Stress management is one of the soft skills that we talked about in one of the previous blog articles.
Let's start from the beginning and first define what stress is. Stress is the reaction that occurs in our body when we are under pressure or threat. It mostly happens when we find ourselves in a situation that we feel we cannot control or that we are unable to deal with adequately.
There are three main types of stress; acute (if a situation occurs that stresses us in the short term, such as a traffic jam while we are late somewhere or a lively discussion/argument with someone, etc.), acute episodic stress (frequent acute events such as constant deadlines at work), and chronic stress (unemployment, physical or emotional constant abuse, family conflicts or any other state/ situation that causes stress over a long period of time). Many of us often experience a combination of these three types of stress.
There is a healthy level of stress, which motivates a person and teaches them to become more resilient. However, if this limit is exceeded (and it is different for everyone), then we are already talking about an amount that can cause serious dangers to a person's overall health. The term stress management refers to a whole set of techniques or tools that help you to predefine your, so to speak, alarm system. It can help your body and mind to adapt (i.e. become more resilient). Without it, your body would be constantly under 'high voltage'. Over time, as we mentioned, the body can experience serious consequences caused by chronic stress. Don't wait for it to happen, react in time and consciously influence your quality of life and relationships with others. The long-term effects of stress are varied. According to research conducted by the well-known medical academic center Mayo Clinic, long exposure to the stress hormone - cortisol, over time leads to a wide range of health problems, and some of them are: mental disorders, cardiovascular disorders, sleep problems, digestion, memory and concentration issues, and even cancers. Below, find out more about the techniques that fall under stress management, which can be easily and quickly mastered.
Many techniques can be used to prevent stress. One of them is meditation. You can try guided meditations, to begin with if you feel that you cannot sit alone with your thoughts in silence. The essence of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts, but to consciously follow them and not allow them to control us, but to just "let" them flow and come and go like clouds in the sky. On YouTube, there are many great guided meditations on different topics or simply for relaxation.
Another thing that you can do for yourself, which will greatly affect the release of accumulated stress, is breathing exercises. Here, too, if you have no experience, we recommend that you start with some proven youtube channels like the Wim Hof breathing technique.
What is very important for the level of stress in the body is a balanced diet, which is often overlooked as a very important factor when we talk about stress. A healthy diet can support the immune system and help restore damaged cells. Food significantly affects the level of stress in the body. Thus, some foods can affect the level of the happiness hormone in the body (serotonin), such as dates, dark chocolate, bananas, etc. According to Harvard research, certain foods that contain omega-3 fats as well as vegetables can help regulate the level of cortisol (hormone stress). When we are under stress, the body often looks for so-called comfort food, that is, foods rich in sugars and saturated fatty acids, such as chips, French fries, and fast food in general.
Exercise is another proven method when it comes to preventing stress and reducing its harmful effects. Research proves that training raises endorphins (one of the neurotransmitters that make us feel good), successfully reduces the negative effects of stress, and also has a beneficial effect on the quality of sleep, digestion, and mood. Read more about the relation between exercise. and stress here.
Pets - research shows that pets, especially cats and dogs, have a very favorable effect on the reduction of the cortisol hormone as well as blood pressure. Other research also proves that animals can reduce feelings of loneliness, increase feelings of social support and improve mood. You can read more on this topic here https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/02/power-pets
Nature - it has been known since ancient times that being in nature has a beneficial effect on mental health, heals, and therefore reduces stress in the body. In addition to this, it is also a good opportunity to spend your free time with friends, because it has been proven that socializing is one of the key factors when we talk about self-confidence, support, feeling of security, etc...
Psychotherapy support - if you feel that the level of stress in your body has reached a level where you can no longer help yourself, i.e. you are constantly nervous, tired, restless, productivity has dropped, etc. then psychotherapy support is recommended. Whichever style of psychotherapy you choose, you will learn how to effectively deal with stress, how to learn to say no (the inability to say no often creates unnecessary stress), how to arrange daily tasks, set your priorities differently, etc.
In addition to all of the above, it is also very useful to be aware of how we behave in our free time, what we do and whether we can stay in the present moment and enjoy it. This is closely related to meditation, which helps us develop the skill of being in the present moment. As one proverb says, "he who lives in the future is anxious, he who lives in the past is depressed, and only he who lives in the present moment is happy."
When we talk about developing awareness, it is also very important how much time we spend on social networks, because it has been proven that people who limit their time on social networks are much happier than those who consume them daily without control. Research also proves that in people who already have symptoms of depression, social networks can worsen the condition. Read more about the connection between depression and social media use here.
Did you know that the new tershouse will have a stress-free zone where you can sleep, meditate, do yoga, exercise, etc.? You didn't? Read more information about the new space in the latest interview with CEO and founder of tershouse, Nermin Šehić.