Stress is more common than you might think, with 70% of America’s population claiming they feel stressed on a daily basis. Small and big issues that happen in your daily life can trigger you to feel stressed.
When a person feels stressed, their heart rate and their blood pressure is elevated. It can make you have negative thoughts, and make you feel fearful and angry. The situation that causes stress doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative one. A positive change that happened in your life, for example buying a new house or welcoming a new baby into your life can cause feelings of stress.
Stress is a normal part of life, and its purpose is to help us to respond to fearful and dangerous situations. However, stress can also be a danger to our mental and physical health. People who experience stress frequently have issues with anxiety and depression, along with heart problems.
Although it is impossible to completely avoid stressful situations, it is possible to manage how you deal with them.
1. Listen to Music
If you find yourself feeling stressed, take a break from the real world for a while and listen to some relaxing music. Some of the benefits to listening to music are:
- Positive effect on both your brain and your body
- It can help lower your blood pressure
- Reduce cortisol: Cortisol is a hormone that is linked with stress
While most experts advise you to listen to peaceful, relaxing music, the best music to listen to is whatever music you like that makes you feel relaxed. For some, cheesy relaxing music might increase their stress levels.
Listening to positive music is known to lift a person’s mood. Especially music that helps you remember a good time in your life. Singing along and enjoying your favorite songs can change your mood almost instantly. Thinking of positive memories of the past helps you avoid dwelling on negative thoughts.
2. Learn how to Play a Musical Instrument
Playing a musical instrument is a great way to help reduce your stress levels. Playing an instrument allows you to turn your focus to doing something positive.
Let’s take the guitar as an example. You’re feeling stressed, and you pick up the guitar and start playing. Whether you’re a professional guitarist or only just learning, you need to be able to concentrate. Your hand-eye coordination, timing, chords, etc. all have to be correct so that you can play the song you’re trying to play. All of this helps you forget about the situation that made you feel stressed in the first place.
The ongoing pandemic has been tough for most of us. To help prevent the spread of Covid-19, experts have advised us to stay at home. Many people have found a lot of free time on their hands, however, life can be more stressful than it once was. With many schools closed and a huge increase in unemployment, people are struggling to get a grip on their stress. Although joining a face-to-face guitar class might not be possible, there are plenty of ways to learn how to play online such as:
- Websites often upload music sheets online to help you learn how to play. So, if you want to learn how to play beatles chords, all you have to do is search for here comes the sun chords
- Streaming sites: There are a wide array of tutorials on streaming sites that guide you how to learn the guitar from scratch.
- Private classes: Most guitar teachers educate their students nowadays using platforms like Zoom or Skype.
Learning the violin and the piano are also great for helping you reduce your stress levels.
3. Try Meditation
One of the most common reasons why people like to meditate is to reduce stress. When you meditate, you clear your mind from noisy thoughts and enter a state of calmness. Although your mind is fully alert to what is going on and you are completely awake, you are in a state of deep rest. When your body and mind reach this state, here are a few of the benefits:
- Decreased heart rate
- Decreased inflammation in your body
- Reduced production of the cortisol hormone
- Reduced production of adrenaline
- Makes your immunity stronger
- Your body gets plenty of oxygen
You don’t have to be an experienced meditator to gain from meditating. Research showed that people who took part in a 6-day meditation retreat experienced the same effects as those who had been practicing meditation for at least 10 months.
Meditating on a regular basis can help improve both your mind and your body. Don’t expect to be able to meditate straight away, it takes patience and practice. Again, like learning a new musical instrument, there is plenty of content published online to help you figure out how to meditate.
4. Find out what causes you to feel Stressed
Sometimes when we feel stressed, it feels like there are stressors appearing from every direction. Even when we seem to try everything possible to avoid them, we still find ourselves falling into the trap. Most of us tend to take a defensive position, which doesn’t help much.
The best thing you can do is take a step back and try and figure out what has caused the stress in the first place. Maybe it’s something that happens in the workplace, perhaps an argument with a fellow worker, or perhaps your children not doing their homework.
By figuring out where the stress originated from, helps you get one step closer to taking action. Not all these situations are avoidable, but preparing your mind and body before it happens will make it much easier to manage your stress.
5. Think about what you can Control
Remember that you can’t control everything in your life. You can tell your child to do their homework, but you can’t do it for them. It’s not easy to control your partner’s spending or the deadlines your boss sets out for you, that’s life.
Attempting to try and take control over things that are uncontrollable is a very common reason why people get stressed. It’s inevitable that you will fail, as it is out of your control, which leads to you getting more stressed and experiencing feelings of helplessness.
After you have figured out what has caused the stress in the first place, find out which of these stressors you can and cannot control. For example, your boss gives you a task and the deadline is for 5 PM. If you are concerned that you might not be able to hit the deadline, speak with your boss and say you might need some more hours. Okay, you might get in trouble, but if you take on the project knowing it needs to be done by 5 pm, you will end up stressing for the entire day. This will affect you physically and mentally, and the chances of you doing a good job is slim.
By explaining you might not have it ready for the deadline allows you to work to your full potential by not feeling stressed for the day.
If you are suffering from constant stress, speak to a friend or a professional. If you leave it untreated stress can cause serious harm to you physically and mentally.