Relieve stress: tips for coping with stress
Relieving stress is important in order not to strain the body unnecessarily and to go through the day relaxed. We will show you the best tips for reducing stress.
Stress seems to be part of everyday life nowadays. Many people are stressed every day without even realizing it. Stress is a normal reaction of our body to deal with challenges better and to remain efficient and focused. However, if the stress lasts longer, it can become a problem for us, since it affects not only our body, but also our psyche. It is all the more important to reduce stress and banish it from our lives.
What is stress?
The term originally comes from physics to describe a push or pull on a certain material. Stress also means "pressure or tension". Stress in itself is not a bad thing. It can even be very helpful to react quickly and think clearly in threatening situations in which we are very tense. Stress puts us in a state that either helps us to fight or flight.
As soon as we are on alert, our senses sharpen, and stress also gives us a brief boost of energy to be focused and efficient in a certain situation, for example in sports or during an exam.
But stress can also be triggered by other things, such as intense heat, cold, pain, noise, hunger, or insomnia, not to mention certain situations in which you are actually threatened and have to fear for your life. These factors are commonly referred to as stressors.
If we are exposed to these stressors prolonged, we have the feeling that we are no longer able to cope with everyday things. This is particularly a problem when stress takes over and determines our everyday life.
How does stress arise?
Stress arises from an increased perception, which in turn is influenced by our sensory organs. As soon as we are stressed, the brain stimulates the release of hormones by the adrenal glands. There, for example, the stress hormone adrenaline is released, which increases the heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. This is a completely normal reaction of our body to be able to react appropriately to the stress trigger.
If the stress is prolonged, it can also affect the autonomic nervous system, which affects digestion or the immune system. It is not without reason that we get abdominal pain in stressful situations or even suffer from indigestion.
What types of stress are there?
There are basically two types of stress: distress and eustress. Eustress means the positive stress that allows us to react quickly and appropriately in difficult situations, in sports, or during an exam. It ensures a quick energy boost and a short increase in performance. When the stressful situation is over, the body returns to a “normal state”, which means that it stops the release of stress hormones, which leads to a calming of the vegetative nervous system.
As soon as the body suffers from distress, we are literally in a state of emergency. The brain releases stress hormones again and again, which becomes a problem for the body because it is constantly running at full speed. The release of stress hormones not only reduces our concentration - but it can also weaken the immune system.
Stressed people often do not even know that they are suffering from stress at all. That is why it is important to exactly know the symptoms of stress so that you can better sense the first signs of stress. Stress usually first becomes noticeable on the physical level, for example by suffering from
- sleep disorders,
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus),
- teeth grinding,
- increased blood pressure,
- heart palpitations,
- muscle tension and pain,
- gastrointestinal disturbances.
On a psychological level, chronic stress can lead to
- sleep disorders,
- concentration problems,
The stress symptoms are often accompanied by cravings or loss of appetite.
What are the effects of stress?
When we talk about stress in general, we usually mean the so-called distress, the negative stress. It ensures that we are constantly on alert. It initiates a series of chain reactions, which can then manifest both on a physical and on a mental level. Chronic stress is poison for the body and is suspected of promoting illness.
By increasing metabolism, it robs us of tons of energy that can lead to catabolic (degrading) pathways. The body's own substances, such as the muscles or bones, are often broken down to meet the increasing energy requirements. It is not uncommon for stress to lead to nutrient deficits or a greater desire for sugary foods.
Those who are constantly stressed risk health damage because the stress is associated with mental and physical illnesses. States of exhaustion, which can result in burnout, are not uncommon in the event of permanent stress. Especially in stressful situations, many people increasingly use nicotine, alcohol, medication, or drugs or make their diet very sweet and fatty.
Besides, stress affects digestion, so that the food is used less efficiently, which in turn can lead to deficiency symptoms. The fact that the immune system is weakened by constant stress increases the susceptibility to infections, which is why we are particularly susceptible to colds. Furthermore, blood pressure is increased due to the constant release of stress hormones, which can favor cardiovascular diseases in the long term.
Reduce stress with these tips
Stress doesn't have to be an every day thing. There are a few simple tips that can help you reduce stress and not only be more relaxed, but also more focused.
1. Reduce stress with a healthy diet
Nutrition can be the key to success, especially when stressed. Because an incorrect selection of food often means that we are stressed and therefore do not feel good. First of all, it is important to replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones. To reduce stress, you should use wholesome, untreated foods (if possible from organic farming), such as
- whole-grain products,
- nuts and
and remove treated foods, fast food, and convenience foods from your nutritional plan. Fresh food not only provides your body with energy, but also with many essential nutrients that strengthen your nerves and the immune system and can contribute to optimal physical and mental performance.
Below we have put together a list of nerve nourishments whose foods are particularly rich in essential micronutrients, such as B vitamins and magnesium, which can contribute to normal nerve function.
Nuts are the number one nerve nourishment. With a high content of magnesium and B vitamins, they contribute to normal nerve function, while the vitamin E it contains can protect the cells from oxidative stress. Walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios are the perfect nerve nourishment for in between.
Bananas help reduce stress or prevent it from occurring in the first place. They contain tryptophan - an amino acid that we need for the production of the happiness hormone serotonin. Also, bananas are rich in magnesium and zinc.
Those who are often stressed usually use chocolate to calm their nerves. It also contains tryptophan - a precursor to serotonin. Basically, the darker the chocolate, the higher the proportion of tryptophan. To avoid the sugar, you should either choose straight cocoa or a chocolate with a high cocoa content.
2. Reduce stress with exercise
Exercise is a good outlet for relieving stress and clearing your head. Which type of exercise you choose is primarily a matter of preference. The main thing is that you take pleasure in overcoming your weaker self. You can either work out at the gym, walk or jog. Doing sports outdoors has the great advantage that you are in the fresh air and can get some vitamin D in the sunshine.
3. Relieve stress with relaxation
Relaxation definitely helps reduce stress. In addition to yoga, progressive muscle relaxation is said to be particularly effective. It is based on the principle of "relaxation through tension", which means that you first consciously tense your muscles for 10 to 15 seconds before you let go.
4. Relieve stress with healthy sleep
If you want to reduce stress, you should always sleep well so that the body can regenerate and maintain its performance. Besides, healthy sleep can help lower cortisol levels.
For example, did you know that if you go to bed at the same time each night, you can sleep much better? This is actually the case: the body gets used to it and automatically releases the sleep hormone melatonin, which can contribute to a healthy sleep.
5. Reduce stress with stress management
The fact that we often suffer from stress in everyday life is mostly because we plan to do more than we can actually do. It is important to set priorities and postpone everything that is not important. A calendar can help you cut out unimportant things and use your time for important things. To protect yourself from stress in the future, you should get into the habit of saying “no” frequently. Deliberately setting limits can help not to burden yourself with too much work and to focus on the essentials.
6. Relieve stress with meditation
Meditation helps you reduce stress and calm the mind. Meditation is not a science, but a way to get away from the stress. By consciously concentrating on your breathing and letting the thoughts pass by, you automatically become calmer and can also concentrate better after meditation. To feel the positive effects of meditation, you should get into the habit of meditating daily, ideally in the morning after getting up or in the evening before going to bed.
7. Reduce stress with cold water
Cold water is a first aid for stress. It is said to stimulate the brain and provide an energy boost. You get the greatest effect if you take a cold shower in the morning, but you can also run cold water over your forearms if you are stressed out.
8. Relieve stress with music
The next time you're stressed out, try listening to your favorite music. In particular, calm music should have a positive effect on your nerve and help with stress. Just a few minutes are enough to lower the stress levels and to feel more relaxed and balanced.
9. Reduce stress with "Digital Detox"
While digital media are a great way to stay up to date and stay in touch with others, it can be very exhausting and lead to stress quickly. We, therefore, recommend that you often take a digital break and switch off your cell phone and laptop more often. If this is too difficult for you, you could, for example, start with checking Facebook and others only once a day and spending lunch with colleagues instead of constantly looking at your smartphone.
Stress is a normal reaction of our body to be able to react effectively in certain situations. As soon as the stress is prolonged, we are permanently on alert, which can not only lead to a reduction in physical and mental performance, but also to illnesses. It is therefore even more important to eliminate stress from our everyday life, for example by eating healthy, regularly exercising, and relaxing more often.