Stress is one of the most significant contributors to chronic health issues today. Although much is known about the effects of internalizing and compounding daily challenges, people often mistake their health problems – headache, sour stomach, irritability, chest pain – for illnesses when the underlying cause may be acute stress.
Even happy events like planning a wedding, vacation, and starting a new job are stressors. So, learning how to manage the way we react to urgent issues and finding some quiet time to decompress and relax are a key to reducing that ton of bricks we often feel hanging over our heads.
Finding Extra Time to Chill
Workweek hours have fallen at a steady pace each decade for the last century. But workers don’t seem to have more free time to enjoy themselves. How much that has to do with being connected to the internet through our phones is debatable, but people are more frazzled today than at any time in the past, and it’s not all pandemic-related. It’s just time.
Because we spend much of our time in vehicles and traffic is a significant cause of stress, finding ways to reduce our commute and unnecessary trips is mandatory. Start by making a list each week of all the things you need to do so you can eliminate extra trips.
Another way to save time and eliminate hours lost in traffic is to join the millions of workers who can work virtually. And the internet also offers many ways to cut trips and save money as our buying options change.
According to recent news, CVS pharmacies will begin the closure of 900 stores in 2022, leaving many consumers with fewer local stores to get their prescriptions filled. Fortunately, you can save time by using an online prescription service and even eliminating many doctor visits.
Online doctors can save you time and money by seeing you virtually and even handling your insurance paperwork. If you want, you can still pick up your prescription locally, but most buyers save even more time by having their medicine shipped directly to them.
Spend Your Time Wisely
How you spend your time is a personal choice, but sometimes forcing yourself to get out of the house to see a movie or take a nice walk can be very therapeutic. According to doctors, simply walking each day helps restore muscle and ligament functions and helps expand breathing, which gets more oxygen into your bloodstream.
Exercise can also trigger the body to produce and release more dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that send messages between nerve cells and play a significant role in our ability to think, plan, and enjoy life.
Serotonin is explicitly a mood stabilizer that helps us stay calm and handle challenging situations at our best and helps produce stable and healthy sleep patterns. Exercise too helps us sleep better.
Finding hobbies that give you pleasure is also crucial for reducing stress and can include exercise-related activities like bowling, golf, yoga, and less intense things like reading, writing, cooking, painting, and gardening.
Practicing relaxation techniques taught in meditation groups such as deep breathing can significantly impact your ability to handle stress, reduce blood pressure, and even help with overeating.
Spend Time with Friends
Although visiting family can be stressful in and of itself, the benefits usually outweigh the worries. Family and friends ground us and provide support and fun, a mainstay of social interaction and human bonding. The lack of that human connection can be very difficult for people.
Laughter is a great stress reducer, triggers the release of our brains’ mood neurotransmitters, and is often said to be the best medicine. Try to surround yourself with happy people.
If your family is preoccupied or far away, consider joining a club or recreation group nearby. Although meeting new people can be challenging for some people, once again, the good outweighs the bad and can lead to long-term relationships that nourish your heart and your soul. Any nourishment is good.
Live in the Moment
Learning to live in the moment doesn’t mean you can’t dream about the future. It just helps you accept and enjoy what you have at this very point in time.
Worrying about the past and spending time within yourself and stressing over a multitude of relationship issues, work-related issues, and even financial issues can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that we can’t seem to escape. Instead, broaden your outlook to include the landscape before you, not the view of the past that seems to dominate many worries.
Being centered on “now,” we can learn to forgive the past and stop stressing over what might have happened or what might have been. Instead, concentrate on now, and if you do think about tomorrow, know that it’s coming no matter what, and it will be as wonderful as you make it.