Stress affects all of us, but how we handle stress can make all the difference to our psychological and physical health. Stress is not always a negative thing, small amounts of stress are necessary to keep us alert and get things done. But when large amounts of stress become a way of life it affects not just ourselves but those around us as well. Unfortunately stress can be exacerbated through everyday things like bad eating habits, lack of exercise and even the way we think.
So what exactly is stress and what are the symptoms?
Stress is the way we handle our everyday life situations. Some people are naturally better at handling stressful episodes than others.
Here are some of the main symptoms of stress:
- Mood swings.
- Difficulty switching off, inability to relax.
- Feeling restless and always on edge.
- Easily irritated.
- Sleep problems.
- Crying easily.
- Lack of motivation, as if life is passing you by.
- Struggling with simple every day activities.
The good news is that we have various different options to reduce our stress load and improve the way we react to stress naturally, from the food we eat to the music we listen to.
- Deep breathing exercises are an excellent tool to calm the nervous system and induce relaxation, but to be effective has to be done correctly and regularly with concentration.
- Aromatherapy has been used to aid relaxation for thousands of years. There are so many essential oils that well known for their calming qualities. Lavender, Geranium and Chamomile being the most popular ones.
- Massage is one of the most enjoyable and indulgent ways of reducing stress, everyone enjoys a good massage. Massage is always more effective and enjoyable when performed by someone else, but if this is not possible self treatment can also be beneficial.
- Herbal teas, this is one of the quickest and most convenient methods of stress reduction. The most popular one being Chamomile.
- Smile, even if you think you have little to smile about, smiling will make you feel more positive. According to some experts smiling releases hormones called endorphins, or the feel good hormones which help reduce stress levels The added benefit of smiling is that a smile is not only good for you but all those around you as well. Looking at a smiley face instantly makes everyone more relaxed, so spread the good chi and smile!
- Get active, and do some exercise. Getting active is not only beneficial to our physical health but also good for our mental and psychological well being, as exercise is said to release chemicals called endorphins or the feel good hormones.
- Have some me time. Always being on the go, and always putting the needs of others can equate to self neglect. Just a simple manicure or meeting up with friends can do wonders for self esteem and confidence.
- Stay away from negative people, just as a smile can spread positive vibes and make others feel better, yes negativity is also just as contagious! Some people are always full of doom of gloom. They always have something to be miserable about. When stress is an issue it is best to keep a polite distance from such people.
- Get quality sleep, our ability to handle even basic every day activities can be greatly compromised when we do not sleep well, let alone stressful situations. Going to sleep at the same time, and not consuming stimulating foods and drinks in the evenings can help greatly.
- Count your blessings. This is an ancient technique that is, and has been used in stressful situations by saints, prophets and healers worldwide. The idea is that when we are confronted with a problem we should focus and highlight ALL the things in our lives that are GOOD. When we do this, the cause of stress is usually pushed right back making it less significant and less stressful.
Disclaimer: If you suffer from any medical conditions please refer to your health practitioner before making any lifestyle changes.
Marisa is a therapist and founder of Alive Earth Skincare.
Photo. Elly Fairytale