Knowing and noticing signs and symptoms of mental stress is the first step toward taking action for treating and managing stress. If you find that stress is affecting your daily life, you should seek professional help. A psychiatrist can advise and help through medication and stress management training.
Management of stress includes self-help measures and certain medications. For the extreme form of stress, you may have to take the help of a psychiatrist. However, there is no medicine to cure stress. Your psychiatrist will prescribe you medicines to reduce or manage some signs and symptoms that present during stress.
Medicines for stress
Your doctor might prescribe:
- Sleeping pills or minor tranquilizers, if you suffer from insomnia. This may become necessary because sleeplessness can present complications of its own.
- Antidepressants if you are suffering from depression and experiencing its symptoms or complications
- Medication to treat any other medical symptoms of stress, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or high blood pressure
Stress management techniques
You also have to develop coping strategies to deal effectively with stress before it becomes chronic or severe.
According to a study, women may cope better with stress. However, women tend to keep problems to themselves and take help late. They are, therefore, more likely than men to experience complications such as anxiety or depression.
The following lifestyle measures can help manage and curb stress symptoms.
Reduce intake of alcohol and caffeine
These substances can worsen stress. Drinking more caffeine and alcohol increases your stress and depression symptoms and makes you vulnerable to their complications especially if you are taking any medication. Caffeine and alcohol can both elevate levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Aerobic exercise may offer the best and faster stress-busting benefits. Aerobic exercise elevates your heart rate, which releases endorphins in the brain. These neurochemicals are the feel-good chemicals that make you tougher, which helps you cope with stressful situations in a healthy manner.
The best stress-busting exercises include:
- Brisk walking
- Jogging or running
Manage your time better
When there is too much work to do and not enough time, it stresses you out. Poor time management is a major cause of stress.
By being efficient in your time management, you will find that you are able to spend time outside work to relax and enjoy life.
You should analyze your daily schedule and find a way to manage your time in a better way.
You can do this by planning more efficiently, better prioritizing of tasks, delegating some of the tasks to others, and controlling your workplace environment.
Get sufficient sleep
You can help sleep better by creating the right environment in your bedroom that will help you sleep better.
There are some stress management and relaxation techniques to sleep better that you should practice.
Diet is a key to good health. Besides, there are some foods that you should eat before bedtime, which will help you sleep better. Do not eat processed foods and go for whole grains, fresh foods that include leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and lean proteins.
Healthy eating will help maintain a strong immune system, which can prevent stress complications.
Relaxation techniques include
- Deep breathing
Deep breathing can help in managing stress and is probably the most underestimated in coping with stress. Breathing can slow down your heart rate and help you mentally relax. Deep breathing allows more oxygen in your blood to circulate through your body. This can help to calm your nerves, which reduces stress and anxiety.
Massage lowers the heart rate, releasing feel-good hormones, which help you to relax. It reduces the soreness and tension in your muscles. It improves blood circulation and makes you feel more energetic and alert.
Meditation on a daily basis for 10 minutes produces a deep state of mental and physical relaxation and brings about a tranquil mind. During meditation, your mind is focused, which eliminates the confusion of your thoughts that cause stress. This produces a sensation of physical and emotional well-being. Just follow correct meditation techniques.
Yoga is a combination of physical and mental exercises that calm the mind and strengthen the body. It reduces stress and anxiety and promotes feelings of relaxation and calm. The New York Times explains some effective yoga exercises.
Power yoga specifically improves muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. It can decrease levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body.