Life can deal out difficult circumstances that create high levels of stress at a moment's notice. Accidents, divorce, the death of loved ones and critical career events can make you feel as if you're being pressed in a vise. Researchers know that these high levels of stress have an immediate, negative impact on health and can also have long-lasting effects that make people vulnerable to certain types of illnesses. If you must deal with moments of severe stress, here are a few ways to help relieve the pressure to preserve your mental well being and your physical health:
The same exercise that helps with everyday stress can be harnessed to help with those intense moments that occur in trying times. Again, walking offers the easiest stress relief, because it can be done anywhere and does not require any special equipment. If you find yourself in a stressful situation, try leaving the area for a few moments to take a fast walk around the block or the building. The movement will help to release calming neurotransmitter chemicals into the body that will allow you to feel calmer and clearer-headed.
If you are fortunate enough to have a supportive group of family and friends around you in a crisis, use the opportunity to talk about what is occurring and your feelings about it. Talking with others can help you to "get out of your own head" and will allow those who love you to provide the support you need in difficult circumstances. This technique can often be more difficult for men who, because of cultural conditioning, are accustomed to stifling their emotions.
In many studies, prayer has been found to relieve stress and provide a sense of hope and security in difficult circumstances. Whether you are a believer or not, you can utilize the self-talk of prayer to instill a feeling of inner calm in high-stress periods of your life. Some people utilize prayers they learned as children. Other people use chants that stop negative thoughts and provide repetition to calm the mind. Still other people have a "conversation" with a Supreme Being that helps them to find clarity and hope in their current situation. Meditation can also be used to still racing thoughts and allow calming brain chemicals to flow through the body.
Physical contact is one of the primal needs of humankind. If you have friends and family available, ask for a hug and be generous with your own hugs. If you find yourself dealing with a stressful situation on your own, make an appointment for a massage. The stress-relieving effects of your massage will help you to deal with the situation.
Although too much alcohol can cover up feelings and can cause people to avoid dealing with situations, a single drink, or coffee, with a friend can have a soothing effect on someone facing a crisis. Men who are less inclined to indulge in the "touchy-feely" methods to reduce stress because of cultural conditioning often find having a drink and conversation with a close friend can put the crisis into a more manageable perspective.
Take breaks to extricate yourself from the situation and have a quiet moment. Schedule the break to allow yourself to analyze your feelings and gain a bit of perspective. In the midst of a crisis, people often find themselves reacting without thought, which increases feelings of being out of control. A period of separation from the stressful situation can help you to look at it in a different light. If you find you feel numb or very confused about a specific incident, you may need some professional counseling. Don't be afraid to reach out for help to restore your composure.
In moments of crisis, use these six techniques for help in managing stress. You may find that you are better able to deal with the problem, whatever it may be.
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