April is Stress Awareness Month: Tips to Help You Cope
We live in such a fast-paced society, which can cause many people to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Problems that stem from family, work, and finances are the most common stressors people face. Learning how to manage anxiety, cope with stress, and find ways to deal with these situations can go a long way in leading a healthy life.
Understand What You Can Change
Many things in life are out of our control. When you pause and recognize what you have the power to change, life becomes more manageable. It can also help you make better decisions and impact the way you react. The Serenity Prayer, used in many twelve-step programs, is a great tool to help ground yourself in stressful situations.
“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
Meditation has proven emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits, and is considered one of the most effective ways to deal with stress. Many people dismiss meditation, associating it with long periods of stillness and silence. While this is one form, there are many different ways to meditate. Free guided meditation videos are easily accessible on YouTube, along with a wide variety of smartphone apps. Popular apps include Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace.
Almost any form of exercise can increase your sense of well-being and enhance your overall health. Physical activity increases the brain’s production of endorphins which help improve mood and restore balance. Exercise also has positive effects on the body’s cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems, to help protect you from the harmful effects of stress. The key to sustaining it is developing an exercise program that works for you. Find something you love to do, and gradually work your way up to a consistent regime.
Eat a Healthy & Balanced Diet
A balanced diet helps support the immune system and regulate cortisol levels, the primary hormone responsible for stress. Cortisol plays a number of roles in the body including regulating sleep cycles, reducing inflammation, increasing blood sugar, and controlling blood pressure.1 To learn about foods that help combat stress, visit Cleveland Clinic.
Stress can have a snowball effect, so the sooner you develop healthy coping mechanisms, the better. When stressful situations arise, understand what you can change, and do your best to let go of the rest. Try to incorporate meditation and exercise in your daily routine and nourish your body with healthy food choices.