In the Palaeolithic age our ancestors had it easy; to deal with stress all they had to do was go about their daily lives. It’s no surprise; they lived as hunter gatherers, so to hunt down their food, a boost of adrenaline would help them catch it.
This flight or fight response is how the body reacts to stress today. Since we don’t hunt antelope like we used to, here are a couple of tips to help you deal with stress:
Identify your stress
Stress occurs when our body responds to a threat or demand that we find challenging. It prepares for the encounter (e.g. meeting a work deadline) by releasing stress hormones, called cortisol and adrenaline. This causes you’re blood pressure to rise, heart to pump faster, quickened breathing and increased perspiration.
Releasing stress requires a physical action (e.g. cardio exercises), which exhausts the stress hormones. But if you’re stuck in the office with no physical way to deplete them the hormones remain in the blood stream causing headaches, dizziness, insomnia, difficulty breathing and so on.
So before you tackle stress, it’s important that you know if you have the symptoms and where it’s coming from. The more you know about it, the easier it will be to deal with.
Share your problem
As the famous saying goes “a problem shared is a problem halved”, this also applies to stress. Sharing your feelings about the cause of your stress can help not only to reduce levels of stress, but also to promote a positive outlook on life.
Discussing your problem can also help you to gain a different and objective perspective on it, which makes it easier to find a solution. Find a good support system such as a friend, colleague, family member or a therapist that is willing to listen to your stress problems.
Time for yourself
The most important person in your life is you. But we sometimes forget that, between spending extra hours in the office to taking care of the kids, “me time” becomes the least of our worries. So why not take time out of your schedule to focus on you.
Meditation is one of the best ways to self-reflect and all it takes is 10 minutes. It not only reduces stress by decreasing levels of cortisol, but also improves our health, awareness and cognitive function.
Get on the move
Exercising is one of the best ways to run stress out of your life. This is because exercising releases hormones called endorphins (naturally produced opiates) that not only reduce stress but also help to fight diseases and improve your moods. Exercise also helps you to get into the right mental state to deal with your problems by giving you the chance to look at them clearly and calmly.
It is recommended that you do at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week. If you don’t have the time, do 30 minutes of walking every day. Gym not your thing? Then look for an activity such as swimming, tennis, martial arts, hiking, fencing, jogging or even yoga to get your heart pumping.
Now that you know how to deal with stress, why not use these tips in your everyday life to deal with what stresses you out.