• Michelle Li

How to Deal With Stress in a Stressful World

Stress. We all experience it, right? It’s true that stress is a common feeling experienced by people of all ages. In today’s society, there are a variety of things that stress us out on a daily basis. Be it due to social media, school, or work, we are exposed to stressful circumstances almost all the time! However, there is a point where stress becomes unhealthy and can impact your mental and physical health.

Many people view stress as an emotion, something that is simply within the mind. However, our bodies respond to stress in very physical ways. When we are in stressful environments, our brains respond the same way we would when faced by danger. The brain tells our neurons to release hormones that create effects such as insomnia, headaches, or even drastic weight fluctuations and high blood pressure if stress is allowed to persist.

These serious symptoms are caused by chronic stress, which is defined as the constant release of stress hormones in response to repeated exposure to stressful situations.

Now that we have gone over some of the symptoms of stress, let’s look at how we can prevent them! Although stress is mostly unavoidable, there are ways in which we can reduce the amount of stress we are exposed to.

1. Use effective time management

This tip is especially important for those who have school or work. Oftentimes, it seems that there is so much work that our brains simply can’t process all of it! In times such as exam season, or during a big project, it is essential to learn to allocate different tasks into different time periods. Rather than trying to do everything at once, writing out every task and creating a checklist or schedule would greatly reduce stress. Once everything is visually laid out, the feeling of being overwhelmed will go away!

2. Take breaks!

Although breaks can seem unnecessary at times, it is important to take breaks in order to prevent burnout. Being constantly exposed to stressors, as previously mentioned, can be extremely detrimental to your physical health. Taking short breaks between tasks, or even having one day off every week, could mitigate the negative effects of stress.

3. Eat healthy to counteract the effects of stress!

You probably hear this one a lot, but don’t underestimate the importance of this tip! In today’s world, where junk food is only a short walk to the convenience store away, it’s difficult to remember to eat healthily. However, this is one of the most important aspects of staying mentally and physically healthy! One of the stress hormones, cortisol, acts in a similar way to glucagon, which increases sugar levels in the blood. Some of the other stress hormones act by increasing blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy diet with low trans fats and a moderate amount of sugar can help balance the effects of stress hormones on your body.

4. Get enough sleep

Sleep is a very effective stress reducer. Not only does sleeping give your brain the rest it needs, but it also helps regulate other bodily functions that are affected by stress.

5. Exercise!

This is another commonly-shared tip. However, just like eating healthy, it is something very important that people often disregard. Not only does exercise improve your physical health by strengthening your muscles and increasing your energy, but it also improves your mental health by giving your brain a break!

6. Spend time doing things you enjoy

This could be anything! Taking time off from work to enjoy leisure activities such as drawing, reading, playing video games, etc. is just as important as eating healthy and sleeping enough! Self-care is not only about taking care of your body. It’s also about taking care of your mind!

All in all, despite the presence of stress in everyday life, taking care of yourself always comes before anything else! Using these six tips, you can prevent the long-term effects of stress on your body!