Published: 08/29/2014 - Updated: 10/18/2018
We all possess the ability to reduce the impact that stress can have on our life and health. This requires a bit of observation and practice, but if you learn to detect your stress factors, you can bring yourself simple relief.
Identify what makes you feel stressed
The first step for controlling stress, is to identify its cause. Stress is so common today that we even begin to believe that it is a natural state, and we forget what it’s like to feel calm and relaxed.
When we think about relaxation, we think about a state of tranquility. But the absence of stress is not only being relaxed and unexposed to stress, but it is also feeling calm while being alert to what takes place around you. This means that you are in balance, in spite of being exposed to stressful situations.
If you do not have this balance, any sort of activity or event could unleash stress, and an excess of stress translate into different problems.
In order to identify when and why we get stressed, it is important to pay attention to our bodies. When we easily laugh, it is a sign that we feel happy. When we’re tired, our bodies reflect that as well, through yawns and droopy eyelids. In this same way we can learn to distinguish how our bodies feel when stressed, and it will be easier to known what causes it, and when we’re in a stressful situations.
Signs of stress in the body
Stress frequently manifests is different ways, but the most common are muscular tension, tightened jaws, irritability, raised blood pressure, and heart rate also increases.
Some people have gastrointestinal symptoms, like stomach acid, and they can even get back pains and headaches.
Response to stress
Every person is unique, and stress responses can vary. For example:
Over-excited: The type of person who becomes agitated and irritable when under stress.
Vegetative: Tends to become apathetic and depressed when under stress.
Continuous state caused by chronic stress: When stress accumulates and forms part of the day to day, dominating our lives, this causes us to be in either a continuous depressed or agitated state.
Basics of keeping stress levels down
Fortunately, there are several techniques and tools that can support us in fighting stress. Yoga and meditation, for example, can be excellent partners.
A very useful and quick way of fighting stress is through activities that involve the senses, like sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smelling.
Sensory information can be a great help to calming the nervous system.
Have you ever felt better and less stressed after a pleasant conversation? Talking with someone who listens helps us find balance. A lot of times the only thing we need to free the stress that throws us off balance is a good listener.
Experience with your senses
Exercises as simple as smelling a flower can dissolve the stress that weighs us down. If you love music, a pleasant melody can also bring you back to center; it all depends on what you consider most pleasant.
If sight is what most attracts you, looking at image of relaxing places like the beach, mountains, clouds, and other things, can help you to fight stress, as absurd as it may seem. Try to decorate your work space with at least one green plant, or with flowers. Surround yourself with colors and images that raise your spirits.
If music produces relaxing effects on you, use it! Sing or work to your favoring song, or listen to inspiring music. The sound of waves, or of nature, are good options if you want to dissolve stress. Buy a fountain for your work space; this sound will be very relaxing for you.
If stress causes you to get distracted, try to surround yourself with revitalizing smells. Use fragranced candles or incense. Buy fresh flowers with a strong perfume, or natural oils, for your office, like lavender. If you enjoy fresh air, use pine scents.
If you find that you enjoy caressing your body with smooth textures like fine sand, or a pet, don’t hesitate in using the sense of touch to help yourself relax. If it’s cold, cover up with a soft and warm blanket. You can also rub a pet with soft fur. Buy a soft anti-stress ball or grab a fluffy stuffed animal that has good memories for you. Wear comfortable clothes. You can also use bath time as a convenient time to relax, by drawing a warm bath.
Stress-eating is nothing new, however, doing it frequently and in large amounts could be counterproductive. The key to satisfying the sense of taste is to not eat excessively. Choose small portions with intense flavors, like a bit of dark chocolate. Try to feel the texture with your tongue, and to consciously enjoy small bites. Focus on its flavor and smell. You can also drink a cup of tea or a refreshing cold drink. If small bites don’t satisfy you, you can also try eating celery or carrot sticks.
You can use one or more of these strategies to fights stress. The majority of people find stress relief in two or more of these activities.