Practical Strategies to Manage Stress

By Nikhil Ambatkar | 3rd Mar 2023

Practical Strategies to Manage Stress

The daily grind of life can be overwhelming, from mundane tasks like grocery shopping to unavoidable traffic jams. Trying to stay away from the digital world, with its 24 hrs streaming services, is challenging. Even seemingly insignificant events like work deadlines, parenting, or relationship issues can affect your mental health.

The coronavirus pandemic, a chronic illness, or looking after an elderly relative can be incredibly taxing. Stress is your body and mind’s reaction to various pressures, from juggling work and the pandemic to increased family commitment and other negative situations that can lead to stress.

The past year highlighted the worrying effects of stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been an especially noticeable increase in anxiety and depression in response to the ongoing pandemic-related circumstances.

Understanding Stress 

When a situation becomes too much for you to handle, your body may react unhealthily. The “fight or flight” response is activated to prepare you for escape, resulting in increased stress.

We all need a certain level of challenge to stay stimulated and motivated. It’s totally normal and even beneficial to experience short periods of stress now and again. However, living a life without stress can be hazardous to your health.

Excessive stress can harm your health, and the isolation brought on by the pandemic is a perfect example of how long-term stress can affect us physically and mentally.

It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed during a global pandemic, but it’s essential to find ways to manage stress. Engaging in yoga three times a week and a routine with a treadmill can help to manage stress.

As time passes, stress can tremendously affect our physical and mental health, leading to severe, long-term conditions like anxiety and depression.

Relaxation Techniques 

Managing stress is easier said than done, but several relaxation techniques can be beneficial. It’s important to remember that relaxation isn’t just about finding a moment of respite or taking pleasure in a hobby; it’s a process designed to help counteract stress’s physical and psychological effects.

With regular practice, relaxation techniques can help you better cope with the pressures of daily life. Using these stress management strategies may help to manage long-term stress and any stress associated with issues such as heart disease and physical pain.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your stress levels? Or do you have them under control? Whatever the case, relaxation techniques can be beneficial in managing stress. It’s easy to learn how to practice them too. These techniques usually require little to no cost, have minimal risks and can be done anywhere.

Take time to look into easy ways to unwind and de-stress your life. You’ll do yourself a favour by improving your health and feeling more content.

1. Deep Breathing 

Managing your stress can be easy! Take a few minutes to yourself; locate a peaceful spot, either sit or recline and take a few deliberate breaths in through your nostrils and out through your mouth (or just your nose, depending on what feels more natural). Doing this breathing exercise regularly can help you stay relaxed!

If you want to relax and manage stress levels, the 4-7-8 approach to deep breathing exercises might do the trick. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8 seconds. It’s a great way to clear your mind and find peace. 

2. Mindfulness and Mantra Meditation

Mindfulness is an age-old practice of contemplation which encourages conscious awareness of the present moment. Through this practice, you can become more aware of your physical state, thoughts, and environment.

Contrastingly, mantra meditation is quite distinct from mindfulness in that it focuses on a particular point of interest, such as a phrase, a chant, or a candle flame.

At the start of your practice, you won’t be successful in keeping your mind from wandering as it’s natural to get distracted easily. It is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about. But with regular practice, you’ll find that you can better stay focused during both types of meditation.

3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

With this method, you concentrate on progressively tensing and releasing muscle groups. You can do it in combination with breathing drills and guided visualisation. 

Locate a spot to sit or recline where you feel comfortable, shut your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths. Inhale deeply and let your stomach swell outward. As you exhale, feel your stomach draw back in.

If you want to relax your body, you can either begin with your head and face muscles and go from there, or start with your toes and work your way up. As you focus on each muscle group, tense up for 5 seconds, then relax for 30 seconds and repeat.

You must consult a physician if you have any cardiac health conditions before beginning progressive relaxation therapy.

4. Visualisation

Close your eyes and try to transport you to a sunny beach mentally. You can feel the sun’s warmth on your skin and smell the salty ocean air. Hear the breeze brushing through the air and feel the sand between your feet. Use these sensory cues to immerse yourself in this calming experience fully.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reframe your thoughts and concentrate on a tranquil moment or occasion. Remembering when you were utterly relaxed can help alleviate any stress you might be experiencing.

5. Autogenic Relaxation

In this practice, you focus on feeling the warmth and weight of various body parts. Subsequently, softly murmur calming words or phrases for each body part, such as ‘my arms feel heavy and warm’. 

This method can create a sense of emotional and physical peace. Autogenic therapy also incorporates guided imagery and breathing exercises to manage stress and heart rate.

6. Yoga and Tai Chi

These forms of low-intensity exercise have been around for centuries, providing both physical and mental benefits. Yoga requires stretching and strengthening positions while staying still and focusing on your breath. It is a great way to manage stress and lower blood pressure.

Tai chi requires movements that are gentle and elegant, similar to dancing. You will inhale and exhale deeply while transitioning from one posture to the next, focusing on how your body feels. Depending on your physical abilities, you can do both exercises while seated in a chair, although generally, tai chi is done while standing.

Before taking up yoga, you should seek a qualified teacher who can instruct you in the fundamental poses and which version of yoga might be most suitable for you.

7. Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way for individuals to manage the stress of everyday life. From going for a walk to running, riding a bike, or playing any sport, any type of physical activity can increase endorphins, the natural chemicals that make you feel good. 

When your body releases more of these endorphins, it can help to alleviate your worries and create a lasting feeling of well-being.

Working out with a buddy can be a great way to break out of your mundane routine and chat with someone, which can also help alleviate stress.

Other Types of Relaxation Techniques

When it comes to de-stressing, you can take a few steps to help improve your emotional and physical well-being. Taking the time to focus on your body, such as breathing and other exercises, can help lower blood pressure and create a sense of calm. You can give the following a try:

1. Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a fantastic technology that enables us to measure our bodily functions and helps us to gain the power to control them.

2. Massage

Massage treatments come in many shapes and sizes, such as Swedish, sports, Shiatsu, and other forms.

3. Music and Art Therapy

A professional using music as a tool to attain beneficial outcomes for a person’s well-being is known as music therapy. Art therapy includes creative activities such as drawing and painting that can be an effective way to manage stress. Research has demonstrated that engaging in music and art can lessen distress.

4. Aromatherapy

Essential oils can be employed as an aromatherapeutic remedy to assist in dealing with specific stress ailments.

5. Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a water-based therapy, previously known as hydropathy and water cure, and is a type of holistic medicine, occupational therapy, and physical therapy that uses water to help with pain relief and rehabilitation. Hydrotherapeutic treatments can range from a relaxing soak to cold wraps or even a steamy sauna. Hydrotherapy is an easy way to help improve your health and fertility.

Takeaway Message

If you’re healthy, relaxation techniques are generally risk-free. However, there have been reports of adverse effects such as heightened anxiety, negative feelings, or a fear of being unable to maintain self-control. Talk to your doctor to determine which practice best suits your desired relaxation technique and health condition.

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Frequently asked questions

What are simple stress management techniques?

If you’re looking for ways to unwind, try deep breathing, massage, meditation, tai chi, yoga, biofeedback, music and art therapy, or aromatherapy. All of these activities can help you relax and de-stress.

What is the key to relaxation?

You don’t need to invest much time to de-stress. Just pause the pressure and give yourself a few minutes away from your regular activities and musings. Find a few minutes to read a novel or a newspaper – it could be just what you need. It’s a great way to wind down.

How do relaxing techniques reduce stress?

Relaxation techniques can be an effective way of combating stress. When stress is felt, hormones are released that can cause hypertension and heart rate. It is the body’s natural reaction to stress. However, by taking the time to relax, you can reduce your blood pressure and heart rate and give yourself a break from the strain of stress.

What are two strategies for avoiding stress?

To stay healthy, eat a nutritious diet and get enough rest. Additionally, physical activity is essential and should be done regularly. Try techniques like deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, prayer, yoga, swimming, or listening to peaceful music to unwind and relax. Walking in nature can be a great way to de-stress and give yourself a break.

What is the purpose of relaxation techniques?

Tense muscles can be a consequence of stress, so it’s essential to take the time to relax and alleviate the strain with relaxation techniques to help you feel more at ease.

What are stress management skills?

To combat stress, it can be helpful to look into techniques such as problem-solving, focusing on task prioritisation, and making the most of your time. Additionally, it’s important to recognise our individual ability to handle tough situations.

Disclaimer 

The information given in this article is accurate to our best knowledge. Still, we recommend you consult your healthcare professional before taking any medication or dietary supplements mentioned in this article.

References

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