It is important for us to appreciate that we process stress different because everyone is different. We must therefore try to understand how we perceive and respond to stress so that we can adapt the appropriate coping techniques for our circumstances. If allowed, stress can make us ill and keep us ill. One way in which this is possible in through the release of excessive amount of powerful chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol, and DHEA into our bloodstream, making the body susceptible to the likes of diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. In taking responsibility for the management of stress in our lives, we can try some of the proven methods like those hereunder:
A. Deep Breathing – if we look at children we will notice that they breathe from their belly and not their chest. This is correct as the expansion of the lungs presses down on the diaphragm causing the belly to bulge. However, we have trained ourselves to let the chest rise as the lungs expand. If we breathe properly it can help to relax the mind, calm the nervous system, improve mental focus, and improve energy levels.
B. Exercise – this can range from simple to complicated ways of keeping the body moving. It is suggested that before a new exercise is attempted, the doctor should be consulted for an evaluation to determine whether the body can handle this particular methods, especially if you have not been active for a while. With all things being equal, exercise can take the form of walking, biking, jogging, swimming, dancing, etc. It is ideal for calming the mind and making us resilient to stress, reducing anxiety and depression.
C. Laughter – it has been said that this is the best medicine and it is quite true as studies have shown that it prevents inflammatory triggers that lead to heart and artery damage, and it reduces the effects of stress. Alternatively, people with a low humour score, or who are less likely to have an adaptive mechanism, are more susceptible to heart diseases.
D. Prayer – this is most often considered as some form of communication with our Creator. During this exchange, doubts and fears g and the mind-body relaxes the most as compared to other techniques. Thus it helps the individual to achieve a more healthful life.
E. Visualization – this is the use of positive imagery to invoke a relaxation response. It is mostly done in a quiet and comfortable place where the individual feels secure enough to surrender to the moment. It can also be done for a few seconds at a time in the midst of a very busy schedule.