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