Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the chaos of life can bring us some pretty stressful situations. Even the most well-prepared, insightful person experiences stress from time to time. While stress can manifest itself physically—sore back or neck, tension headaches, or an upset stomach, recognizing the signs of stress and acting on it quickly can help to make sure those physical ailments related to stress do not become chronic.
Recognize the Signs of Stress
When experiencing stress, you may feel:
- Anxious or nervous
- Racing thoughts or over-thinking
It is normal for us all to experience stressful moments, and indeed, upon occasion, longer periods of stressful times. This could be related to concerns around work, finances, personal relationships, or health. It is possible to begin tackling stress once you recognize you are experiencing symptoms related to it.
Tips to Manage Stress:
- Drink Green Tea: Often our days are fueled by caffeine. However, caffeine causes a spike in blood pressure which can increase the negative symptoms associated with stress. Switching to green tea can help to ease the nervous system as it contains healthy antioxidants and amino acids, as well as containing half of the amount of caffeine as coffee.
- Exercise (even just for a minute!): Sometimes when we tell ourselves we need to exercise, that creates even more stress (I don’t have time, I have an injury, etc). However, you don’t need to be breaking personal records to be considered as having exercised. Get up out of your chair and walk around the office for a couple of minutes or stand up and do a couple of stretches when you have a break. Movement releases endorphins which can improve your mood and reduce stress almost immediately.
- Take a Breath: It might sound cliché, but breathing deeply helps to relax our body. Shallow breathing can contribute to stress but mindfully taking deep breaths, breathing in slowly and exhaling slowly while concentrating on your chest and lungs as they fill with air helps to center your body and clear your mind.
- Eat Right: When we are feeling stressed the first thing we want to do is grab the “quick fix” meal—either a chocolate bar or something else processed or fatty. Stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. Try to plan ahead as much as possible and prepare meals that are lower in sugar and less fatty. Foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the symptom of stress.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life — knowing how to recognize it and manage it is key to your health! We are your total physical therapy and wellness team! We can help you achieve your wellness goals, regardless of where you are in your journey! Visit us on Facebook or give us a call at 901.316.5456 to see how we can support you!