Stress tolerance is one of the hardest skills to practice because when we are stressed, it’s hard to focus on the skills we need to get calm again.
Studies have shown there are three responses to stress: fight, flight or freeze. All of these can have an effect on your body. It seems counterintuitive, but in small doses, stress is actually healthy for you. It increases adrenaline and gives you a burst of glucose to channel into something useful. However, it has been proven that long-term feelings of stress can manifest as physical ailments such as ulcers and weight gain.
There are some easy ways to cope with stress and start feeling better quickly. Just like cortisol is known as the “stress hormone,” serotonin is known as the “feel good hormone.” Doing activities that boost serotonin will naturally lower cortisol and ease your stress. Remember to keep your long-term health in mind, don’t focus on the thing that’s causing you stress at this moment. Try doing a favorite activity to distract yourself from what’s bothering you. Take a walk or get lost in a good television show.
Also remember to appreciate the world around you, especially nature. Bring some plants into your environment or get exposure to Vitamin D by going out into the sun. Use your five senses to feel a breeze, pet your dog or cat, listen to inspiring music, read a good book, light aromatherapy candles, eat your favorite foods, or get a massage. Remind yourself of your past successes or how far you’ve come if you’ve faced obstacles. It also helps to compare yourself to others less fortunate than yourself. Thinking about other people is a great way to gain perspective and to forget about what is causing your stress.
There is one step that is not as easy as the others. It involves gaining control of stressors in your life and accepting that they happen every day. This will give you the power to deal with them. Some of these might be easy to identify. The hardest part comes when you examine the underlying reasons behind chronic stressors. For example, if your boss is stressing you out about a deadline, maybe the reason you haven’t finished is that you hate that particular assignment.
Being honest with yourself is vital in overcoming stress and taking control. Sometimes that means eliminating toxic people from your life. Sometimes that means making big life changes. Just remind yourself to avoid any unnecessary stress and always be your own cheerleader. Tell yourself you control your emotions, they don’t control you. And remember that some things are beyond your control.