Many people deal with stress every day.
Work, family issues, health concerns, and financial obligations are parts of everyday life that commonly contribute to heightened stress levels.
What’s more, factors such as genetics, level of social support, coping style, and personality type influence a person’s vulnerability to stress, meaning that some people are more likely to become stressed than others.
Plus, research shows that parents, people in professions such as healthcare and social work, People of Color, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are more likely to have higher stress levels.
Minimizing the chronic stress of daily life as much as possible is important for overall health. That’s because chronic stress harms health and increases your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, anxiety disorders, and depression.
Here are some evidence-based approaches to relieving stress:
1. Spend time with friends and family
Social support from friends and family may help you get through stressful times and cope with stress.
A study that in 163 Latinx young adults in college associated lower levels of support from friends, family, and romantic partners with loneliness, depressive symptoms, and perceived stress.
Having a social support system is important for your overall mental health. If you’re feeling alone and don’t have friends or family to depend on, social support groups may help. Consider joining a club or sports team or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you.
Having strong social ties may help you get through stressful times and is important for overall mental well-being.
2. Create boundaries and learn to say no
Not all stressors are within your control, but some are. Putting too much on your plate may increase your stress load and limit the amount of time you can spend on self-care.
Taking control over your personal life may help reduce stress and protect your mental health.
One way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, because juggling many responsibilities may leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Being selective about what you take on — and saying “no” to things that will unnecessarily add to your load — can reduce your stress levels.
Plus, creating boundaries — especially with people who add to your stress levels — is a healthy way to protect your well-being. This can be as simple as asking a friend or family member not to stop by unannounced or canceling standing plans with a friend who tends to create drama.
It’s important to create healthy boundaries in your life by declining to take on more than you can handle. Saying “no” is one way to control your stressors.
3. Learn to avoid procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and avoid procrastinating.
Procrastination may harm your productivity and leave you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality.
A study in 140 medical students in China linked procrastination to increased stress levels. The study also associated procrastination and delayed stress reactions with more negative parenting styles, including punishment and rejection.
If you find yourself procrastinating regularly, it may be helpful to get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time. Switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful in itself.
If you find yourself regularly procrastinating, staying on top of your to-do list may help ward off related stress.
4. Take a yoga class
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal — to join your body and mind by increasing body and breath awareness.
Several studies show that yoga helps reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Plus, it can promote psychological well-being.
These benefits seem to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
Yoga may help lower cortisol levels, blood pressure, and heart rate while increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that’s low in people with mood disorders.
Yoga is widely used for stress reduction. It may help lower stress hormone levels and blood pressure.
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