LIFTING AND MANAGING STRESS
The next question, therefore, is how can one manage stress? There are several stress management skills that have been proven effective. They include, but are not limited to:
On a micro level, our bodies react to the stressors by releasing cortisol which is the stress hormone. Consistent exposure to these stressors leads to a build-up of this hormone which has the capacity to damage organs in the body and further exacerbating our health state. It is not uncommon to find that many individuals sit long hours at their desks and have little to no form of physical activity. However, it has been shown that exercise helps to burn cortisol through the release of endorphins after a single exercise session lasting 20 or 30 minutes. The release of the happy hormones as they are sometimes called help us to feel happier and healthier. Thus, the benefits of regular exercise to the mind and the body are unrivaled.
Maintaining good eating and sleeping patterns:
When our bodies are properly nourished, it is easier to cope with stress. Likewise, it is important to replenish and refuel after long, stressful days. This can be done by eating a well-balanced diet starting with breakfast to maintain energy throughout the day. In addition, adequate sleep is also necessary so that the heart can rest, and also for the body to repair itself and build its immunity against diseases. Proper sleep also helps to counter tiredness and boost mood.
Maintain a strong social network:
Stable social connections with friends, family, and peers have been shown to reduce the effects of stress. This is because a strong social network can provide help in terms of advice, guidance, encouragement, acceptance, emotional comfort amongst many others especially when one is able to share what is causing distress. In the absence of this network, one is more likely to be isolated which can increase stress exponentially. In this case, one can make efforts to build this network by volunteering for causes or attending interesting events where one could meet like-minded people.
Meditation is simply a process through which one’s mind is trained to It is willfully pushing away distractions and training one’s thoughts to become aware and involved in the present moment. There are various forms of meditation which include mindfulness, yoga, etc. Beyond stress reduction, meditation has numerous benefits including improved attention and concentration, better memory, increased self-awareness, etc
If you are unable to deal with stress, make sure there is someone you can discuss work pressures with- partners, friends, and family can all be great. Are you, a colleague, or your supervisor experiencing any of these challenges?