Nobody is immune to stress. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, rich or poor, have brown eyes or blue, have five kids or none. Stress can stem from many different factors and it can create many different symptoms, especially health problems. It’s incredibly important that you recognize when you’re stressed and that you work to navigate through it.
I can say for certain that I have felt much stress in all aspects of my life. Specifically my senior year of university being one of the toughest times I have experienced. I was taking a full course-load and working 40 hours a week between two jobs to be able to pay my bills. Between school, work, staying healthy and trying to have fun my senior year, I was a complete mess. My norm was having a panic attack at least once a month where I found myself sobbing on my bedroom floor because I felt so overwhelmed. I spent most of the year that way until I distinctly began taking time for myself to ensure I was lowering my stress levels.
When I first started my business I also experienced great amounts of stress. Between working 60-plus hours a week building my business, networking like crazy, trying to get clients, and constantly worrying about money I gained 20 pounds and had super high blood pressure. My blood pressure was so high that my doctor made me switch my form of birth control from estrogen-based to progestin-based. My doctor worried that the extra estrogen coupled with my high blood pressure would cause me to have a heart attack or stroke. I cut back my hours severely and focused on managing my mindset and spending more time on myself. It only took a couple months, but my blood pressure decreased to a normal level and I was so much happier without all of the stress in my life. Plus, my business started booming as soon as I stopped worrying so much!
So, what exactly is stress?
Stress is basically your body’s reaction to a harmful situation, whether or not it is actually harmful. It’s your heart rate increasing, your breath quickening and your blood pressure rising. As you can probably imagine, having your heart rate and blood pressure raised for long periods of time can be quite detrimental to your body.
What causes stress?
Stress can be caused by a plethora of things. It’s usually a feeling of overwhelm caused by too many things happening in your life at the same time. Your body and mind have may not know how to respond in a certain situation. This results in feeling threatened in some manner.
It can be something that is out of the norm for you. A few examples include:
- breaking up or getting a divorce with a significant other
- death of a loved one
- sudden financial difficulties
- a car breaking down
- getting sick
- a traumatic occurence of an event
Maybe you’re having a tough time at your job. You have too much on your plate, you’re unhappy, or you’re having trouble with some coworkers.
Sometimes it is due to anxiety and mindset. If you’re naturally anxious, normally pessimistic, have a scarcity mindset, worry about things you know you don’t need to worry about, you probably have unnecessary extra stress.
So you’re stressed. Now what?
Remember that stress causes raised blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. If these all remain elevated for a long period of time then detrimental health problems may arise. So, you need to start working to combat stress and get your heart rate and blood pressure lowered. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Meditation and Deep Breathing. Taking several calming, deep breaths in a row allows for more oxygen to enter your body, circulate, and your heart rate and blood pressure to lower. This is certainly not a long-term solution, but can help create an instant small-scale lowering of stress.
- Talk to a trusted confidante. Talk about everything that is stressing you out. As simple as it sounds, sometimes just talking about it and getting it out in the open can really help reduce the stress. This trusted confidante could even be a journal where you write all of your thoughts and feelings.
- Exercise. Increase the amount of dopamine and serotonin that flows into your brain by exercising, which will lead to more happiness and agreeability in your life. You may even find that with consistent exercise you are less bothered by known stressors.
- Practice self-care. Spend some ‘you’ time doing things you love to do. Maybe you want to binge-watch a show on Netflix, take a relaxing bath, go for a walk in nature by yourself, or read your favorite book. Just make sure it’s something that you enjoy doing and that you make time to do it often.
- Take some time off. Leave your stressful daily life in favor of a relaxing and fun trip somewhere, even if it is only for a day or two. You will return refreshed, invigorated and feeling like you can take on any challenge that comes your way.
- Eat more ginger. Ginger contains compounds that are known to increase serotonin and dopamine. So, as with exercise, consuming ginger root will help increase your feeling of happiness. You can add grated ginger to meals, take it in the form of supplements and in tea.
- Eliminate coffee and other caffeinated drinks. Although caffeine increases cortisol levels in the body, once the caffeine runs its course and leaves your system, there is a huge let-down. It’s the let-down that causes people to feel exhaustion, sadness and more stress.
- Take flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil contains Omega 3, which increases serotonin. As you know by now, Serotonin helps increase happiness and makes it easier to cope with difficulties in life.
- Get enough sleep. Don’t neglect your body by not giving it enough time to rest and heal itself. Be sure to get ample sleep so you are able to function to your fullest ability! If you don’t you might just be adding more stress to your mind and body.
Knowing and recognizing the causes and symptoms of stress, you can implement the simple suggestions to begin alleviating stress from your life. Feel free to try a couple and see how you feel. Try more tips until you figure out which help you the most. Be sure to always remember how important it is to take care of yourself and the importance to combat stress so that you can live your best and healthiest life.
Hannah is a Personal Business Coach and Owner/Founder of Limitless Millennials. She focuses and works with ambitious Millennials who are looking to create, monetize and uplevel with ease and clarity in their coaching businesses. Her mission is to help others leave their 9-5s by pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. When she’s not working on her business, you will find Hannah travelling, binge-watching Netflix (Parks & Rec and The Office, obviously 🙂 ), reading personal growth books, trying a new recipe, hiking, and spending time with her friends and family.