10 Natural Ways To Beat Chronic Stress
Learn about the symptoms, causes, and tips to beat chronic stress.
Before we go on to talk about symptoms and causes of chronic stress, let’s understand what is chronic stress?
Chronic stress is said to be the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period of time in which an individual perceives they have little or no control. Chronic stress along with taking a toll on your day-to-day life, could cause various health issues including anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, sleep disorders, hormonal disorders, and headaches.
Causes of chronic stress:
Stressing excessively over a long period of time causes chronic stress. Apart from everyday events causing stress, the most common reasons for stress are:
1. Sudden death of a loved one
2. Job loss
3. Financial problems
4. Relationship breakup
6. Postpartum depression
9. Loss of a cherished dream
What are the symptoms of chronic stress?
At some point or other in life, we all go through not-so-pleasant and stressful situations. However, some of us are more affected by it than others. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of chronic stress:
Some of the most common physical symptoms of chronic stress include:
- Headaches: Tension or stress is one of the major causes of headaches. It’s said that many people clench their jaws and/or grind their teeth, both of which could trigger a headache. Well, if this reason doesn’t seem convincing enough. There’s a study that backs are the claim of stress causing headaches. According to a study published in American Academy of Neurology Journal, every 10 per cent increase in people’s stress levels causes them to experience tension headaches on 6.3 per cent more days/month and migraines 4.3 per cent more often.
- Digestive problems: Experiencing digestive issues such as diarrhoea, constipation, and nausea more often than ever? You could be suffering from stress. Stress could decrease blood and oxygen flow to the stomach. This could result in cramping, an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation. These symptoms can further develop into gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), irritable bowel disease (IBD), peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- High blood pressure: When you are stressed, your body produces a surge of hormones. These hormones increase your blood pressure by causing your heart to beat faster and your blood vessels to narrow. Also, many a time high blood pressure is caused by the unhealthy ways people rely on to cope with stress such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and bingeing on junk food.
- Insomnia: According to the National Sleep Foundation, stress causes hyperarousal, which can upset the balance between sleep and wakefulness leading to insomnia. And insomnia further increases the problem of chronic stress as our body tackles stress less efficiently when its sleep deprived.
What are the tips to beat chronic stress?
No matter how calm a person you are, day-to-day stresses are bound to get to you. Here’s how you can kiss chronic stress goodbye, naturally:
- Eat right – This is something completely in your control. Ditch the junk, and focus on creating a healthy diet plan that nourishes you. When you eat whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, they work to restore the balance of insulin, cortisol, and other hormones that are released when you are experiencing stress.
2. Fix the larger problem – Don’t brush things under the carpet. Try and understand the underlying reason for your stress and tackle it head-on if it is something that is within your control.
3. Build a support group – Sometimes all you need to get through a rough, stressful patch is a support group. Enlist the help of your friends and family who are reasonable, and have a calming effect on you. Sometimes all you need to beat stress is a third-party perspective.
4. Learn to relax – Given that we spend all our time rushing from one task to another, we forget the basics of relaxation. In the middle of a particularly stressful day, when you are running from pillar to post, spend a few moments emptying your mind and allowing yourself the luxury of relaxing mentally, albeit momentarily.
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5. Unplug, disconnect – The irony of urban living is that we can never switch off. We have read enough about people being addicted to their smartphones and tablets, and how that escalates stress. There’s a simple way of beating that chronic stress; just fall off the map by disconnecting from all forms of social media momentarily, and re-engaging with the real world around you.
6. Do some physical activity – Go on a hike, swim, do yoga, take a walk. Exercise is considered one of the biggest stress busters, since it allows you to focus on nothing but the moment, and also releases endorphins that leave you feeling healthy, strong, and good.
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7. Meditate – This one may not be for everyone, but even if you can take out 10 minutes a day to do some deep breathing, you will find yourself less stressed. Chronic stress has a way of creeping up on you, and the best way to beat it is by getting back to the basics.
8. Sleep well – If you sleep well, chances are you will wake up feeling far more in control of things, and able to deal with daily stresses. A good night’s sleep also helps balance your hormones and reduce cortisol levels in the body.
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9. Let the small stuff go – Don’t sweat the small stresses that add up and become chronic stress. If it is not something earth-shattering, learn to let it go. If you can declutter and refuse to allow small stresses from overpowering you, when the big ones hit you, you will be better equipped to handle them.
10. Get yourself a pet – This may not be practical if you live in a small city apartment, but one cannot stress enough the wonders of a pet. Get yourself a dog, a cat, a parakeet, or any other pet. They love you unconditionally, are minimally demanding, and are the perfect companions when the stresses of the world get too much to handle.
Lastly, remember, stress, when taken in tiny quantities, could help you achieve great things. Just know where to draw a line. Trust us, nothing is worth your mental, physical, and spiritual harmony. Nothing.