How well do you handle stress? Some thrive in stressful situations, while others break down. Avoiding unnecessary stress is a smart move, but unfortunately stress is a fact of life for many. Therefore, learning how to deal with whatever stress comes your way will give you the best chance at staying calm, cool, and relaxed.
Here are 5 ways to help mitigate stress and improve your overall health.
Perform strength training at least every other day. The benefits of strength training seem endless, but the anabolic effect of building and maintaining muscle has a positive impact on hormone levels that support overall energy, mood, and resilience. Strength training also builds self-confidence, improves self-image, and builds a strong body which supports a strong mind.
Practice activities that improve your breathing. How often do you take a breath that flows deep into your lungs? If you’re not mindful of it, chances are you’re taking shallow breaths most of the day. This alone is a stress response, but activities like yoga, meditation, and even stretching can slow and deepen your breathing in a way that activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This parasympathetic response turns down the stress response and elicits relaxation.
Get in the habit of sweating daily. In addition to cooling the body, sweating can fight stress by ridding the body of toxins and conditioning the cardiovascular system to be more resilient to stress. A 30 minute jog or cycling class done consistently has been shown to better regulate the escalating heart rate and blood pressure that generally occur as a response to stress.
Improve your sleep and get more of it. Lack of sleep can cause you to be more sensitive to stress and much more emotionally unstable. Everyday challenges that you’d usually be able to cope with now become a much bigger issue and the stress continues to compound from there. Sleep that is restful, regular, and deep regulates your mood and makes you more efficient at problem solving and fixing situations before they become stressful.
Set time aside to escape. Everyone needs a hobby, pastime, or passion that promotes a stress-free state of mind. Doing things you truly love for your own benefit or the benefit of others lifts your mood and brings a genuine pleasure into your life. This gives you a much-needed break from common stressors.
Although it’s impossible to avoid all stress, learning to better deal with it can improve your health and make life much more enjoyable!