Jan 15 , 2021
Life in the fast-paced and competitive global environment is quite exhausting. Dealing with the daily routine issues of work, home, life, and love can make it impossible to manage our stress levels. We are always on the go, trying to squeeze all the demands and worries into our short lives. There is so much the human mind can take without falling apart. Now, when the Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed the globe, stress levels among people are experiencing a dramatic climb. The fear of the invisible virus, the job insecurity, and the economic recession are gruesome for all of us. The Harris poll survey revealed that about 78% or 8 out of 10 adults in the United States consider the pandemic one of the most significant stress factors.
Stress is natural. It is our brain’s way of making us aware of the challenges and situations around us. But the natural fight or flight response is designed to last for minutes, not weeks and months. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to headaches, insomnia, mood swings, and loss of appetite. Stress can also weaken your immune system. This makes matters worse as a weak immune system makes you prone to other diseases. Hence, managing our stress levels is essential, now more than ever. We may not be able to change the situations around us, but we can change the way our minds behave. Although there are some cases where doctors prescribe medication and supplements to curb down stress levels, they are rare. Most of us can practice certain psychological techniques to reduce mental apprehensions.
Relax and Breathe
The first step in dealing with stress is to relax and breathe. This simple technique has been the best stress buster for ages. Shallow breathing or ‘chest breathing’ is considered natural by the masses. However, when you hold your abdominal muscles tight, the diaphragm doesn’t move in its full range of motion, and hence the oxygen transfer is shortened, leading to quick breaths and anxiety. Take deep, long breaths (abdominal breathing), hold it inside for a few seconds and then breathe out. Focused breathing helps you free your mind from the problems and issues of the outside world.
Note: This technique may not be suitable for individuals with underlying breathing ailments. If you experience difficulty in holding your breath, visit your nearest doctor.
It is vital to give your brain time to rest and recharge after all days’ worth of stress and anxiety. Most of us are always hopping, going to bed late, and getting up early. During this, we forget to take proper care of ourselves. Having a sound sleep is crucial for your body.
However, falling asleep may be challenging for people who are stressed out, totally understandable. It is recommended to stop using your mobile phone for at least thirty minutes before going to sleep. Mobile phone screens emit blue light that restricts the secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you are still having trouble falling asleep, try reading a book, relaxing your body, or even the good old-fashioned counting sheep technique.
Have a Laugh
Laughter is the best medicine. This phrase has been the topic of research for many years. Now, research claims that laughing can help reduce your stress levels significantly. Laughter improves your oxygen intake, stimulates your heart, and raise your endorphin levels. Endorphins are the ‘stress-relieving’ chemicals produced in your body, which arise a euphoric feeling in your body. Laughing and smiling helps brighten up your mood and boost your confidence in dealing with your life challenges.
Plan Your Exercise Routine
Exercising has been known to boost mood and decrease stress levels. Physical activity can increase your endorphin levels, improve your quality of life, and help relieve tension. When you exercise, your body is inhaling more oxygen, which helps keep your body properly oxygenated. In addition to relieving stress, exercising is also great for your blood circulation, which strengthens your cardiovascular system and helps you stay active. A busy mind garners less stress than an idle mind.
Find Your Purpose
Probably the most important unanswered question is, who are we? Finding your purpose in life can help you stay motivated even in dark times. Viktor Frankl, the author of the book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning,’ states that the biggest drive to motivation is neither power nor pleasure but finding the meaning. Go out, search for your purpose in life. Engage your mind in something that you enjoy. Maybe it is sports, gaming politics, arts, crafts, sciences, anything that ignites the fire in you. You deserve that small bit of serenity.
As you advance, life may become even more arduous, but one thing that you should always remember is that your greatest companion is your mind. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.
Author’s Bio: Dr. Sharon Fried Buchalter Ph.D., is a distinguished clinical psychologist, life coach, and public speaker who has worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist and clinical social worker. She received the highest accreditation as a board-certified diplomate-fellow in advanced child and adolescent psychology. She has spent her lifetime educating, enlightening and empowering parents and children of all ages.
She has developed revolutionary tools to help couples, parents, and families achieve happiness and success. Her first book Children Are People Too, provides eight essential steps designed to strengthen families and empower parents to be their own child’s life coach and mentor. Her second book New Parents Are People Too, provides relationship advice for couples entering parenthood for the first time.
She is also the founder and owner of Products On The Go. And Little Toes.