Headache, lack of concentration, sleep disorders, weak immune system, high blood pressure, depression, burn-out: stress makes you sick in the long run. If you want to avoid it, you should consciously shut down the battery and ensure sufficient stress reduction in everyday life.
We are electrified every day. We rush from one appointment to another and prefer to do everything at once. Stress has become an integral part of everyday life for many people. Most of the time, they can't even relax at home because their head is like a pinball machine. However, constant stress is poison for your health that you inject into your veins every day. Chronic stress not only paralyzes - it also affects your health. Many therefore ask themselves: How can I reduce stress? The good news: You can learn to relax - there are many methods for combating or reducing stress. With these tips you will definitely succeed in this project.
Stress: what actually happens in the body?
The pulse is racing, the thoughts are circling: Stress is everyday life for many people. Stress is not an illness, but a completely normal reaction of our body to cope with difficult situations. Even the Stone Age people knew stress when faced with a saber-toothed tiger. Stress is therefore a vital signal that prompts the body to flee or fight. But what actually happens to us when we are constantly energized?
As soon as we take Stress stand, our body releases more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that drives us to peak performance. It becomes problematic when the cortisol level is permanently too high. Then sleep disorders and other illnesses can be the result.
By the way, cortisol not only stimulates the circulation - the hormone also ensures that the liver releases glucose and fatty acids. However, these substances stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin in order to balance the blood sugar level. The pancreas is constantly overloaded, which is why there is a high risk that it will stop working at some point. The result is diabetes.
How can you prevent stress?
Stress reduction and prevention starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. However, it's not as easy as it sounds. Because your true sources of stress are not always obvious and it can quickly happen that you overlook your own stressful thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Sure, you know that you're constantly worried about deadlines. But maybe your real stress factor is procrastination, as it causes neglect and tight timeframes.
To identify your true sources of stress and to reduce stress, look at your habits, attitudes and excuses:
- Do you explain stress as temporary ("I do 100 things at the same time"), although you cannot remember the last time you took a break to reduce stress?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or private life ("It's always haywire") or as part of your personality ("I'm just a nervous person").
- Do you blame other people or external events for your stress or do you see it as completely normal and inconspicuous?
As long as you do not understand that many stress factors are directly related to you and your attitude or behavior, no stress reduction is possible. For a fundamental change you need insight and improvement. This is the only way to avoid stress before it occurs.
Keeping a stress diary can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and how you deal with them. Record it in a journal every time you are stressed. If you keep a daily log, you will quickly recognize patterns and see the typical triggers. Write down:
- What caused your stress (make a guess if you are unsure).
- How your physical and emotional sensations were during this time.
- What was your reaction to the stress.
- What you did to reduce stress.
Live more serenely: Exercises against stress
1. Take a deep breath
This breathing exercise is especially helpful when you notice that your stress level is particularly high. It helps you to slow down in everyday life and to get a clear head. The trick is to lengthen your breath by inhaling and exhaling for four seconds. If you repeat this technique ten times, you will be able to clearly feel the difference. Not only does the pulse slow down - your thoughts also come to rest when you concentrate on your breathing.
Another great breathing exercise that takes a little more time is the Wim Hof method. Known as "controlled hyperventilation", this breathing exercise can lead to a rapid reduction in stress - but science does not yet agree on this. The method involves deep, rhythmic inhalations and exhalations, followed by holding your breath for minutes. Of course, this exercise also has dangers that should not be underestimated. It is best to find out more about the execution before you start.
2. Be happy!
Sounds easier than I said at first, doesn't it? But it is not. Especially when we feel stressed, tired or moody, we should smile more often. It's hard to believe, but our body releases happiness hormones even if we do it for no reason. Try to think of a nice or funny experience from the past and remember how you felt in that moment. This can suddenly improve your mood and help reduce stress. No positive thoughts in store? Just pull the corners of your mouth up - the hormonal result is the same.
3. Say NO more often
Visiting your parents, doing your boyfriend or girlfriend a favor or doing the things at the weekend that fall by the wayside during the week: Stress can be quite exhausting. That's why we should say NO more often in order to live more stress-free. What others think of it - you shouldn't worry about that.
4. Reduce stress through relaxation
Relaxation is still the best weapon against stress. Are particularly effective Relaxation techniqueslike Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation. With this technique, you tense individual muscles one after the other before relaxing them again after a few seconds. With this relaxation technique you not only loosen your tense muscles - you can also alleviate other symptoms (headaches, mental restlessness, palpitations). Meditation is also a great relaxation exercise to reduce stress, which helps you to focus and to feel your body. To do this, sit against the wall with a straight back, close your eyes and consciously pay attention to your breathing. After a short time you will notice how your body becomes calmer and your thoughts become clearer. For many people, this exercise is part of the daily morning routine in order to start the day fit and full of concentration.
5. Exercise against stress
Exercise is still the best medicine to counteract symptoms of stress. Endurance sports, especially jogging, walking, swimming and dancing, are ideal for reducing stress in this regard. Lovers of strength sports, on the other hand, should focus on intense, short workouts. However, you should avoid late training sessions in order not to unnecessarily push the cortisol level. The more cortisol you release in the evening, the worse you can sleep.
6. Reduce your coffee consumption
Coffee stimulates the circulation - everyone knows that. Hardly anyone knows that coffee boosts cortisol levels. Therefore, you should severely limit the consumption of this caffeinated beverage by only drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day.
7. Get your body used to a fixed day-night rhythm
If you sleep poorly, it may be because your body doesn't have fixed sleep times. As soon as you go to bed at the same time each day, your body gets used to it by producing more melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that ensures healthy sleep. With a fixed bedtime, you usually wake up at the same time in the morning and your daily routine can be planned because you know exactly from when to when on which days you have time for your tasks and appointments. So this method not only helps to reduce stress, it also prevents it!
8. Listen to music!
Everyone knows this: you hear your favorite song and you feel better immediately. Music is actually a wonderful tool for reducing stress levels. It doesn't matter what music you listen to, but rather why Du hear them. Hip Hop today, classical tomorrow: the choice of music is primarily influenced by moods and feelings, which can vary from day to day. On music streaming platforms you will also find playlists that contain relaxation music - a few sounds that are rhythmically and calmly arranged so that your head can switch off. Highly recommended!
9. Drink a lot
Whoever drinks too little dries up. Not only does brain performance decline - we also tend to be in a bad mood. In addition, a dehydrated body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your stress level. Drinking is therefore extremely important to reduce stress and keep cortisol levels in check. Two to three liters a day are ideal in this regard. However, you should avoid caffeinated and sweetened drinks. Water and unsweetened teas are much better.
What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a healing approach that combines meditation and yoga. Developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s, mindfulness-based stress reduction aims to address the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are believed to increase stress and worsen your health. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an eight-week program that includes training in mindfulness meditation and yoga and is mainly used to manage stress. The participants usually meet once a week. During this time, they want to cultivate a better awareness of the present moment. By training their mindfulness, participants in mindfulness-based stress reduction aim to reduce their general arousal and constant emotional tension and to achieve a deeper sense of calm.
If you are considering mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy, make sure you are supervised at a university medical center, hospital or clinic where the courses are taught by qualified health professionals. If you see the method as a possible form of therapy in the event of illness, you should first consult your family doctor. It's important to know that self-treating an illness and delaying or avoiding standard treatments can have serious consequences.
Many people put themselves under pressure far too often. You suffer from stress that makes you sick in the long run. These stress-related illnesses such as burnout can have long-term consequences for your private and professional life. Therefore, you should regularly treat yourself to a little time-out, which is not only good for your body but also for your soul and which contributes to successfully coping with stress. Observe your behavior closely and try to identify the main stress triggers in order to avoid them in the future. Get rid of things that give you headaches every day and that have no chance of improvement in the long term. Yoga and meditation are not so popular with many people for nothing, as these exercises help reduce stress and can significantly improve your body awareness. Use all of these tips for a relaxed everyday life that lets you sleep peacefully at night.