While stress, as we know, is a large part of our lives. Stress occurs as a response to both anxiety and stress; the brain activates several neural peptide systems, leading to the production of the adrenal hormones. Those hormones unleash the “flight or fight” response. This response then feeds back to the brain, prolonging the reaction. This critical response is suitable if we are, fleeing from a lion or fighting a bear. But not proper if we are simple overwhelmed with events. So how can we change this response? Here are several steps that could help:
First, take control of the situation. By confronting the problem is empowering. Thinking that you can’t do anything about the situation will make your stress worse. Being stressed is the first step to “feeling better” as you identify the cause of your “stress” to begin thinking of solutions to your stress.
Second, being active in correcting the cause of your stress. Evidence shows that exercise supplies an increase in self-esteem and well-being by producing biochemical changes in the brain. Such as releasing endorphins which supply a better type of sleep. Spending many hours in the gym doesn’t offer much more relief than performing a couple of hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Such as fast walking or cycling, for example.
Third, connecting with your social support groups such as your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors. This action allows you to share feelings and support from others by having lunch with a colleague, performing volunteer work, or taking a class.
Fourth. Just keep learning new skills. Obtaining new skills can give you a feeling of achievement and confidence. Sign up for a cooking course, learn how to play a musical instrument, visit an art gallery or museum, or learn how to dance. But don’t focus on gaining achievement certificates. Instead, use this experience as a mental incentive. Set targets and reaching them creates positive feelings of accomplishment. Challenge yourself at work or during your leisure time.
Fifth is giving to others as the more you give, the better you feel that even small acts of charity count. Giving away a smile or a “thank you” or volunteering in your community supplies great returns to you. By helping and supporting other people and working towards a universal goal is admirable. Suppose you do not have time to volunteer in person. Do anyone a favor every day on a coffee run for your coworkers and remember the donuts. Do anything kind to stimulate the reward area of your brain to create those positive feelings.
Sixth is to work smarter, not harder, by prioritizing your actions and leave the least critical job for last and if you accepted that your inbox would never be empty at the end of the day. But most vital for yourself is to schedule some personal time each day for yourself.
Seventh is to be aware of your thoughts and feelings to avoid your thoughts from overtaking you from the present moment. Your thoughts and feelings are “mental” occurrences that don’t need to control you. As you go about your day, be mindful of being present during your commute to work or your lunch hour.
During meditation, your brain has increased activity in the areas involved in handling emotions such as happiness, fear, and sadness. This management is necessary for a proper reaction to the situations generating those emotions. The increased activity during meditation exercises these brain areas, allowing them to work more effectively to regulate your emotional responses. Brain composition also changes within eight weeks of meditation, reducing grey matter density in the amygdaloid nucleus. There is evidence that mindfulness exercises keep gray matter growing. Research from the Netherlands involving mindful exercise studies shows that meditation positively affects stress, depression, anxiety, and well-being. These same studies show the possibilities for online mindfulness exercises to improve general “psychological health.”
A study involving Human Services professionals is another example of the positive effects of mindfulness. For psychologists, social workers, counselors, and foster-care workers, work-related stressors can lead to traumatic stress. This research had found that people with the lowest levels of psychological distress and burnout had the highest levels of mindfulness. A behavioral scientist named Simon Young said: “It is a tribute to the accumulated wisdom of humankind. That traditional Buddhist meditation practice goes back 2,500 years. Originally designed to deal with human suffering, has been successfully adopted to reduce stress and anxiety in healthy people.”
This quote means that we can influence our stress and anxiety levels, with simple well-tried social techniques and a purposeful mindfulness application. Learn more about dealing with stress and anxiety at Drdanielybarra.com. Sign up to receive updates on our live events and get your free eBook on “Stress and your Health.” Also, check out my Udemy page for my “Panic to Peace” stress course. It’s an introduction course about getting easy, safe, and straightforward stress managing techniques and methods for controlling stress events in your life.