Identifying the cause of stress is the first step in treating it and preventing the triggers from causing stress again.
Several measures and methods can help prevent stress build-up, these are listed below:
Deep breathing – when one feels the triggers of stress becoming forceful, one should just stop those feelings, take deep breaths and relax the muscles. Inhale for about three seconds and exhale for a bit longer. This will rid the lungs of impure oxygen and replace it by fresh bout of oxygen, thus enhancing blood circulation and focus. One must continue these breathing exercises till it calms you down and gets you back on the normal track. It might help to ignore the stressful job for that moment and substitute with something less taxing.
Balanced and healthy diet – what one eats and drinks can have a major impact on one’s feelings and actions. It is good to maintain healthy eating when you are stressed, so your condition does not get worse with your eating habits. In some people, stress can cause binging on sugary and snack foods, causing sugar and energy levels to rise and drop sharply. These peaks and troughs in sugar levels can cause exhaustion, irritation and lack of concentration. The key is to eat regularly without skipping meals, so the body gets a continuous supply of energy to maintain mood and concentration levels. A balanced diet comprises five major food groups:
Protein – available in cheese, tofu, eggs, nuts, fish and meat
Carbohydrates – available in pasta, bread, potatoes and rice
Fruits and vegetables
Dairy products – milk, cheese and yoghurt
Sugars and fats
Reduce intake of alcohol and caffeine as these have the same effects as stress has on the body. Men can moderately take 3-4 units and women 2-3 units of alcohol in day without any health hazards.
Too much caffeine taken in the form of tea, soda drinks and coffee can cause anxiety, restlessness and irritability. Replace caffeine-rich drinks with other varieties like water and juice. It is a must to take 6-8 glasses of water in a day.
Exercise – exercise releases chemical, serotonin, which makes one feel happy and less stressed out. It enhances blood circulation, reducing risks of heart attack and stroke. It is a constructive way of releasing and venting out one’s anger and frustration. Ideally, one should have at least a 30 minute exercise regime for five times a week. The benefits are even greater if exercise leaves you a bit short of breath. Any exercise that you take up should be slow in beginning, and be increased at a gradual pace over time. One should select ideal type of footwear for exercising.
Examples of exercises or activities one can get into for tackling stress are running, cycling and swimming. However, before starting any type of exercise you can contact with the GP for a health-check.
Sleep – stress is a big factor causing disruption of sleep patterns. Stress plays on one’s mind even in sleep and can cause insomnia and bad dreams. Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep leads to tiredness and grogginess which further builds-up stress condition. One must contact GP if stress is affecting sleep patterns, so he can identify the root causes of stress and prescribe appropriate treatment with medications or counselling or relaxation therapies.
Quit Smoking – As opposed to general belief, smoking is not a stress-buster. It is, in fact, a contributory factor to deterioration of stress and other health hazards. Quitting smoking is difficult and has its withdrawal symptoms which makes one feel irritable and stressed. However, these are signs that body is repairing or coming out of a damaged state.
Relaxation – stress causes muscles to become tense, and can lead to muscular pains and spasms. As soon as you feel stress building up, try to loosen up your muscles by getting up, shaking your limbs and shrugging your shoulders. You can imagine yourself in a peaceful and serene place like a desert island or a lake which can make you relax and calm down your muscles and nerves. Try to spend some time with yourself, read a book, do gardening or go for a warm shower, these measures would help relieve you of stress.
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