Stress is a normal emotion for people to feel during times of discomfort. It can manifest in a variety of forms that are physical or psychological and have a tendency to go hand in hand. Stress evolved as automatic response in our ancient ancestors to protect us from predators, harmful situations, and scenarios. Stress elevates your heart rate, increases your blood flow and puts your body in an automatic state of alert. However, these days instead of running away from a wild tiger your may be ready to run away from the stress of the day to day grind. Humans have spent %99.9 percent of our time evolving in the wild and now we are in new terrain. Spending the majority of your days indoors staring at a screen was not what our body or mind was designed to do; however, if it’s one thing humans are good at it’s evolving. For example, take a look at Forest Bathing, a new trend that has evolved in Japan and has shown to have positive effects on your mood!
Stress can actually be healthy and is a natural color in the tapestry of human emotion. Rising to the challenge of public speaking or asking that special someone on a first date helps to build character and forges a healthy emotional psyche. Stressors are a normal part of the life and learning how to deal with them is crucial to survival. However, when stress becomes chronic this is where it can start to become a problem. According to the APA “When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable for no good reason, for example. But chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.” Chronic stress can lead to harmful diseases like cancer or cardiovascular issues. What can become even more harmful when it comes to stress management is coping mechanisms. Many people turn to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, over-eating and weekend benders to blow off steam. In the long run these are not beneficial forms of stress management.
Take an honest look at yourself and your stress reducing habits and ask yourself this, “Are they healthy and sustainable?”
Here are a few helpful tips to reduce stress
- Eat healthy
- Hang out with your friends
- Unplug from your cell phone and social media
- Set healthy boundaries in your personal and professional life
- Spend time with your family
- Give yourself a break!
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