How to Deal with Stress: Five Strategies

woman with head bowed

Your thoughts and feelings have a direct impact on your behavior and health. When stress is left unchecked, it can contribute to a variety of health issues like heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way.

The Effects of Stress

graphic on stress

How to Mitigate Stress

1. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine. Alcohol in large quantities acts as a depressant. In smaller quantities, it works as a stimulant. Both Caffeine and Nicotine are also stimulants. These traditional “go-tos” have never helped in alleviating stress. Instead, increase your intake of water, teas, and diluted fruit juice.
2. Food. Avoid or at least limit any intake of refined sugar which will cause energy crashes. Focus on maintaining a well-balanced and nutritious diet.
3. Physical Activity. Another punch in the gut to stress is exercise. Our “fight or flight” wiring hasn’t changed since the cave days. Since fleeing your office or tussling with your boss may lead to job termination, your best recourse is to increase your physical activity. Go for a walk or take a yoga class.
4. Get more sleep. Most adults need seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. If you are struggling with this, don’t make your first move a run to the medicine cabinet for some sleeping pills. Instead, include relaxation techniques before going to bed. Evict any electronics in your room that remind you of the stresses in your life. Play soft music. Spritz your room with lavender. Find out what works best for you.
5. Siesta anyone? Many Spanish speaking cultures take a siesta during the middle of their day. For this two to three-hour period, they enjoy lunch and a little snooze. If you don’t have three hours to spare, even 10 minutes of meditation and deep, full belly breathing will do wonders.

There are many more ways to tackle your stressful life including managing your time, talking to someone you trust and learning how to say “No” more often. It is well worth your time to figure out what will help you get through those inevitable stressful moments of life.

Contributed by Angelica Mecham