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How to Be Better at Stress - Well Guides

https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-deal-with-stress

nytimes.com

How to Be Better at Stress - Well Guides
Stress is unavoidable in modern life, but it doesn't have to get you down. Here are ways to deal with stress, reduce its harm and even use your daily stress to make you stronger.

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Understanding Stress

  • Dealing with Stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) contribute to our stress levels.
  • A little bit of stress is good for you, and even make you stronger, as long as you don't let it rule your life.
  • The power of belief is actively at work with stress, which can harm you if you believe that it can.

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Your Perception About Stress

With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

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Exposure to Stress

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

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Socially Stressful Activities

Socially stressful programs and activities like:

  • Basic Military Training
  • Boot Camp
  • Wildlife Camping Trips

have skill-building, uncomfortable situations by design, that help kids and adults incorporate social and intellectual abilities.

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Boost Stress Resilience

Boost Stress Resilience

Resilience is our ability to 'bounce back' from difficult experiences. There are several ways to practice it:

  • Reframe a seemingly negative condition.
  • Focus on core belief or faith.
  • Find a role model who has come through adversity.
  • Face your fears and confront them rather than avoiding.
  • Take the support of religion or spirituality.
  • Reach out to friends and family.
  • Exercise.
  • Challenge yourself regularly in physical, mental and moral domains.
  • Find meaning and purpose in your life.

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Exercise to Lower Stress

Consistent exercise helps in handling stress by:

  • Providing our body with the physical conditioning it requires to recover from stress.
  • Producing mood-boosting endorphins in the brain (especially weight training).
  • Outdoor activities boost your mood further due to the natural surroundings and fresh air.

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The Mind

The Mind

Our mind may be the key tool in handling stressAnd it needs rest to recover and handle the stressful situation in a better way.

  • MeditationOur mind is an emotional muscle, and meditation is the tool to make it rest and restore itself. Controlled breathing is one of the best ways one can improve concentration, vitality and boost one's immune system.
  • Journal writingwhether it is a daily journal, or a mission statement or even a priority list, it can help us reflect on our situation, change our perception, and identify obstacles that may be hindering our goal.

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Stress and Appetite

Sudden and acute stress can shutdown our appetite temporarily as a stress-response mechanism, but chronic stress (anxiety, worry) can increase our appetite.

Mindful eating, which involves eating slowly and relishing every bite, while being aware of the food that is going in us, is extremely important. Be present in the moment and savor the food you're eating.

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Friends And Family During Stress

The support of family and friends is a vital element in handling stressful situations. 
  • Seeking, and giving support is a powerful way to manage the stress in your life and boost your resilience. This includes listening to and emphasizing with a friend, mentoring, and volunteer work.
  • Acts of physical touch can ease your stress, like hugging or holding hands.
  • Spending time with animals is known to reduce stress, and there is ample evidence that pets are a source of comfort and stress relief.

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Health Effects of High Stress

While some stress is essential for human function, chronic stress creates a cascade of physical changes throughout your body: 

  • Heart problems: high risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. 
  • A weak immune system, leaving you vulnerable in the face of illnesses. 
  • Diabetes risk: Chronic stress can lead to extra blood sugar. 
  • Stress can cause stomach and digestion problems and increase the intake of unhealthy foods and alcohol. 
  • Sex and reproduction problems in both men and women.

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Exercise: What To Aim For

Research has shown that even a few minutes of exercise leads to benefits.**It’s all about increasing the intensity.**

The ideal exercise for adults are :

  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, such as running, swimming, brisk walking, cycling, tennis, and doing yark work.
  • 2 sessions of about 30 minutes of resistance training a week. Examples include resistance bands, bodyweight exercises like yoga, push-ups and sit-ups, and heavy gardening.

For more intense workout sessions, you should aim for:

  • 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week.
  • 2 sessions of at least 30 minutes resistance training.
  • High-intensity exercise should get your heart rate up to 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

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Resilience During A Global Crisis

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Resilience: Psychological Facts

  1. Resilience comes automatically to most of us.
  2. It is part of a set of skills and behaviours and not a standalone concept.
  3. Resilience is not an individual trait or quality, but dependent on many contextual factors like one’s upbringing, social factors and health conditions.
  4. It is not a static concept but a flowing, dynamic process based on our life cycle and external conditions.
  5. Resilience does not make a person a superhuman being, and the journey of suffering, misery and pain has to be undertaken.
  6. Positivity is one-sided, and running away from negativity does not build resilience.

How To Be Resilient

  1. Don’t isolate yourself, but connect with others, and nurture your relationships. One can reach out to others, play and have fun by joining online or offline groups, or while going for a morning walk. One need not wait for a pandemic.
  2. Accept what is happening to you(and others) and allow it to exist, while taking affirmative action towards stuff that is in your control.
  3. Don’t avoid discomfort, but move towards it occasionally. It’s not always about comfort and convenience.
  4. Distance yourself from your thoughts by practicing gratitude journaling, or simply writing on paper what is on your mind.
  5. Find growth opportunities in adverse situations by reframing them as a new challenge, something known as Cognitive Reframing.

Gentle morning exercise

Exercising may help alleviate anxiety when faced with a sudden, unpredictable shock.

Spend time with a close friend

According to research, when we connect with friends, we can handle stress better.

Start the day with time outside

According to a study, spending time in nature, or even just looking at scenes of nature, may help you recover faster from subsequent stressful experiences.