Life can get hectic and sometimes we become stressed. Some things we can prepare for, but other things can catch us off guard. The best time to start managing your stress is now. Try some of these techniques the next time you need to reduce stress.

Recognize Your Stress-Response

The first step you need to take when it comes to stress management is to know when you are feeling stressed out. There are some basic signs to look for, including:

  • Alertness – This is why many people lose sleep over stress.
  • Digestion slows or stops – This is why chronically stressed people, often gain weight over time. It can also cause stomach pain, diarrhea, or constipation.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure – This will weaken your heart muscles and put you at higher risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Increased stress hormones – This can cause your body to store fat in the abdominal area.
  • Faster breathing – This makes you more likely to catch colds and infections.
  • Tense muscles – This can cause pain, headaches, twitches, and nervous tics.

Once you have an understanding of how your body handles stress, you can begin to work through it.

Understanding Control

Life can get crazy and sometimes it might be easier to throw your hands up. If you believe that your stressors are out of your control, you are more likely to be overstressed. People who can accept their part in each situation are more likely to fix the problem, rather than give up and suffer through it.

Lifestyle Changes

If you didn’t already know it, your lifestyle plays a huge role in how your body handles stress. Most people who exercise often report lower stress. This is likely due to the endorphins that are released during workouts. You might also consider eating more plants. Plants come loaded with vitamins that can help counterbalance the damage caused by chronic stress.

Meditation and Relaxation

Take the time to stop and breathe. When we become stressed out, your breathing starts to change. You might take faster, more shallow breaths. That can cause you to feel stressed for longer periods of time. When you recognize the signs of stress, stop, have a seat, and take several deep breaths. Try to only think about each breath in and out. If you are feeling good, you might want to try these popular, more advanced forms of meditation and breathing:

  • Transcendental Meditation(TM)
  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Visual Meditation
  • Walking Meditation

Change Your Mind About Stress

Yes, chronic stress can be bad, but the truth is that stress is a natural part of a healthy body and mind. The mechanisms that create the stress-response were developed to save a person’s life. Instead of fighting this response every time, you might find it helpful to appreciate it. New research is starting to show that when a person recognizes the benefits of stress, they have little to no damage as a result.

It’s important to remember that the stress response in our bodies is the same whether we are running our your lives, or just running late for work. In that moment, you need to decide if the stress is helping or hurting you. Don’t let stress weigh you down, ask for help when you need it.