People are always underestimating stress, even as they feel the many ills it can bring to them. It’s hard to say whether people are more stressed now than they have been in previous decades, though there are certainly many who would make that claim. But there’s no doubt that work and personal issues that inflict great stress still abound.
It’s a mistake to simply brush off stress as a part of life that you must accept, Sure, there’s an extent to which this is true; you can’t kill all the stress that you’ll encounter in your lifetime, nor can you completely erase the problems that are causing you stress now. But prolonged stress really does do damage to your body and mind. It also shortens your lifespan.
So how are people supposed to deal with stress if the root causes aren’t always solvable? Well, while the most obvious and direct causes may not be immediately resolved, the peripheral activities and habits you have can certainly be addressed – and it’s these things that exacerbate stress and the effect it has on you.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to be aware of if you’re looking to reduce the intensity of the stress you have to deal with.
You may not have thought that what you eat and drink factors much into your stress levels. But your diet affects all kinds of chemicals and processes in your body, right? So it makes sense that it would affect you in the physical ways that can exacerbate stress. To take a basic example, a healthy diet replete with fresh fruit and vegetables will lower your blood pressure. And high blood pressure is concomitant with stress!
Things like candy and processed foods take their toll on your body, making you feel sluggish. They also interrupt your ability to sleep. Speaking of which, what you drink can also have damning effects. Booze is a good example, though we’ll go into more detail on that later. For now, we’ll just mention coffee.
Yes, I know: coffee is manna from heaven. You can’t get through the day without it and all that stuff. And coffee is certainly good for you in certain amounts – but a lot of people drink too much, heightening feelings of anxiety and this their susceptibility to stress. That, and it can affect your ability to sleep.
Sleep on it
When you leave a computer on for too long, its performance starts to drop a little. This is surely something you’ve noticed, especially with machines that aren’t exactly high-end beasts. Well, the same goes for your body. When you don’t sleep enough, you become more susceptible to stress, depression, and a lack of concentration.
The problem, of course, is that it seems most people don’t get enough sleep – and a lot of them don’t seem to think that they’re running any worse without it. But make an effort to get at least 7-8 hours sleep every night for a good two or three weeks – and you’ll definitely notice a difference. Of course, those struggling with stress will often find themselves in a vicious cycle precisely because it messes with the ability to fall asleep! You should look into the way the two intertwine, and how to deal with them both simultaneously.
It would be a lie, of course, to suggest that alcohol always exacerbates stress. Let’s face it: a glass of wine or a beer can be potent sedatives, taking the edge off and lightening your mood. While there are always alternatives to alcohol, there’s no denying that it can help you destress! But the problem is that a lot of people drink too much. This is especially true of workaholics, many of whom are on the verge of turning into a different kind of -holic. Alcohol messes with your sleep, as well as s your heart and liver functions. These won’t help when it comes to stress.
And then there’s smoking, which many are convinced is the ultimate form of stress relief. Not true, I’m afraid: it’s a stimulant, and often increase the stress you feel rather than decreases it. What probably relaxed you somewhat was the fresh air and the small break you took in order to smoke! Still, there’s no denying that quitting creates its own stress. This can be aided with the use of e-cigarettes and things like Teleos vapor juices. This helps you quit while taking the edge off of the effects of withdrawal.
Of course, the reason that most people are stressed is that they work too hard. That, or they just really don’t like their job! (Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s probably a mix of both.) But how exactly can you solve that? Work is just something we have to do.
This probably isn’t the best way of looking at things, although it is true that you’ve got to make money somehow. But this mindset may detract from the fact that you may not be as powerless in this as you thought. On the extreme side of the scale, you could quit your job. Some would call this going too far. But why not at least have a look and see what else is out there? Most people seem to be too scared even to look, thus cutting themselves off from potentially great opportunities.
Outside of this, there are other approaches you can take. Consider carefully how you actually work. Everyone in your workplace probably goes about their job a different way. By doing some scheduling for yourself, you can ease the strain of having multiple tasks per day. Also, stop multitasking! Not only does that increase your stress levels, but it also ensures you’re not even doing the work as well as you could!
You may also want to consider asking your employer if you could work from home for a day or two a week, even if it’s just a short-term thing. Explain that you think it would be good for you and your output, considering your stress levels. (In fact, telling your employer you’re stressed might be a good way of looking into other resolutions, too.)
Of course, there is also the really obvious suggestion: take a vacation!