situation. This technique is widely used with chronic pain clients as nothing can make them believe that they do not have pain, that is impossible. But through the awareness and acceptance of their pain one is able to reduce the expectation of it going away which many times adds to the distress of the pain.

6. Exercise

Getting the blood pumping sends all kind of endorphins through the body and thereby reduces some of the anxiety that contributes to the overall stressed feeling. It is known that exercising also is a good treatment for depression. Making a commitment to exercise can allow a person to look forward to the time which they can release built up stress. Exercise is also known to regulate sleep patterns which contributes to a person’s overall health.

7. Diet

Food matters. Eating foods that are high in calories and fat lead to fatigue, being overweight which contributes to lack of motivation amongst other downfalls. Lack of motivation and fatigue is a recipe for a tailspin since nothing gets done. Can you visualize the stress right now going through the roof. So eating a balanced diet with reduced amounts of caffeine and alcohol can significantly contribute to lower stress levels.

Conclusion

In conclusion, stress is real and probably at one point or time have been experienced by all. However, there are measures that you can personally take to reduce the likelihood of it overpowering you and your life. Remember to identify your experienced stress and change the things that are possible. Realize the importance of keeping a schedule. Learn acceptance and the power of self-care. Stress is a normal reaction to situations in life, however, the amount that affects you is totally by choice.

Comments

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    • mdscoggins profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Scoggins 

      4 years ago from Fresno, CA

      Thank you Sunshine625 for the comment. Maybe for you looking deeper into the meaning of the stress may prove to be helpful.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Excellent advice and tips! I exercise to de-stress. Laugh. Listen to music. Do yardwork. I still stress. I'm just a hyperactive person who can't sit still which stresses me out :)

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