Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Beth Skwarecki
Do you often get irritable, overwhelmed, or anxious, even when facing small tasks? Or do you feel overburdened, exhausted, and unable to cope with the demands of daily life? Perhaps your thoughts are racing a mile a minute, and you can’t focus or relax. Or nothing in life excites you anymore, and you feel stuck in a dark and never-ending tunnel.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, your stress levels are likely running high, and it’s high time you take steps to reduce that stress.
Common Effects of Stress and Effective Alternative Treatment Options
Chronic stress can have severe physical and mental health implications, such as depression, anxiety, headaches, heart disease, insomnia, and an increased risk of developing cancer. Some people start overeating or drinking to cope with their feelings of stress. It causes weight gain, heartburn, and other physical problems.
Stress can also affect your emotions, causing you to feel overwhelmed and out of control. You may constantly worry about things or have difficulty focusing on tasks.
Fortunately, there are effective alternative ways to manage stress. Research has shown that medical cannabis can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, treat pain, relieve symptoms of depression and PSTD, and provide many other positive benefits. Besides, its calming effects can help relax your body and mind, reduce tension, and clear away negative thoughts.
You can find more information about reliable, safe, high-quality medical cannabis strains at AZ Naturals, including their benefits, effects, flavor notes, and more.
Besides alternative treatments, you can also practice effective stress management strategies to reduce and manage the impacts of stress. Here’s a rundown of the top strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine.
Regular exercise is an excellent way to reduce stress as it releases endorphins. These hormones help boost your mood and relieve stress. It also helps increase the production of serotonin, another hormone that helps regulate mood. In addition, exercise helps reduce tension in the body, which can help prevent stress-related physical symptoms such as headaches and muscular aches.
You can find an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle, whether a brisk walk around the block, a full-blown gym session, a yoga class, or even a game with your friends. Make sure to do it regularly to get the most benefit. If you don’t feel like going outside, plenty of at-home exercises are available on the internet to help relieve stress and anxiety.
2. Mindfulness Meditating
Controlling your thoughts and feelings can be difficult when your mind and body are under constant stress. You may worry excessively, feel overwhelmed, and have difficulty sleeping.
Mindfulness meditation can help you take a step back from your thoughts and feelings and gain perspective. It involves focusing on the present moment, allowing thoughts to pass through your mind without attaching too much importance.
Start by finding a comfortable position (either sitting or lying down). Try breathing slowly through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on the sensation of your breath moving in and out. Visualize yourself in a calm and peaceful environment surrounded by nature. As your practice continues, you may notice your thoughts drifting in and out of focus. Don’t try to fight them off or push them away –accept their presence and move on.
3. Chew Gum
The repetitive movements from chewing gum help focus the attention on the physical sensation of chewing, which can help ground your mind in the present. It also increases saliva production, helping neutralize the acid in your mouth and reducing feelings of anxiety.
Chew sugar-free gum, as excess sugar can cause energy spikes, leading to anxiety. Stick with natural flavors like mint or cinnamon that won’t overwhelm your senses. You can chew gum for as long as you need to feel calmer but try not to overdo it. 15 to 20 minutes should bring your stress levels down.
4. Voice Your Thoughts Out Loud
Stress is often created or worsened by the loop of anxious thoughts running through our minds. You may have difficulty understanding or articulating these thoughts, but speaking out loud can help you express and make sense of your feelings.
You can seek out a trusted friend and family member to discuss your issues with or try the “self-talk” technique. The simple act of verbalizing your concerns can help you untangle them and make them more manageable.
However, give yourself adequate time and space to express your feelings. Listen to yourself, acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing, and focus on identifying the source of your distress. Once you know the root cause, you can actively work to eliminate the triggers and create a meaningful action plan to help you successfully manage your stress.
Expressing yourself through writing can also be a liberating experience. It allows for an organized, thoughtful assessment of your emotions and can provide you with a mental reset.
5. Take Scheduled Breaks
In today’s world, getting caught up in the flurry of mounting activities is too easy. But taking a step back and giving yourself some time away from the worries of everyday life is vital to managing your stress. It also helps reduce the risk of burnout and can help you stay productive in the long run.
Schedule breaks between tasks or meetings to give yourself time to reset. Take a few moments to breathe, clear your mind, and relax with breathing exercises. You can also use this time to do something you enjoy, such as listening to music, walking in nature, or reading a book. Or sit in a calm, peaceful environment and do nothing. These scheduled breaks will help you feel more energized when you return to your tasks. You may even find your creativity and inspiration boosted after a break.
Stress is a natural part of life, like happiness, but it should not be overwhelming. If you’re often feeling physical, emotional, or mental stress symptoms, taking steps to reduce your stress and practicing healthy coping strategies is essential. You can do this by exercising, practicing mindfulness techniques, chewing gum, or just taking a break from the hustle of everyday life. Voicing your worries and concerns to a friend, family member, or even a professional can also help untangle knots in your mind, relieve stress, and allow for a more balanced life.
Beth is Cloudmineinc’s senior health editor and a certified personal trainer. She has over 10 years experience as a science journalist and is the author of two books. She deadlifts over 315 lbs.