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Exactly How To Lower Your Stress: 10 Best Stress Management Techniques

I remember sitting at my desk, staring at my screen, feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. My knees ached with every movement, a constant reminder of my ankylosing spondylitis pain (aka the pain monster as I fondly called AS).

My corporate background was in the financial services industry and I worked in fast-paced offices with tight deadlines from bosses and other team members which added to the pressure. I often joked with my work colleagues that I would buy a little potty, and put it under my desk for my bathroom breaks -I was busier than a bumble bee. I’m certain my colleagues were relieved that I didn’t subject them to that scene!

But seriously, it wasn’t just pain that got to me. It was overwhelming stress that threatened to consume me. And there’s a scientific link between arthritis pain and increased stress. STUDY

If this sounds all too familiar, fear not. In this post, I’ll share exactly how to lower your stress with the 10 best stress management techniques.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body’s natural response to demands or threats. It’s that feeling of tension, pressure, or overwhelm when you perceive a situation to be more than you can handle. Stress can manifest in various ways, whether it’s tight deadlines at work, health issues like ankylosing spondylitis, or the juggling act of everyday life.

Related: Unlocking Inner Peace: 8 Powerful Anxiety Coping Strategies

What are the 5 Emotional Signs of Stress?

1. Irritability:

Feeling easily agitated or snapping at loved ones over minor issues. It’s like a short fuse ready to ignite at any moment.

2. Anxiety:

Constant worry or apprehension about the future, even when there’s no immediate threat. It’s like a dark cloud looming over every thought.

3. Mood Swings:

Fluctuations in emotions, from feeling on top of the world to crashing into despair. It’s like riding an emotional rollercoaster with no end in sight.

4. Lack of Motivation

Finding it difficult to muster the energy or enthusiasm to tackle tasks. It’s like wading through quicksand, each step feeling heavier than the last.

5. Overwhelm

Feeling you’re drowning in responsibilities, unable to catch your breath. It’s like being buried under a mountain of to-dos, with no escape in sight.

Can Your Body Shut Down from Stress?

Prolonged or chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body, leading to a variety of health issues. From high blood pressure and heart disease to digestive problems and weakened immune function, the toll of stress on your physical health can be significant.

When it comes to autoimmune diseases like ankylosing spondylitis, the impact of stress on the immune system is particularly noteworthy. AS is characterized by inflammation in the spine and other joints, and stress can exacerbate this inflammation by triggering the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. 

This heightened immune response worsens symptoms and increases the risk of flare-ups and disease progression. Moreover, chronic stress has been shown to suppress the activity of immune cells responsible for fighting off infections, leaving individuals with ankylosing spondylitis more vulnerable to illnesses and infections. Therefore, managing stress effectively is crucial for maintaining immune function and overall well-being.

How Do You Check Your Stress Level?

There are various ways to gauge your stress levels, from self-assessment tools to monitoring physical symptoms. Paying attention to the following warning signs can help:

  • muscle tension
  • headaches
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • mood fluctuations

Additionally, mindfulness practices such as meditation and deep breathing can help you tune into your body and identify areas of tension.

Related: How To Use Meditation To Melt Your Pain Away

10 Ways to Effectively Lower Stress

In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become an unavoidable part of life, especially for working women juggling the demands of a career, health issues like ankylosing spondylitis, and daily responsibilities. But I’ve got you covered because I’ve compiled a list of practical and actionable strategies to help you combat stress (especially when you see your boss heading over to your desk with a thick pile of file folders). 

Ready to reclaim your peace of mind? Let’s get into it!

1. Take Breaks

Schedule regular breaks throughout your day to rest and recharge. Even a short walk around the office can do wonders for resetting your mind and body.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Incorporate mindfulness techniques like meditation or yoga into your daily routine. Taking just a few minutes each day to breathe deeply and center yourself can make a world of difference.

3. Exercise Regularly

Engage in physical activity to release endorphins and alleviate stress. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga class, or a dance party in your living room, finding ways to move your body can help lift your spirits.

4. Prioritize Self-Care

Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or indulging in your favorite hobby. Remembering to treat yourself with kindness and compassion is essential for managing stress.

5. Connect with Others

Lean on your friends and family support network for emotional support and camaraderie. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with loved ones can help lighten the burden and remind you that you’re not alone.

6. Set Boundaries

Learn to say no to additional responsibilities or commitments that contribute to your stress. It’s okay to prioritize your well-being and protect your time and energy.

7. Get Organized

Create a structured environment at work and at home to reduce chaos and overwhelm. Keeping a tidy workspace and using tools like to-do lists and calendars can help you stay on track and minimize stress.

Related: Working through the Pain: 8 Productivity Tips For the Office

8. Practice Gratitude

Reflect on the positive aspects of your life by cultivating a mindset of gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal or simply taking a moment each day to appreciate the good things can help shift your focus away from stressors.

9. Limit Screen Time

Reduce exposure to digital devices, especially before bedtime, to improve sleep quality. Creating a bedtime routine that includes screen-free activities like reading or listening to calming music can help you unwind and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

10. Seek Professional Help

Don’t hesitate to contact a therapist or counselor for support and guidance. Talking to a professional can provide valuable tools and strategies for managing stress and improving overall well-being.

Conclusion

During the chaos of daily life or at the office, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and consumed by stress. But by implementing these ten stress management techniques, you can regain control and find peace amidst the storm.  Stress is inevitable, but how you respond to it is within your power. Take a deep breath, prioritize self-care, and embrace the journey towards a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Thanks for reading and please share.

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