How to Manage Stress on a Daily Basis
What Is Stress and When Does It Occur?
Stress is our reaction to our external environment, as well as our inner thoughts and feelings. Stress is our body's natural response to dangers. The "fight or flight" mechanism is the body's preparedness to do battle or flee from danger. Extreme cold or heat, psychological stress, sleep deprivation, work overload, physical trauma, as well as toxic exposure, can all trigger the stress response.
This response involves a complex biochemical/hormonal process. The body’s stress response system is comprised of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Hormones are chemical messengers that trigger our body’s organs to respond.
Stress Response Stages
Stage 1: Alarm
These are the first symptoms that we experience when we face stress. This is the point when the body’s normal fight-or-flight response to danger elevates cortisol. In such scenarios, your heart starts beating faster, you feel an adrenaline boost, and want to either flee or defend yourself.
Stage 2: Resistance
This stage occurs long after the initial fight-or-flight response has dissipated. It allows the body to continue buffering extended stress exposure. So even though your body starts to recuperate, you still stay alert for some time.
If you regularly experience stress, your body learns to cope with it, but your blood pressure and cortisol hormone level will be quite high. Plus, you may feel frustrated and get irritated or distracted easily. Importantly, the absence of stress management can result in the next stage, exhaustion.
Stage 3: Exhaustion
Finally, when chronic or long-term stress creates an imbalance in cortisol and DHEA production, it results in mental and physical fatigue, nervous tension, irritability, and poor memory exhaustion. This happens since the body runs out of resources to combat stress. Notably, this can result in a weakened immune system, meaning that you are likelier to get various diseases caused by stress.
Why Is Stress Management Important?
If your life is piled up with stress and you’re not doing anything about it, you’re jeopardizing way too much. You can end up losing yourself, harming both your physical and emotional health, as well as other spheres of life, including your career and relationships. The stakes for ignorance are just too high.
It is worth noting that stress can pave the way to dozens of unpleasant physical reactions and illnesses. There are many possible effects of stress, as such, it can cause:
- anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and other kinds of emotional and mental disorders;
- headaches and migraines;
- muscle tension;
- the desire to consume more or less food than usual;
- digestive problems such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.;
- those who have chronic stress have a higher risk of getting heart attacks or cancer.
By minimizing the stress level, you take a step closer to a better life in which you are productive, healthy, and happy.
How to Fight Stress and Its Effects?
There are many techniques for fighting stress. Here are 8 that you can consider.
1. Try to determine what causes your stress.
Perhaps you’re overwhelmed with work, then segmenting your tasks by priority and handling things one at a time can be a relief. Or maybe you don’t have enough time for yourself. In this case, consider taking a couple of days off to “hit the reset button” and refurbish your resources. If there are other stressors, think about ways to eliminate them.
2. Make your own well-being a priority.
Allow some time every day to do things that make you happy and help you relax. Take a relaxing bath, go for a walk with your dog, turn on some music, treat yourself to a massage or some spa time. You can engage in activities that you enjoy and that let you take your mind off things (scrapbooking, painting, gardening, putting a puzzle together, etc.).
3. Another way to relieve the pressure is meditation.
During meditation, you can get your thoughts together, focus, and just breathe.
4. Do your best to cut down the hours you spend staring at screens.
Put your phone aside more often, and instead substitute your computer and TV time with something else, preferably out in the fresh air.
5. Exercising can also reduce your stress.
This doesn’t necessarily imply CrossFit, heavy-lifting, or other energy-draining activities. It would help if you had positive endorphins, so swimming, jogging, or yoga, can be a great fit. Whatever works for you, really.
6. Getting enough sleep is one more crucial factor.
You don’t want to wear yourself out, so focus on having the needed hours of sleep. Ideally, try to stabilize your sleep schedule. You can even give sleep apps with soothing music or sounds a try.
7. Make an effort to change the way you think.
A positive attitude can greatly improve your mood. Reflect on what’s happening now and remember that this may be temporary, and you’ll live through it. Optionally, find someone to talk to or write about how you feel on paper. Sometimes sharing your thoughts and feelings really helps. Holding it all inside doesn’t do you good.
8. Mind your diet.
What you eat is also important, and overdoing it with comfort foods might not be beneficial. We can lose a lot of nutrients and vitamin B when we’re going through stress. Therefore, it is crucial that you maintain a healthy diet to refurbish these nutrients. Stress relief supplements can also be of help for this.
Supplements for Stress Relief
One of my favorite supplements for overall daily stress is AdreneViveTM by OrthoMolecular. AdreneViveTM provides a unique blend of "stress adapting botanicals" known as adaptogens which help increase the body’s resistance to fatigue while helping to maintain balanced cortisol and DHEA levels.
AdreneVive 60 caps
The stress adapting botanicals in AdreneViveTM include:
- • L-theanine: an amino acid found abundantly in green tea which has been shown to quickly improve stress perception and resilience.
- • Phosphatidylserine: a phospholipid that is found in high concentrations in the brain, which has been found to reduce stress-induced excretion of cortisol.
- • Ashwagandha: a powerful adaptogen that helps to improve stress resilience, supports immune response, regulates the sleep cycle, supports healthy thyroid function and protects against exhaustion of the nervous system. It has also been shown to be beneficial in supporting proper mood regulation and restoring a sense of calmness under stress.
- • Rhodiola: also an adaptogen that has demonstrated an ability to preserve levels of our calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
- • Eleutherococcus senticosus: another strong adaptogenic botanical that has been shown to improve stress resilience and fight fatigue, as well as improve general health, support memory and endurance.