8 Healthy Ways To Manage Stress

Leaving stress unchecked can affect your mental and physical health. Feelings of overwhelm and pain caused by stress may lead you to turn to unhealthy means, such as smoking, to help you cope.

There are better ways.

We understand that chronic stress is not something to be ignored. To help you live your healthiest and happiest life possible, we have put this article together to help you in your every day.

Here are eight healthy ways to manage stress.

1) Stay active

Though exercise won’t make your stress disappear, it will help you feel calmer. By moving regularly, you may feel more confident and improve your sleep quality. Both of these can be negatively affected by stress.

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Biologically, when we exercise stress hormones (such as cortisol) are lowered and endorphins are released. These are brilliant chemicals in your body which boost your mood and act as natural painkillers.

If you need ideas on how to stay active, we have plenty of resources available on our dedicated webpage.

2) Try to keep things in perspective

A big part of tackling long term stress is to overcome negative thoughts. If your inner critic is working overtime, this will lead to you feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Yes, not everything can be controlled. But that does not mean that you can’t do anything about problems.

Remember – there is a solution. Think things through and try not to be so hard on yourself if things do not end up going your way. By concentrating on the things you do have control over, you will feel more empowered.

Thinking positively will help you to act positively. Ultimately this will help keep negative thinking at bay and reduce your stress.

3) Avoid unhealthy habits

When feeling stressed, it is very easy to turn to unhealthy habits, such as drinking alcohol, smoking or even drinking too much caffeine. Even though they may seem to take the edge off initially, relying on them to help you feel better often make things worse in the long run.

Alcohol is a depressant. It can disrupt the delicate balance of chemicals and processes our brain relies on to function. Drinking heavily can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Nicotine, which is used in cigarettes, is addictive. While it may give a temporary sense of relaxation, it can lead to withdrawal and cravings.

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea and energy drinks. While it may seem innocent, high doses can increase anxiety. People can develop a dependence on caffeinated beverages due to the chemical changes it creates in the brain. If you start to feel anxious or skittish, consider cutting back.

4) Spend time with loved ones

Another healthy way to manage stress is to spend more time around the people who make you feel good. Being part of a friend network or family gives you a sense of belonging and that you’re not alone. Social support from your loved ones can help you get through stressful times. Even if you cannot see your family in person, catching up through video call can help.

Laughing is an excellent stress buster. Not only does it relax muscles which may be tense, but it also improves your immune system. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, promoting a sense of well-being and temporarily relieving pain.

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5) Review your lifestyle

Think about how you are currently living. What have you got right and what needs some work?

A work life balance is essential to keeping your stress levels down. Allow for time off and try not to think about work during this time. Do not take on too much work at once and try to prioritise so the most immediate deadlines are dealt with first.

Alternatively, try not to procrastinate too much. It is good to have time to yourself often but spending too much time procrastinating will stress you out. Set aside time to work on specific tasks to ensure you meet deadlines.

6) Be more mindful

Mindfulness is all about living in the now. Acting in this way will help you to combat those negative thoughts which may be causing you stress.

One way to increase mindfulness is through deep breathing. Stress triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response, which results in physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat and quicker breathing. Deep breathing exercises will allow you to take back control by slowing your heart rate. This will help you feel more relaxed.

Another way to boost mindfulness is through meditation practice. During meditation, you focus your attention on eliminating thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. With more practice, you will be able to better manage your thoughts and increase your mental well-being.

7) Write things down

A good way to handle stress is to write things down. You can write about what is stressing you out in a journal or diary, through drawing or however best works for you. Understanding your stress triggers will help you overcome then.

As well as writing about your stressors, focus on the positives in your life. Jot down what you are grateful for and come back to these when you are feeling overwhelmed. Being grateful will help you feel less anxious and help put things into a positive perspective.

Please ask the team about our new worry pads. These are notelets where you can write your worry down and help rationalise it.

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8) Ask for help

It is OK to ask for help. In fact, we would encourage you to do so. If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, speak to your GP.

If you are seeking urgent mental health support, here is a list of urgent support channels available to help you.

Osteopathy offers many healthy ways to manage stress, without the need for medication. We can offer advice, techniques and resources to help combat stress and boost your well-being.

At Osteopathy For All, we offer consultations and continue to support our clients and the wider community with osteopathic services.

Visit our appointments page, call us on 01825 840582 or email hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk to speak to one of our team.