The feeling is one of sickening familiarity. A tightening in your chest. Beads of sweat spilling off your skin. An aggressive buzzing in your brain that feels like someone has stuffed a disturbed hornets’ nest inside your head. It’s one of the most overwhelming emotions that every single human is forced to contend with almost on a daily basis. Panic, anxiety, and helplessness all violently crammed into one unpleasant little parcel: the sensation of stress.
No one is exempt or safe from this exhausting emotion. Not even that happy-go-lucky chap you see strolling down the street whistling “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. Even he will succumb to the overpowering thud of stress from time to time.
Whilst it may be of no solace to hear that you’re not the only one who occasionally feels like their head may explode, the fact that everyone has stressful episodes remains a valid point. Stress, whichever way you look at it, is part of the human condition. If there’s one thing humans are good at, it’s finding ways to deal with the issues the body can create, and make life easier for ourselves as a result.
Stress is so common that many people choose to ignore it, knowing it will ease up by the time they hit the hay. Without apposite management, stress can manifest itself into something much more serious. Listed here are 6 proven ways to cope with stress, allowing you to continue living your life in a healthy, happy manner.
The stress-relief technique that pretty much everyone’s heard of, the act of breathing nonetheless remains an important point as any when it comes to cooling down the angry blood that’s raging around your body. Taking a long, deep breath to calm yourself in stressful situations isn’t just one of those old wives’ tales that your grandmother used to swear by – it’s medically proven to be beneficial.
Slow, deep breathing distracts the mind from whatever else might be going on, and actively lowers the bubbling blood that’s brought on by stress. What’s more, cortisol – a hormone released in the body in response to stress – is significantly lowered after taking long inhalations of fresh air, allowing your brain and body to return to their normal functions.
It may sound strange, but practicing breathing can help you to build up a tolerance towards the impact that stress has on your life. By partaking in yoga sessions, engaging in frequent breathing exercises, and meditating, you can train your body to become one big relaxation machine – counteracting the horrid effects when Mr. Stress comes a-calling.
Stress can build up in anyone who is left to their own thoughts for too long. Without a frequent source of release, the mind can become clouded with concern, panic, and extreme frustration. Humans weren’t meant to be left to their own imaginations.
Instead of allowing a bewildering jumble of thoughts and ideas to bump around inside your head, let them tumble out onto your computer keyboard or notepad instead. Type away at your desk and channel your emotions into your hard-drive. Scribble your feelings onto a piece of paper. They don’t even have to make sense. Just punch away at your computer on a day-to-day basis for five or ten minutes, and you might be surprised at how light, airy and carefree you feel afterwards.
One of the most effective techniques for dealing with stress often raises a few eyebrows, but a whole host of scientific evidence exists to suggest that walking is one of the best methods available.
If you’re ever feeling the tension building up in your brain and body, drop everything and simply go for a stroll. Keep yourself at a nice, leisurely pace, and breathe normally.
Walking provides your body with an ideal outlet for the build-up of energy that stress can create, and acts as a sensory distraction for the brain as your mind is forced to take in a plethora of sights, smells, sounds and signals.
After you try it once, and undoubtedly recognize its benefits, be sure to make exercise a regular thing. Providing the body with a healthy, frequent method of releasing accumulated energy is a great way to help fend off the effects that stress can impose, and ultimately keeps you fit and healthy as a result.
If you’re stressed, the last thing you probably feel like doing is laughing. But if you are able to muster up even the smallest chuckle during your day, you’ll soon begin to find that the effects of stress slowly slip away.
When we laugh, the body releases happy hormones called endorphins, which actively counteract the blood-boiling chemicals that are produced when stress hits home.
Laughing allows us to take in a momentous supply of fresh oxygen from the air, stimulating the muscles and providing our system with some healthy shock treatment that eases tension brought on by stress.
If you ever begin to experience that oh-so-familiar feeling amplifying inside you, take a break to flick through some online joke sites, watch some funny YouTube clips, or scroll through some old photos of you and your family/friends that always cheer you up.
Laughing is something we need to do every day to stay healthy, and is great way to keep the nasty effects of stress at bay.
Surrounding yourself with the people you love can ultimately be half the battle to combating stress. Even the most confident people feel most comfortable when in the company of others that they’ve come to know and love, and whilst going out to meet new people often has great results in the long-term, it can often be a difficult and mildly stressful experience initially.
If you ever catch yourself with your chin in your hands and a throb in your head, reach for the phone, ring someone you love, and arrange to do something fun. Even sitting at home with a cup of tea and a friend can really help to relieve high levels of stress as it focuses your mind onto something you love. What’s more, it gives you a perfect outlet to vent some frustration. After all, that’s what friends are for.
More recently in society, the human body has been forced to adapt to being constantly surrounded by moving images. Of course, this wasn’t always the case, and the constant exposure to glowing screens is in fact able to generate stress given how it prevents us from sleeping correctly.
Basically our lives are balanced by circadian rhythms – a set of strict patterns that the body operates by so that we can eat, sleep, rest, play and function without feeling constantly drained.
Ultimately, high exposure to glowing screens disrupts our circadian rhythms, meaning that when it’s time to hit the sack, the body doesn’t necessarily feel ready to shut down.
Sleep is absolutely essential for avoiding high stress levels. Everyone needs good amounts of rest, and by remaining glued to a computer screen for the entire day without taking a break, your body will suffer the consequences, and stress will rise as a result.
Take frequent breaks away from the screen, get some sleep, and see your stress ease up.
An Egyptian Business Consultant and Corporate Trainer since 1997.
I've trained on Management, Leadership and Soft Skills to thousands of people from many nationalities, backgrounds and professions in more than 10 countries across the Middle and Far East.
Holder of an MBA and a Candidate for Doctorate in Business.
Find more about my Management and Personal Skills Courses at AmrBadran.com and feel free contacting me at Amr@AmrBadran.com