Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
Stress is pretty common these days. Thanks to our busy lives, work pressure, pressure from social media, and the news, we can all end up feeling very stressed. Stress can lead to other conditions, such as anxiety, and even cause health problems, like an increased risk of high blood pressure. Managing stress can be tough, as many things that help us to relax aren’t actually all that good for us. Here are some healthy ways to cope with stress.
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Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine
Try to avoid, or at least drastically reduce the amount of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol that you consume. Nicotine and caffeine are both stimulants. While a cup of coffee or a cigarette might make you feel relaxed while you’re having them, they actually increase your stress levels rather than reduce them.
Alcohol, when consumed in large quantities, is a depressant, but will also act as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Using alcohol as a stress-reliever isn’t helpful.
Instead, switch alcoholic or caffeinated drinks for something else, like water, herbal tea, or fruit juices. Try to stay hydrated, as this helps your body to be better able to cope with stress. If you feel you are dependant on alcohol, you should consider seeking professional help, such as therapy or rehab. Did you know they are even pet friendly rehabs that can help you?
Do Something Physical
Stress increases the number of stress hormones in the body, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
These hormones are hard-wired into our brains to create a ‘fight or flight’ response that is designed to protect us from harm when we perceive a threat. The problem is, that stress today is unlikely to be sorted out by fighting or running away. Exercise or physical activity can act as a solution to use up stress hormones and help you to calm down. It can also be useful to help you focus on your body instead of your mind.
Get More Sleep
Not getting enough sleep is a significant cause of stress for many people. Unfortunately, this can become a vicious cycle, as stress also interrupts our sleep. The thoughts circling in your mind can stop you from relaxing enough to fall asleep, and the lack of sleep then makes you more stressed.
Try to avoid turning to sleep medications, as it can then become harder to sleep without them. Instead, try some relaxation techniques to improve your sleep. Make your bedroom as relaxing and tranquil as possible. Stay away from caffeine during the evening, and don’t drink much alcohol, as this can cause you to have disturbed sleep. Step away from any work that is mentally demanding a few hours before bed to give your brain time to calm down. Try some relaxation tricks like taking a warm bath, or reading a book for a little while. Both of these will work to relax your mind and body, preparing you for sleep. Aim to go to bed at the same time every day so that your mind and body get used to a bedtime routine.
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