Feeling stressed? You know the feeling. The one in your body that can take over when things feel overwhelming. We all have different levels of stress throughout the day. We can’t escape it, but there’s many unique ways to manage stress to help you feel more grounded.
Some levels of stress are actually healthy like when you’re excited to play in a competition, ride a roller coaster or go on a date. There’s no threat or fear. It’s excitement and anticipation for something that inspires and motivates you.
The Impact of Chronic Stress
Chronic stress factors that are a part of your life have the long-term impact. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), excessive or chronic stress that has no opportunity for release can have negative effects on a person’s physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral states.
The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) outlines how stress affects your entire body. Some common signs:
- Trouble sleeping
- Jaw pain
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
We can get stuck in a cycle of stressing about different things in our lives. Some common stressors are:
- Job – toxic work environment, manager, co-workers
- Health problems or issues
- View of the world
- Experience with inequalities
- Past trauma
What is Stress Management?
Stress is a normal occurrence in life. We all experience stress each and every day. Learning ways to manage adversity and challenges can help you lead a more fulfilling life mind, body and spirit connection.
Stress management includes practicing strategies to reduce stress. Not every strategy will work for you so it’s important to try different ways to reduce stress and find what works for you to reduce the stress. These strategies become part of your overall mental and physical health toolbox.
Why is Stress Management Important?
Long-term stress can impact your mental and physical health severely. Depression, obesity, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases can result from prolonged stress. Stress can have a hold on your life and impact your overall growth.
Breaking the cycle of stress with one small activity at a time can have a positive impact on your well-being over the long-term. It can also help you build your resilience and adaptability muscles so when stressful events occur, you’re better equipped to navigate the difficulties in a healthy way.
The key is to find the combination of stress reducers that work for you. We have many tools and options to choose from to help us manage stress. Some are easy, quick and available to you right now.
20 Unique Ways to Manage Stress
- Change your clothes and loosen things up
- Grab an ice cube and hold it for 5-10 seconds
- Journal prompt: Write 3 things you are grateful for and why
- Light a scented candle and watch the flame for a few minutes
- Move your body – practice yoga, stretch, jump up and down, run in place
- Be still and meditate to refocus to the present (Youtube has guided mediation videos)
- Enjoy some sunlight for 10 minutes
- Disconnect from social media, your phone and all devices
- Organize your room or tidy your work area
- Listen to music or get creative with painting or coloring
- Walk on grass with bare feet
- Get a manicure, pedicure or massage
- Drink a glass of cold water
- Find a new recipe to try
- Close your eyes, inhale and then exhale deeply for 5-10 times
- Get up and walk away from your current location, especially away from the screens
- Journal prompt: Write what you’re feeling right now
- Work with some PlayDough or Silly Putty
- Grab a pillow and yell or scream into it
- Enjoy a hot bath or shower
When to Seek Help for Your Stress Management
It’s important to recognize the signs of stress within your body and mind. Talking it out with someone else can reduce your stress and help you feel more grounded. Below are ways you can seek support.
- Talk with a friend, family member or mentor
- Reach out to a counselor or therapist
- Use your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) from work, if available
- Call or Text for Support
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline 1-800-662-4357
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline 1-800-950-6264
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Counselor Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- Suicide Prevention Helpline: Text 988
You’re not alone. Help is available to you. The key is to find ways to manage the stress that work for you. We’re all in this together and we can lift one another out of the stress cycle.
Do you have unique ways that you manage your stress? We’d love to hear about them. Share them below!