Managing Stress: 5 Effective Strategies

You have likely heard about the relationship between stress and health outcomes. However, what matters more than "stress" itself is the pattern of the stress and our response to it!

Chronic, repetitive stress, without opportunities for rest and recovery from the physiological and emotional effects of stress, can have negative outcomes for our health. It’s true—chronic, unrelenting stress can make it difficult to sleep, weaken your immune system, and lead to other problems like heart attacks, strokes, anxiety, and depression. Plus, chronic, unrelenting stress can cause irritability, lack of motivation, and difficulty concentrating, thereby negatively impacting your work and personal relationships.

If you’re feeling chronically stressed, one of the best things you can do is speak to a therapist who can recommend stress relief techniques that are tailored to your specific circumstances. But in the meantime, I've compiled the following five strategies for stress management.

1. Eat a Nutritious Diet

It’s very common for stressed individuals to turn to comfort foods, which are typically high in fat and sugar. But it’s important to stick to a balanced diet, even in times of stress. Research shows that certain foods can impact stress levels—for example, lean proteins and herbal teas can help reduce stress, while refined carbohydrates and caffeine can make you feel more stressed.

2. Exercise

Chronic stress often causes fatigue, and if that’s the case for you, you may have a hard time summoning the motivation to work out. But it’s important that you find a way to incorporate some type of physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising can stimulate the body to produce endorphins and reduce its levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

3. Establish Boundaries

Do you often feel stressed because you’re being pulled in too many directions at once? Setting healthy boundaries may help. For example, at work, this may involve shutting down your computer at a certain time each day, speaking up when you have too much on your plate, and avoiding office gossip.

4. Make Time to Relax

When work, school, and family obligations become overwhelming, you may feel like you don’t have any time left over to focus on yourself, but it’s important to carve out time for self-care and relaxation. Think about what brings you peace—whether that’s going to the movies, getting a pedicure, or focusing on your hobbies—and set aside time to do that on a regular basis.

5. Deep Breathing

Research shows that focusing on deep breathing can greatly reduce stress levels. One of the best things about deep breathing is that it can be done almost anywhere, so you can employ this technique whenever you start to feel stressed throughout the day.

Need Help Coping With Stress?

If you’re looking to improve your stress management skills, I can help. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.