Some studies have shown that stress has many effects on the human nervous system and can cause structural changes in different parts of the brain. In fact, 75%–90% of human diseases are related to the activation of the stress system.
Signs of stress can be present in our bodies, and it is important to know what they mean. Some people become easily irritated, frustrated or moody when under pressure; others may lose sleep or appetite due to their levels rising with the pressure that is placed on them when nothing else is going right.
Living a healthy and positive life is not always easy, but it's worth the struggle. We all have different ways that work well depending upon what kind of person you're inside: some people may turn towards food while others might take time out from their day.
Here are some effective ways to increase stress awareness and boost your resilience:
Keep a stress diary: One way to recognize your stress is to keep a journal in which you write about feelings and thoughts that are related to stressful events. This helps you identify the stressors responsible for your reactions and enables you to devise solutions for any future problems that might arise. Also just getting thoughts out of your head through physical writing so you don't keep ruminating.
Adjust your attitude: An attitude of defeatism and worry can make it difficult to respond mindfully to stress. If this sounds familiar to you, know that simply adjusting your attitude can reduce stress. When you approach a situation as a challenge rather than as an enemy or threat, you don’t trigger the stress responses that damage health. If you don't succeed at something, you're identifying gaps and ways of adapting and elevating.
Listen to your body: Paying attention to the body can help you reframe stress as something that happens to your body rather than something that happens in your mind. Mindfulness-based stress exercises can help you direct your focus on different regions of the body and pay attention to physical sensations. These sensations are always there, but you may not be able to see them because they are not always obvious or noticeable.
Practice relaxation techniques: There are many different relaxation techniques you can try to help you cope with stress. Some popular options include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises. Find one that works best for you and make it part of your daily routine. There are also a variety of cultural and spiritual practices that many can identify strongly with and could be extremely helpful to add to your toolkit if that resonates with you. It is never easy to address life’s problems when you don’t take breaks. Your mind will be more susceptible and likely create worst-case scenarios that may never come true or only do so in your imagination.
Get regular exercise: Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. It helps to release tension, improve circulation, and boost endorphins (the feel-good hormones). Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can make a big difference in how you feel and releases the tension that is held in your body following unpleasant emotions.
Eat a healthy diet: What we eat has a direct impact on our stress levels. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help to improve our mood and energy levels. Avoiding processed foods, sugary snacks, and excessive caffeine can also be helpful. These nutrients feed our minds, and foods that lack nutrients can fill us up but aren't enough to have our minds functioning optimally.
Get enough sleep: Sleep is essential for our physical and mental health. When we're tired, we're more likely to feel stressed and anxious. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night to help your body and mind feel rested and refreshed. It's not worth risking your mental health for some temporary relief. Sleep is as important to our well-being and stability, so don't make the mistake of thinking that you can get by on less rest or just deal with it when things become too much!
If you can't eliminate or reduce a stressor, taking some time to recognize the presence of that stressor can help you identify when you need to take corrective action and how to do this.
By increasing our awareness of the signs and symptoms of stress, we can take steps to reduce its impact on our lives. Making some simple lifestyle changes and seeking professional help when needed can boost our resilience and improve our overall health and well-being.