5 Ways of Dealing With Stress That Aren’t Exercise

3:05:00 AM RAWAT 0 Comments

Let’s face it, exercise has long been the number one worldwide recommendation for dealing with stress. Yet, such a simple solution actually excludes a decent part of the population. For example, what if you’re too busy to hit the weights? Are you supposed to leave clients waiting because you need to pump iron? What if you’re handicapped?

It’s easy for anyone to say that you should exercise more, especially if they don’t know what your life is like. Exercise was the top tip for me once I got out of rehab. Yes, you read that correctly. I used to be an addict.

My whole downward spiral into drugs and alcohol started at age nine - way too soon. Fast forward over a decade, after a two year prison sentence, relapse, and rehab, and here I am. In my life, living sober is all about managing my cravings. People don’t seem to understand that addiction is not something you cure, but rather something you learn to cope with.

When it comes to coping, one of the most common ways recovering addicts rehab comes from stress. As such, it is essential to learn to manage stress in your daily activities. It’s inevitable that you will have stressful situations. Pretending that you can live a stress-free life is absolute nonsense. Situations will arise that test your resilience, and you have to be prepared to deal with your triggers.

Stress is not one blanket term for people of all walks of life. In fact, there are actually four different types of stress:

       General Life Stressors: This is the most common form of stress. It relates to situations like workplace issues, divorce, a death in the family and so on.

       Catastrophic Events: Soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder classify under this category. This means that something life-changing has happened that affected you very deeply. Natural disasters, wars, or a terrorist attacks are among the reasons.

       Childhood Maltreatment: Comes in the form of physical or sexual abuse before the age of 18. Emotional abuse and neglect can also induce stress at a later date. The effects of this category usually appear long-term.

       Racial and Ethnic Minority Stress: Because we live in a world where discrimination still exists, this unfortunately is part of the four categories. Facing discrimination as a woman is also a factor.

If you aren’t careful with managing your stress, you’re in for some long and short term side-effects. The short term repercussions are sweating, heart palpitations, chronic headaches and appetite changes.

In the long run, frequent stress may turn into depression and anxiety. People who experience high levels of stress are known to have a weaker immune system, as well as more acne. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’d like some tips on how to manage stress. Here are some effective ways that don’t interfere too much with your daily life:

1. Take Up A New Hobby

What if I told you that hobbies can reduce stress as effectively as doing exercise? In a study which had 100 participants, the conclusion was exactly that. The participants were given heart monitors and asked to wear them throughout the day. At the same time, they were instructed to report in throughout the day and say what they were doing as well as how they were feeling.

As it turns out, those who practiced their hobbies were 34% less stressed at the time they were partaking in their favorite activities. Yes, playing video games won’t give you the same physical results as running outside in the fresh air, but at least your mind is at ease.

2. Start Journaling

When you write in a journal, you’re expressing your feelings in a way which is clear and effective. More often than not, if you write down your problems, just having them down on paper allows for solutions to arise. So if you encounter a stressful situation, take a moment to write it down, and you might be able to even resolve it quicker.

Other proven benefits of journaling include a stronger immune system, better cognitive functions, and a healthier heart. Science has also shown that it reduces symptoms of asthma and arthritis.

3. Sleep More

In my experience, lack of sleep just comes down to time management issues. Procrastinating on a research paper or sending emails could end up keeping you up later than usual. When you think back to the way you organized your time earlier in the day, was there a slot that you could have done it? The answer is most likely yes. If you really put your mind to it, it’s not impossible to fit things in so that you hit the pillow at a decent hour.

You see, lacking sleep makes you lose your memory, makes you more prone to illness, drains your energy and pretty much ruins the next day. When you take into account the amount of damage you do to your body if you don’t get the recommended eight hours, everything else pales in comparison.

4. Practice Mindfulness

When this term was first mentioned to me, I thought I had to do a 180 with my lifestyle choices. I was wrong. Mindfulness essentially teaches you to be conscious of the current moment you’re living in. This includes what you see, what you eat and what you feel (mentally and physically). All it takes is a few seconds, where you sit back and appreciate the present. It can be done anywhere, anytime.

Mindfulness is a leading holistic treatment method for aches and pains in the body. By practicing it, you learn to become empathetic and take into consideration the feelings of others. Did I mention that it enhances your sex life? Which also happens to be a major stress reliever...

5. Talk It Out

Therapy is an option, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m referring to finding value in your friendships and other kinds of relationships. When you spend time with someone who understands you, your emotions tend to pour out in what is known as “venting.”

I’m not saying that you need to spend time with someone who will have an answer to all your problems. However, you should dedicate a couple hours to someone who listens to them. Keeping everything bottled up inside is not manly, nor is it advisable. Take some time to share your feelings with someone who is there for you.

As I said before, stress is inevitable in our lives. Whether it comes from work, a bad breakup, or being stuck in traffic, stressful situations will always arise. Having said that, it saves you a lot of grief to educate yourself on how to manage it. Notice how I said “manage” and not “beat.” Being sober taught me a lot of things, but the most important lesson was that some things in life can’t be cured. All you can do is learn to cope. With these tips, which have worked wonders for me, hopefully you’ll be able to cope as well.

What other tips do you have for managing stress? Comment below!

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