The world is definitely a difficult place to live in. Raising a family, working, and developing relationships with friends are necessary and demanding tasks for all of us, and they can be major causes of stress. Disease, famine, wars, natural disasters, violence, abuse, and other types of extraordinary situations can add extra layers of stress to our lives. Having this in mind, it’s no surprise that many people become tense and worn out, and start looking for mechanisms for coping with stress.
In this article, we’ll explore some stress management techniques that will help you significantly reduce your stress levels. But first, let’s define what stress actually is.
The Nature of Stress
When we talk about stress, we’re actually talking about the way it affects our body, mind, and spirit. Stress can be defined as a reaction to complicated, demanding, or challenging events. In order to handle high-stress situations, our body activates “fight or flight” reflex that helps fight the stress off or flee to safety. During this reaction, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released, changing the autonomic nervous functions, speeding the heart rate, and giving the body a burst of energy to deal with threatening circumstances.
The “fight or flight” mechanism is actually designed for the people we once were — tribespeople whose main sources of stress were avoiding predators and finding the next meal. The stress factors that most of us face today are more frequent and concrete than the ones faced by our ancestors. Instead, we worry about how to keep our kids from becoming drugs addicts, or what to do in case of a nuclear strike. Nowadays, we are frequently faced with stressful situations, which is why acute stress has turned into chronic stress.
Acute stress is healthy and important for our well being, whereas chronic stress can lead to a number of diseases (both physical and mental).
When you’re feeling stressed, it’s essential to find a stress reliever to reverse your stress response. Here are some positive methods of coping with stress:
- Exercise — Besides being good for your body, exercise can reduce your stress levels.
- Self-Care — Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and stay away from things that aren’t good for you.
- Talk to a friend — Sometimes just talking things out and having support from a friend can help you feel less stressed.
- Meditate — This can help you connect more with others and get you into a more positive state of mind.
- Sex — Sex can be a fantastic stress reliever as it includes several other stress relief ingredients, like touch, deep breathing, and social connection. Also, it causes increased production of oxytocin (“love hormone”) which is accompanied by the release of endorphins (our natural pain-killing hormones).