Ways to manage your stress.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stress person

Stress.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Stress can be managed.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your life is out of your control. Suffering excess stress without taking action may result in both physical and mental illnesses. Modern life has come with a lot of physical advantages, but it also comes with potentially debilitating levels of stress. Here are some ways to reduce the impact of stress on your life.

Learn to recognize the signs of stress.

Frequent or excessive headaches can be one sign of stress. Excess stress may interfere with sleep. Lying in bed, unable to fall asleep because you are thinking about all the problems in your life should tell you your stress is out of control. Changes in appetite, unexpected weight loss, or excessive cravings for carbohydrates and sugar can also be the result of stress.

Using alcohol or drugs to cope with daily life may not only tell you that you’re under excess stress, but that your coping mechanism may be about to turn into a worse problem called addiction.

Stress can also manifest as emotional issues. If you’re becoming irritable, easily angered, or chronically depressed and anxious, your stress may be taking down the road to mental illness. Lacking energy even after a night’s sleep may be the result of stress. If your day off doesn’t result in the return of energy it may be because stress is wearing you out both physically and emotionally.

Take care of your body to reduce stress.

When we say stress, we often think of emotional or mental stress, but stress can be physical also. Good physical health practices can buffer you from the effects of normal stress. Skimping on sleep will not make you more productive. Not enough sleep will impair your decision-making ability, reduce your ability to handle stress, and can eventually lead to burnout.

Use regular physical activity to manage stress.

Even a small amount of exercise can help reduce the impact of stress. Exercise doesn’t have to mean a strenuous workout in the gym. Getting up and moving around can help reduce the impact of stress. Walking each day for as little as 20 to 30 minutes has been shown to reduce the effects of stress and to improve the mood of people with depression.

Learn how to relax and destress.

Don’t confuse relaxation was switching to another type of stress. Passively consuming electronic media may sound like relaxation but every time you see an exciting scene, your brain may take out more adrenaline.

Consider taking up mindfulness or meditation practices. Do things like reading which stimulate your imagination.

Weed out your to-do list for less stress.

Having too many things on your to-do list doesn’t make you more productive, it will make you more scattered and stressed out. Having too many priorities results in you feeling bad about yourself for not getting everything accomplished. Make self-care the top priority so that you will be around to work on the other to-do items. Learn to say no to things you can’t do or don’t want to do both in your personal and your professional life.

Spend time with others to reduce stress.

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Learn to accept help. Make time for positive people in your life. Humans are inherently social animals, and we need connections with others. Becoming lonely will drain you of resources you have to cope with stress. If you don’t have friends in your life, make them. If the people in your life are adding to your stress, either get them out of your life, spend some time working on that relationship. Remember, you are not the Lone Ranger, and even he had a constant friend to help him.

Reach out for help before you reach the breaking point.

If stress is overwhelming you, reach out for help. The Counselor, Therapist, or other helping person can be just the resource you need to help you cope with your stress. Asking for help from a professional does not mean you failed, it means you’re smart enough to know when to reach out for help.

Other counselorssoapbox posts on this topic are at Stress.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Things You Need to Know About Stress.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stress person

Stress.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Stress can be normal.

Everyone feels stressed from time to time, but some people experience more stress than they’re able to handle.

Stress is the bodies efforts to prepare for needed effort. Two things will determine how stress affects you. How you initially handle stress is critical. Some people may be able to handle physical stress easily, but not mental stress. You may not be able to manage financial stress equally to the way you handle emotional stress.

Not everyone recovers from stress at the same rate.

Athletes who train every day may recover from physical stress relatively quickly. If you’re one of those people who rarely exercise, doing something physically strenuous on the weekend may require several days for you to recover.

Stressful events can be temporary, or they may last a long time.

Moving from one house to another may be stressful until you have settled into the new home. Starting a new job can also be stressful. Being unemployed and homeless can remain stressful for a very long time.

Some stress is routine, and some are extraordinary.

Everyday stresses could be things such as getting ready and going to work every morning or getting the kids off to school. Most jobs involve routine stress. Extraordinary types of stress include such things as a death in the family, losing a job or working at a job that has frequent episodes of high pressure.

Sometimes stress can be traumatic.

Experiencing a traumatic stressor can result in several types of mental illness. After experiencing a sudden traumatic stressor, some people experience a short bout of Acute Stress Disorder. If the impairment from the stressor does not remit, it may become Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Long-term constant stress can result in burnout.

Job burnout is the result of high levels of stress over a long period, which results in a person feeling both physically and emotionally exhausted and not being able to recover during their time of duty.

Stress isn’t always bad.

Physically stressing your muscles can increase your strength and abilities. Mental stress can lead to learning and creativity. Happy events can sometimes be extremely stressful. Interviewing for a job, starting a new job, getting married, or the birth of a child can all be stressful events. What’s important is to give yourself time to rest after the stressful events. Stress only becomes bad when it exceeds your abilities, continues to long, or is traumatic.

Chronic stress can overwhelm you.

Your automobile should be capable of rapid acceleration or high speeds on occasion. Run your car too many miles at high speed, and eventually something will break. While humans are not machines, the same principle applies. Living life with too much stress can eventually overwhelm you.

Self-care can help reduce stress.

Good self-care can reduce the impact of the stresses you experience. Good self-care does not necessarily mean doing nothing or vegetating on the couch all weekend. Varying your activities can reduce the impact of chronic stress.

Excess stress harms your health.

High levels of long-term stress are unhealthy. Continuing to mentally hold onto stress after the event will also damage your physical health. Excess stress can impair your sleep and appetite. Difficulty falling asleep, called sleep latency, is the result of ruminating about the thing that is stressing you. Chronic or excessive stress can also impair your immune system making you more susceptible to illness and infections.

High levels of stress cause physical and emotional symptoms.

You may experience excess stress in your body. Headaches, nausea, insomnia, and changes in appetite can all be symptoms of excess stress. Too much stress may also lead to irritability, anger, and sadness. Ultimately stress can lead to developing a mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression.

Can stress be managed?

Many people feel that stress is just a part of modern life, and they try to tough it out for as long as possible. Failing to manage stress can lead to physical and emotional illnesses, job burnout, and even permanent disabilities. There are things you can do to reduce the impact of stress on your life. In my next post in this series, I want to tell you about ways that you can manage stress and reduce its impact on your life.

Here are some resources for more about stress and stress management.

The National Institute of Mental Health has a handy brochure on stress and managing it.

Other counselorssoapbox posts on this topic are at Stress.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.

Fast Stress reduction.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Stressed out

Stressed.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Ways to quickly defuse stress.

Life is full of stress, some good and some bad.  Even the good kind of stress can wear you down. The longer you hold on to stress the more harm it will cause you.  Work on releasing your stress as rapidly as possible. Avoid stress when you can. Eliminate unnecessary stress when possible. For the unavoidable stresses in life try practicing some of these rapid stress reduction methods.

For less stress focus on your breathing.

Breathe slowly, breathe deeply.  Rapid shallow breathing increases anxiety.  Slow, deep breathing relaxes and destresses you.  Anytime you feel overwhelmed shift your focus to the way you are breathing. In goes the oxygen, out goes the stress.

Change the music.

Music strongly influences our moods. The music you listen to can reflect your mood; it can also change your mood.  When you are feeling stressed, put on some soft, relaxing music. Instrumental music can be especially relaxing. Music connects with our inner feelings in a deeper way than words alone.

Cool down for less stress.

Chill out to reduce your stress.  Your body temperature can affect the feeling of stress.  When you are feeling under stress, pay extra attention to the way, your body experiences the temperature.  When possible turn on a fan, move to a cooler spot or drink something cold. A small desktop fan can blow away the stress along with the heat.

Give yourself a timeout to allow your stress to subside.

Allow time for you to think things over instead of reacting too quickly.  Look for ways to disengage from the stress if only for a few minutes. Counting to ten is a start. Longer timeouts are even better. Glancing away when safe, even for a moment, can help to interrupt the cycle of escalating stress. Taking short breaks will not detract from your productivity. Those rest breaks will keep you at top efficiency.

Disengage from artificial environments.

One quick way to reduce stress is to re-engage with the natural world.  Get outside for a few minutes.  Pay attention to the trees, the flowers and the world around.  Artificial environments can add to your stress. Spending some time in nature can reduce that stress. In times of stress, reconnect with nature. If you can’t get outside, try looking out a window. Having a houseplant on your desk can be relaxing.

To destress move your body.

Do a little exercise, take a walk. A little bit of physical exercise can be a great help in reducing and managing stress.  It does not need to be strenuous exercise.  Get up and walk around, take a trip to the copy machine or the water cooler.  Something as simple as shifting your body position can take the strain off your muscles and allow you to refocus on the task at hand.

Life becomes less stressful when you can picture the outcome you want.

Visualize having overcome your obstacles.  Sitting ruminating about your problems only magnifies the stress.  Think about what it will look like, what others will see, when you have overcome this obstacle.  If you can picture a positive result, you are on your way to overcoming your stress. When you shift from a problems orientation to a results outlook, the process of getting to your goal is less stressful.

Fuel and rest your body.

Drink some water. Your body and brain do not work well when you are dehydrated. Eat a snack, a good lunch to cope with stress. Low blood sugar will interfere with your body’s ability to run efficiently.  Don’t neglect nutrition, hydration or to get an adequate amount of sleep.  A worn-out body is less able to cope with stress.  Avoid high sugar snacks and heavy meals, both of which can result in a temporary boost of energy followed by a deep crash.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking, and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.