Many people overlook stress as simply being another part of daily life. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that experiencing constant stress can have a detrimental effect on your health. It may be easy to write off the occasional nagging headache as normal or to think you are just irritable because you haven’t had your morning coffee yet, but these sorts of symptoms can be indicators that stress is beginning to harm your body. Stressors can come in many different forms and will affect individual people in different ways. For some, stress can occur from a buildup of daily hassles, such as being overworked, becoming overwhelmed by bills and debt, or small incidents such as having your car not start. For others, stress can result from experiencing a traumatic event, affecting their ability to be able to deal with day to day activities effectively.
While short-term stress is to be expected, and it often won’t have any lasting negative effects on your wellbeing, prolonged exposure to stress may cause symptoms which cannot just be brushed under the carpet. Anxiety, in particular, is a very common reaction to chronic stress, as the fight or flight response causes the body to be put on high alert, resulting in feelings of fear, worry, and unease. Therefore, it is important to find ways to deal with stress, and the subsequent anxiety, effectively, to reduce the effect this could have on your overall wellbeing. Here are a few different methods which you can use combat the effects of stress.
Visiting a therapist can help you to deal with the root of your anxieties. Often symptoms of stress can occur because people aren’t able to cope with difficult situations in their lives, and this results in the trauma manifesting in other ways. Healthcare professionals, such as psychologist John Toussaint, can help you to uncover the triggers of your anxiety so that you can actively start to combat the causes of stress in your life. It is important to recognize that feeling stressed is simply a state of mind which you unconsciously develop in response to your environment. If you can detect and remove the environmental triggers, then this will help to reduce your feelings of stress. However, sometimes that isn’t possible, for example, if your anxiety is the result of a family bereavement. In these cases, counseling can help you to accept that you can’t control every aspect of your life, and your therapist will be able to assist you in developing new coping mechanisms.
Alternatively, a psychiatrist or doctor will be able to prescribe you medication if they feel that it is necessary to help you cope with stress and anxiety more effectively. The most common anxiety medications to be prescribed are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which enhance the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which has many roles in the body, including regulating mood and sleep, and often people who experience issues with anxiety produce lower levels of serotonin than normal. While medication should not be your first port of call, there is no shame in needing it if it will be of benefit to your long-term wellbeing. If you are prescribed medication, it is important to stick to your dosage, and you should never alter this or stop taking them without getting advice from your doctor or psychiatrist.
If you are averse to medication, there are a lot of natural tinctures and remedies which can soothe the effects of anxiety and improve your mental and physical wellbeing. An herbalist can discuss your symptoms with you, and create a blend of different herbs and plants which to create an all-natural medication. You can also incorporate herbal medication into your daily routine yourself, with essential oils and herbal teas. Chamomile tea is a natural relaxant, and the calming effect of the tea on your body can improve other side effects of stress such as insomnia. Green tea is another beneficial beverage to help to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as for reducing anxiety. While natural products will only help in small ways, replacing your morning coffee (which is a stimulant and should be consumed cautiously if you are experiencing stress and anxiety) with herbal tea could make a big difference over time.
Utilizing relaxation techniques can help you to deal with stress more efficiently, and lessen its effects on your health over time. Finding a state of deep relaxation can help to regulate your blood pressure and respiration rate, and reduce tension within your body. Finding ways to relax will also allow you to calm your mind and aid concentration. Meditation is an effective technique for clearing your mind and putting environmental stressors to one side. Mediation turns your thoughts inward and restores a natural balance to your body, mind, and wellbeing. You can go to professionally led classes, or practice meditation techniques on your own at home. Even finding a few moments to do some relaxed breathing and introspection during your day could help you to feel calmer and more at ease.
Making small changes to your lifestyle can improve your body’s ability to fight back against stress. Try to limit products which include alcohol and caffeine, as these can aggravate feelings of anxiety; instead, drink more water to improve concentration. Eating regular balanced meals will boost your energy, and getting enough sleep is important to help your body metabolize properly: around 8 hours sleep a night is ideal. Small amounts of regular exercise can also help you to combat stress and anxiety; physical activity produces endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers. Endorphin production results in a light, calm feeling throughout the body and will help to improve mood and aid sleep, which in turn will help to reduce feelings of stress.
Some people will respond to different treatments better than others, so the important thing is to find a method of stress and anxiety reduction which works best for your individual needs.
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