“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ‘round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me.” ~ John Lennon and Paul McCartney
2 Ways to Look at Stress
Maybe we can relate to “The Office” character, Michael Scott, when he says, “mo money mo problems.”
Sometimes when stressed, we may want to shout for “HELP” like John Lennon, and Paul McCartney did in their famous song Help. If that sounds like you, then this article can help give you a few tools that can help you better manage stress.
There are two ways we can look at stress. One way is from a physiological standpoint, where stress can be anything that throws your body off balance/out of homeostasis. This could be sleep deprivation, cold exposure, or even starvation.
The second way is from a psychological/emotional standpoint. These stressors include social relationships, financial strain, moving to a new location, increased work or job demands, etc.
Now that we’re looking at stress from two directions let’s look at some quick things you can start doing immediately to help your anxiety.
Quickest Ways to Decrease Stress
1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
A 5-15 minute exercise that allows you to release tension within your body and incorporate slow breathing to help calm your nervous system.
Here is a video guide you can try.
2. Slow Diaphragmatic Breathing
-Breathing in and out of our nose only. -Inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds. -Repeat 5-6 times.
After doing the above, try placing one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest.
As you inhale, feel your belly expand out like a balloon. As you exhale, feel your stomach contract back towards your spine.
Breathing at a slower pace and with diaphragm movements can help decrease your stress and make you feel more relaxed.
3. Write Your To-Do List Down
Instead of trying to keep track of every aspect of our schedule/workload in our head, write it down. Add some timeframes so you can be more organized. This can decrease feelings of stress or a sense of being overwhelmed.
4. Sun and Sweat
Get sunlight in the morning, which can help improve mood and sleep.
Try working up a sweat with some movement and note how you feel afterward.
Longer Term Solutions
1. Sleep Hygiene
Improving your sleep environment can help promote better sleep and give your brain and body more resilience to combat stressors.
2. Talk to Someone
Sometimes, we underestimate our ability to vent or talk with a friend.
Consider talking to a professional to help navigate some of the stress or anxiety you may be feeling.
Stress is not just one thing. Stress is multifaceted and needs to be approached from physical and psychological perspectives.
There are many items to do that can quickly help relieve stress and some longer-term solutions. Try some of these out, and let us know what worked for you!
For further reading on stress, check out: