JCC Writing Team
January 31, 2020
JCC Writing Team
Image Credit: ©konradbak - Deposit Photos
Is Stress Aging You Prematurely?
Believe it or not, there’s actually been a number of studies and publications on the link between stress and aging. And the results really aren’t that surprising. How much better would you life be without stress? Unfortunately, unless you are a millionaire that has your every whim catered for chances are there will always be a little stress in your life. And it’s not really a bad thing – in fact in some instances, stress in small dosages can be useful. The problems start cropping up when stress gets out of control, or becomes chronic. Failure to properly manage stress causes all sort of health problems, but this article is here to help with some suggestions for managing stress.
A journal can help reduce stress – All it takes is a pen and paper and a few minutes to write down whatever is bothering you. Often just getting it out on paper puts things in a better perspective. Writing about our problems releases emotions that may otherwise be pent up, thus increasing our stress levels. Furthermore, seeing our problems on paper can sometimes allow us to see possible solutions to our problems.
Avoid putting things off that can hang over your head – If you procrastinate, you run the risk of increasing your stress levels without even realizing it. Even though most of us agree that we work best under pressure, the opposite is actually true. Are you actually doing your best when doing it at the last minute? The stress of having the extra pressure on your shoulders from the impending duty that you keep putting off automatically increases your stress level. Rather than procrastinating, complete your work as soon as you receive it in order to reduce your stress level.
Focus on your priorities – One great tip for relieving stress is clearly know and define your priorities in life, as they will help you stay focused on what must be accomplished. When you lose sight of your goals and priorities, you will become unfocused, confused, and go off track, which will easily result in stress.
Keep sleep as a priority – Try to get as much sleep as you possibly can during the course of the day, regardless of how much you have to work. Lack of sleep will result in increased stress levels, which can limit your productivity and hurt the way that you feel. Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night to feel your best. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep take a nice warm bath immediately before bed. Relax your body in the water one bit at a time and let your cares drain away with the bath water when done.
Try counting or breathing – A great tip that can help you keep your stress levels down is to count to ten when you’re feeling really stressed out. You don’t want to act on your impulses when you’re stressed because they can lead to ugly consequences. Taking a little time out can help you regather your thoughts. Teaming this with breathing can reall help get your mind off what’s stressing you out and regain focus. Breathe in counting 1…2…3.. Then hold for 4…5…6… then release 7…8….9 and repeat. Sometimes just focusing on something as simple as breathing is the easiest way to clear your head.
Take time to do things that make you happy – Next time you are feeling stressed, do something that makes you smile. Just the act of smiling has been scientifically shown to reduce stress levels. The nerves you use when smiling trigger the center in your brain that controls emotions. This essentially begin relaxing you immediately. So next time you feel stressed, step back and grin! This could be watching a funny show or even playing a video game. Video games help to calm the mind, however, if you start to feel frustrated during your game play, you should quit the game immediately. You should clear your head and let yourself relax, do not give into stressful feelings or frustration.
Don’t ignore your problems – One tip to be sure to consider when dealing with your stress, is to make sure that you do not abandon your problems. This is extremely important because many times, things that are causing stress will not go away and postponing them may only make the issues worse with time. Even if you don’t feel stressed having tings below the surface can eat away at you without you fully realizing it. So when problems arise be sure to deal with them – even if deal with them means just putting in your schedule time to deal with them.
Consider getting a pet – One of the ways that you can deal with stress for the long term is to purchase a cat or dog to have around the house. When you get home from a long day at work, it is always nice to have a pet waiting for you to add excitement to your life.
Take time to exercise – A healthier lifestyle is an easy way to reduce or eliminate stress. Your body will be more capable of coping with the effects of stress if you follow a nutritious diet, enjoy regular exercise and get adequate rest each night. When you take care of yourself, you will feel more relaxed and able to deal with stress. Studies have actually shown that exercising regularly can help remove the stress hormone from your body and keep your stress levels in check. It doesn’t have to be super intensive exercise, something as simple as a brisk walk can do.
Stop multi-tasking – A good tip that can help you reduce stress is to stop multitasking and just focus on doing one thing at a time. Multitasking might save you time but you’ll end up with a big headache. Avoid all the stress by just focusing on finishing one task at once. The funny thing with multi-tasking is that often when you think you’re multi-tasking you’re not you’re just partially working on a single thing and spinning your tires on everything else. Computers are great at multi-tasking, as humans though – we are not. We work best one a single task at a time.
Get away from your desk – To help yourself relax during a long day at work, be sure to leave the office for lunch. Even if you just step outside to eat your bagged lunch in the park, getting away from your office can do wonders to decrease your stress. A 15 to 20 minute break from your environment makes a long day a whole lot easier to cope with.
Give up caffeine (at least for a while) – If you find yourself becoming more irritable during the mid-point of your day, try giving up your morning coffee. While caffeine is a great way to perk yourself up in the morning, the withdrawals later in the day can leave you feeling stressed and anxious. If you’re not willing to give up caffeine entirely, try getting your morning wake-up from a cup of green tea.
Finding techniques which will work for you and then putting them into practice can be challenging. Due to the way stress affects our minds, you might have trouble remembering to use the techniques you’ve learned. Make an effort to use these tips daily you can make them a staple in your life, and you can be much happier. Of course, if you are extremely stressed out on a daily basis, take a ride to the doctor’s and have them analyze if there are any medications that can help your state. Sometimes, there is a chemical imbalance in your body, in which case you will need a prescription to help reduce your stress level.
*Information in the blog is provided for entertainment purposes only. Consult a medical professional before attempting any tips shown here.