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How to cope with Stress? An effective guide

Modern life is fast paced, challenging and stressful. Just the event of past few months like COVID-19, losing your job or simply thinking about the future can cause severe stress. Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health. Learning how to cope with stress is the first step towards beating it.

Stress is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with specific demands and events. However, stress can become a chronic condition if you do not take steps to manage it.

Good Stress and Bad Stress

Stress is required because it motivates you to take action and change something which is bothering you. In the short term, it helps you to manage potentially dangerous situations such as slamming the breaks of your car or studying overnight for a test. However, when you regularly experience it over an extended period of time, it can affect your health adversely, leading to severe conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or even heart disease. So, stress over the long term is really bad. Learning to cope with stress is really important for both your physical and mental health.

Ways to effectively cope with stress

Different people react differently to stress. What is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another. For some people, just thinking about a trigger or several smaller triggers can cause stress. Follow the strategies listed below to cope with stress.

Learn to Meditate

Before you consult a doctor and start popping pills, learn, and start meditating. This advice may seem a bit foolish especially when you are facing severe stress. However, meditating is the process of acknowledging your thoughts and becoming aware of what is causing your stress is the first step towards handling it. Consider what is really causing stress to you? You may be surprised to find the fact.

There are many apps like ‘Headspace’ and ‘Medito’ which teach mediation. You can also look at YouTube videos for leaning the same. As mentioned, knowing what is causing you stress is the first step towards effectively handing it.

Developing a Routine

Often, when we are facing stress over a long period of time, we may get into a rut. Our routines are destroyed and we lose a specific purpose for our day. It may feel that we have no control over our destiny and cannot do anything to get out of this mess.

Developing routines can really help. Following a routine gives you some control over what you want to do throughout the day. Once you start managing your day again, you start controlling your stress.

Start a challenge

As if your life doesn’t have enough of those already? This advice may seem counter intuitive at first. When we deal with stress, it is because we have lost control over a specific situation. Starting a challenge such as ’30 days of 30 pushups’ or ‘#100DaysofCode’ can give you something to look forward to everyday. A period of time that you control. This also gives you a sense of accomplishment and helps reducing your stress.

Watch what you eat

A lot of us are emotional eaters, including me. We tend to eat away our stress. Stress-eating is a real phenomena. If you carefully observe what you eat, you will find that when stressful, you tend to go towards a lot of comfort foods, pizzas, pastries etc. This gives you momentary happiness but has disastrous effect on our body in the long term.

Eat complex carbohydrates rather than refined ones. This will really help you cope with mood swings.

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and keep sugar and salt intake low. Drink plenty of water, it will hydrate your body. Try to keep caffeine consumption to the minimum. Avoid nicotine or any addictive substances.

Seek help

If even after taking the above steps, you think you cannot manage stress, seek professional help. Visit a doctor or take a stress management course. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

To conclude, stress has become an indisputable part of the modern life. Without learning how to effective cope with stress, we can go in a downward spiral and lead a difficult life. Implementing the strategies above can help you combat stress effectively.

What are some of your go to strategies to cope with stress? Let me know in the comments below.

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