Do you often feel irritable at work? Or get frequent headaches and are unable to focus? If yes, it may be a sign that you are stressed.Don’t worry, you are not alone. Almost 77% of people are stressed for some reason.
But the good news is that it is completely manageable. While stressors may be different for everyone, certain proven techniques aid in relieving stress for all.
This article details more about stress and scientific ways to get rid of stress symptoms.
So, let’s begin!
What is Stress?
There is no single definition of stress. Besides, things that may be stressful for one might not be for others.
Stress can be defined as your body’s reaction to a demand or challenge. Basically, stress is anything that causes mental, physical, or emotional tension.
Some common symptoms of stress are:
- Frequent headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Diarrhea and constipation
- Memory problems
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weight loss or gain
Types of Stress
Most of us consider stress as something negative; however, this is not always true.
Let’s understand the different types of stress.
Stress is a coping mechanism that helps to demand or challenge. It helps you to meet a deadline or escape danger. So, stress makes you productive and is thus not always negative.
This type of beneficial stress is known as eustress. Some examples that may cause eustress include:
- New friends
Eustress keeps you motivated and helps you to keep moving towards your goal and feel good about your life.
Stress that is related to negative connotations is known as distress. It results in negative effects on your body, such as headaches and high blood pressure. Some common examples that cause distress include:
- Loss of a closed one
- Work problems
- Financial difficulties
So, distress makes you feel overwhelmed as it exhausts your physical, emotional, and mental resources.
PS: The stress referred to in this article is distress.
Now that you know more about stress let’s understand some scientific techniques to combat stress.
Stress Relievers That Are Backed By Science
If stress is making you irritable, try the following tips to get control over your life and restore calmness and serenity.
1. Get in the Groove
Physical activity is one of the essential things to fight stress.
While you may think that exercising will put stress on your body, it actually relieves mental stress.
It is seen that people who don’t exercise are at a greater risk of experiencing anxiety than those who exercise regularly.
Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood. It also lowers the levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.
Get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises in a week, such as walking, and keep stress at bay.
2. Sleep Sound for Happiness Abound
Stress can cause difficulty in falling asleep. When you have too much to do, you tend to think, and sleep may suffer.
But sleep is the only time when your mind and body can rest.
Further, sleep also affects your energy level, concentration, mood, and overall functioning.
Studies have also shown that adequate and sound sleep improves your mood and lowers stress.
If you have difficulty in getting sound sleep, you can try the following:
- Listen to soothing music
- Switch off the TV while sleeping
- Avoid exercise 2 hours before you go to bed
- Try and sleep at the same time every day
3. Yoga: Stretch Your Stress Out
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular and for good reasons.
While there are various yoga styles, they all help in connecting your mind and body. It does so by increasing your breath and body awareness.
Studies have shown that yoga may help in relieving depression and anxiety by improving your mood.
Yoga improves your nervous system, enhancing your stress response.
It lowers the level of stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure. Yoga also aids in the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical whose lower levels are associated with mood disorders.
The regular practice of yoga improves quality of life and prevents stress.
4. Meditate: Detoxify Your Soul
Similar to yoga, meditation is also extremely helpful for managing stress.
Meditation techniques such as mindfulness aid in anchoring to the present moment.
Research suggests that mindfulness fights the anxiety-inducing effects of stress and negative thoughts.
To practice meditation, sit at a silent place, and focus on your breath. It is thus easy to practice mindfulness and can be done practically anywhere.
A study conducted in college students has shown that mindfulness improves self-esteem, relieving symptoms of stress, and anxiety.
So, meditate for 10 minutes daily to build self-confidence and get rid of stress symptoms.
5. Revitalize Yourself with a Massage
Massage relaxes not only your muscles but also your mind.
It promotes circulation, increasing the oxygen supply of the brain. Massage also lowers cortisol levels and blood pressure.
Research has also proved that frequent massage aids in alleviating stress symptoms.
Even a 15-minute massage a week will help in combating stress and anxiety.
6. Feed Your Smell Sense
The sense of smell can be used to manage stress and anxiety.
Aromatherapy is an excellent way of relaxing yourself.
Other scents, such as peppermint, can also boost mental sharpness and cognition.
So, next time you are stressed get aromatherapy.
7. Spend Time with Your Pet
Playing with your pet relieves your stress and improves your mood.
Spending time with your pet triggers the release of oxytocin, a chemical in the brain that boosts your mood.
Having a pet also gives you a sense of purpose while relieving stress. It keeps you active and offers companionship, which reduces anxiety.
Take your pet for a walk or play with them and see your mood improve.
8. Try a Chewing Gum
It is an easy and quick way to get rid of stress.
Chewing gum triggers the release of brain waves that are seen in relaxed people. It also improves blood flow to your brain.
A study has shown that chewing gum promotes a sense of well-being and lowers stress.
In another study, it was seen that stress relief was greater when people chewed strongly.
Next time you feel stressed, chew a gum!
9. Laugh it out
Have you noticed that it is hard to feel anxious or sad when you are laughing?
Here is how laughing helps to relieve stress:
- Decreases tension by relaxing muscles
- Reduces stress response
- Improves mood
In the long-term, it is also seen to boost your immune system.
A study in people with cancer suggests that laughter offered more stress relief as compared to the group who was just distracted.
If you feel stressed, try watching a funny series or TV show. You can also hang out with friends who make you happy and laugh.
10. Immerse Yourself in Music
Listening to soothing music is an excellent way to relax your mind and body.
Slow-paced music, such as instrumental music, lowers heart rate, and blood pressure. It also reduces the level of the stress hormone, promoting relaxation.
Studies have shown that classical, Indian, and Celtic music is soothing and relieves stress and anxiety.
Nature sounds are also very relaxing. You can add nature sounds to meditation and relaxation music.
11. Try Supplements
Several nutrients promote the release of healthy brain chemicals, boosting mood and brain functioning.
Nootropic stacks are supplements with ingredients that enhance alertness, motivation, and cognitive functions. They also aid in relieving symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Although stress is common in this fast-paced life, there are many ways to reduce the pressure you feel.
These are some fun and scientifically proven ways to relieve stress.
Try them and see the difference. If you have some doubts or opinions, feel free to comment here.
About the author:
Dr Kinjal Kanani is a Medical Copywriter at FindingOptimism. With a Master’s degree in Medical Science, she enjoys writing about health and fitness. It excites her to provide the audience with simple answers to create a healthier lifestyle. She believes in research, making sense out of it, and putting it in simple language (yes, she is a Ninja Writer ?).