10 Ways to Manage Stress

Acute stress is a normal part of life. “Acute” refers to the kind of stress that results from having to run to catch a bus. Almost everyone experiences this kind of stress from time to time. 

Stress can be good in small doses, though. When your body is under stress your brain releases special hormones. These hormones cause your brain activity to increase, raise your pulse, and cause muscle tension. Stress is your body’s way of giving you an extra edge in a difficult situation. However, sustained stress, or chronic stress, can have negative health effects. That’s the kind of stress we experience when every day includes a long commute, negative interactions at work, worry about ongoing problems, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by the demands of life.

Negative health effects of stress

There are a number of negative health effects associated with stress. Stress can contribute to health problems including

  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritability 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

Stress can also exacerbate preexisting health problems, and lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as substance abuse or unhealthy eating habits.

10 ways to manage stress

Managing your stress can help improve your health and improve your overall quality of life. Here are 10 ways to manage stress.

Regular physical activity

Regular exercise and physical activity is necessary to maintain good health. It’s also a great and healthy way to manage stress. The CDC recommends that all adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and 2 days of strength training exercise each week.

Prioritize things in your life

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a lot going on in your life. Rather than stressing over too much to do and too little time, sit down and write out a list of things to do, and rank them by importance. This can help increase your productivity and help reduce unnecessary stress.

Spend time with friends and family

Stress can sometimes lead to anxiety and depression, which in turn can lead to withdrawal from social situations. Make a point to spend time with friends, family, and people you enjoy. This can help improve your mood and manage stress.

Maintain a positive attitude

It’s surprising just how powerful a positive attitude can be. Striving to be happy and positive can help you stay in a good mood, which in turn can help you reduce stress.

Practice stress reducing techniques

There are a number of techniques that can help you reduce stress. Try activities such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation which are designed to help you relax and stay calm.

Do nothing

You don’t have to fill your time with tasks, activities, and errands. A day off doesn’t have to be spent doing home repairs and cleaning out the attic. It’s fine to sit back, relax, and do nothing every once in a while. Don’t fret over the fact that you’re not doing anything, either. Enjoy it!

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is another great way to help alleviate stress. Sleep is also important to maintain good overall health. Adults need 7 hours of sleep at the very least.

Identify things that cause you stress

Knowing your stressors can help you manage your stress. Identifying the things that cause stress in your life can help you avoid potentially stressful situations, and help you prepare to handle stressful situations when they can’t be avoided.

Make some “you time”

Designate time to a hobby you love. Read a book, write in a journal, build a model ship, do some woodworking, or learn how to juggle. Do something that makes you happy. Set aside time each day to do something that you enjoy.

Contact a medical professional

Sometimes you may need help managing stress. Contact your primary care physician if stress interferes with your daily life, or if you experience symptoms caused by stress. Your primary care physician is there to help you with any of your health or medical needs. Schedule an appointment with a MANA physician today!