When you think about stress, the word that comes into mind is ‘bad’. Stress isn’t a bad thing in life because it can help to motivate us and push us to do our best. During examination week, stress helps drive you to study for an examination when you’d rather be playing online games. However, at a certain point, stress stops being helpful. If you’re feeling stressed all the time then that might be a signal for you to reassess!

Why is it so important to manage stress?

How does stress relate to your body function? The body produces larger quantities of the chemical cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline when under stress. This triggers an increase in heart rate, sweating, dizziness, sleep problems and alertness in order to prepare you for ‘flight and fight’ action (Herman et al., 2016). However, in cases of chronic stress (long-time stress), the changes become harmful to your health. Dr Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a leading stress researcher at Ohio State University and other researchers have found that chronic stress will slow down normal bodily functions, the body’s immune system and digestive system (Macleavy, 2008).

Take a few moment to learn what you can do about it. Effective stress management helps you break the hold of stress over you so you can stay healthy, productive and happy.

1.Set priorities.

Make a list of tasks that you need to do. Then decide what must get done and what can wait. Have a schedule and beyond a certain point, say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.

2.Think positive.

Ask yourself if something is really worth getting upset over for a week, a month? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere. Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you’ve failed to do.

3.Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle

Eat a healthy diet – well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be aware of what you eat. Avoid fast food, sugary foods and drink, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. A 2012 study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that supplementing your diet with vitamin B complex can help keep your energy high and stress low. Stress and sleeplessness go hand-in-hand. Magnesium promotes improvement in sleep quality because it helps modulate activity of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPAA), a central substrate of the stress response system (Boyle, Lawton, & Dye, 2017).

4.Adequate sleep

Feeling tired will increase your stress level because it may cause you to think irrationally. Sleep helps fuel your mind, as well as your body. Research shows that increased sleep is likely to reduce exposure to stress and the associated adverse feelings and cognitions (Sadeh, Keinan, & Daon, 2004).

5.Exercise regularly.

Just 30 minutes or more a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, and it can also serve as a valuable interruption from your daily worries.

6.Build a social support network and Get Moving.

There is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood.

7.Relaxation methods.

Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or tai chi are useful for managing symptoms of stress (Janice.K, Preston.H, Christian.L, & William.B, 2011)

8.Seek help.

Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.

Reference:

  1. Boyle, N. B., Lawton, C., & Dye, L. (2017). The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9050429
  2. Herman, J. P., Mcklveen, J. M., Ghosal, S., Kopp, B., Wulsin, A., Makinson, R., … Myers, B. (2016). Regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical stress response. Comprehensive Physiology, 6(2), 603–621. https://doi.org/10.1002/cphy.c150015.Regulation
  3. Janice.K, Preston.H, Christian.L, & William.B. (2011). Stress, Inflammation, and Yoga Practice Janice. National Institute of Health, 72(2), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181cb9377.Stress
  4. Macleavy, C. (2008). Feeling stressed? National Institute Of Health, 5(2), 38–42. https://doi.org/10.1038/vital795
  5. Sadeh, A., Keinan, G., & Daon, K. (2004). Effects of stress on sleep: The moderating role of coping style. Health Psychology, 23(5), 542–545. https://doi.org/10.1037/0278-6133.23.5.542
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