How To Self Soothe
How often do you get stressed out at work or home? If you answered “often,” you should try the simple techniques in this article to calm down and relax.
Stress affects us all differently. For example, some people get anxious or nervous under pressure, while others become angry or frustrated. The good news is that stress can be managed.
There are several ways to manage stress. One way is through meditation. Meditation helps you focus on the present moment and reduce anxiety.
Another technique is deep breathing. Deep breathing calms your mind and body.
If you’re feeling stressed out, try listening to music—it will help relax you. Or practice yoga. Yoga is a great way to relieve tension and increase flexibility.
Doing things that make you laugh also helps. Laughing releases endorphins in your brain, which gives you a happy mood. Try watching comedy videos online. Try some of these stress-relieving strategies today!
What Is Stress?
Stress is any negative physical or emotional response to an event or situation. It’s a common problem for many people, and everyone feels it from time to time.
But suppose we don’t learn how to deal with stress appropriately.
In that case, it can lead to serious health issues like heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, panic attacks, insomnia, headaches, ulcers, arthritis, and even cancer.
The Brain Under Pressure
To understand why stress has such a detrimental effect on our bodies, let’s take a look inside the brain. Whenever we think about something stressful, this brain region called the amygdala gets activated.
This triggers the release of cortisol which causes the heart rate to rise and blood supply to increase. Cortisol is also linked to increased appetite and impaired memory.
How Does Stress Affect Us?
When someone experiences chronic stress, their immune system becomes weak, leaving them vulnerable to illnesses like colds.
In addition, you’re more at risk for flu, allergies, asthma, migraines, digestive disorders, muscle cramps, and joint pain.
As a result, they may experience weight gain, low energy levels, fatigue, lack of concentration, mood swings, hair loss, skin conditions, and poor sleep.
People who suffer from stress also have higher chances of developing mental health issues such as:
- Panic Attacks
- Low Mood
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Food Addictions
- Addictive Behaviors
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Heart Disease
Why Do We Feel Stressed Out All The Time?
Our lives are constantly changing. Our jobs, relationships, families, and friends demand more and more from us every single day.
As a result, when life does not go according to plan, we feel overwhelmed by stress. For example, if you lose your job, you might feel depressed because money is tight. Likewise, if a loved one dies, you might feel sad.
It’s essential to recognize that everyone deals with stress differently. However, some signs indicate you need professional help dealing with stress. If you feel that you may be suffering from severe anxiety, see a doctor.
How It Feels When You’re Stressed
- You feel trapped and unable to get away from the person or thing causing you stress.
- Your thoughts and feelings are all over the place; you find yourself thinking about different things without realizing it.
- You are having difficulty concentrating. When you do focus, your thoughts are racing.
- You feel angry and irritable all the time.
- You can’t seem to stop crying.
- You have trouble sleeping at night.
- You have lots of stomach pains.
- You feel anxious and worried about everything.
- You are tired all the time.
Ways To Self Soothe
Meditation – A Way Of Relaxation
Meditation is a very effective way of relieving stress. In meditation, we focus only on the present moment. That means we don’t allow ourselves to worry about anything else.
Some people meditate for 5 minutes, while others spend 45 minutes to 1 hour a day.
Meditation may be just as helpful as any other form of stress reduction. Studies show that it improves the quality of life by reducing pain and depression and helping deal with chronic illnesses like cancer.
Taking Time Off From Work And Social Life Helps You Relieve Stress
If you work long hours, taking regular breaks can really help you reduce stress. In addition, taking time off will give you a chance to relax. Often, a break enables you to come back refreshed and energized.
Exercise Can Help Reduce Stress Too
Physical activity releases endorphins, chemicals in the body known to relieve stress. Exercise helps boost energy levels, reduces anxiety, and creates a feeling of well-being. It’s even been shown to improve memory!
Talk To Your Family And Friends About What’s Going On In Your Life
Sometimes talking about our problems with others brings relief. Talking with family members and close friends helps keep a good perspective on what’s happening.
This doesn’t mean that they always understand what’s going on. However, this does encourage you to open up and share your emotions.
Eat Well – Keep Healthy Food In Your Fridge
A healthy diet can significantly decrease stress. Eating foods high in fiber, protein, and vitamins can improve your overall health.
Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, Vitamin B6, magnesium, and antioxidants are especially beneficial. These nutrients are an essential part of maintaining good health.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep each night is also a great way to lower your stress level. Research shows that getting 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted, restful sleep each night reduces cortisol levels, making you less stressed out.
Take A Walk
Walking has many benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate variability, increasing physical fitness, reducing weight gain, balancing hormones, boosting immunity, and assisting in relaxation.
In addition, research shows that walking 10 miles daily decreases stress levels.
Alcohol contains anticholinergic agents (chemicals that block acetylcholine). This chemical blocks serotonin receptors in the brain that cause the release of dopamine. The excess of dopamine leads to an increase in stress hormones.
Doing Something Nice For Yourself Is Good Medicine
It’s easy to get caught up in your own worries and concerns. But, when you do something nice for yourself, there is a positive effect on your health.
Studies show that doing something kind for yourself every once in a while has a calming effect on your mind.
Learn How To Do New Things
Learning new things by yourself can also be very rewarding. You become more independent and confident as you learn new skills or techniques. You start thinking differently.
Stay Out Of Negative Situations
It’s essential to avoid situations where negative thoughts dwell on staying mentally healthy. For example, avoid places where you seem depressed, anxious, or angry.
If you find yourself in these situations, change your position as quickly as possible.
Have Fun With Others
We don’t have to think about much else when we’re having fun. So fun activities are excellent stress relievers. Try playing board games or taking a trip to the beach.
Make Time For You
Take care of yourself first. Make sure you eat right, exercise regularly, get adequate sleep and make time to enjoy life. Then, take the time to appreciate all the good things around you.
You’ll feel better when you look at everything with a fresh eye.
Check If You Don’t Have Depression
Depression can affect anyone, but it’s often misunderstood and under diagnosed. Depression is a highly treatable condition if diagnosed early.
However, if left undiagnosed, depression can lead to severe consequences such as suicide ideation or attempts.
Speak to a doctor if you suspect you might be suffering from depression. Even though symptoms vary from person to person, these five tips will help you cope:
1. Seek Professional Help
If you are already feeling down, it is vital to seek professional help. Find someone you trust and ask the professional what treatment is recommended. Don’t suffer alone.
2. Ask For Support
One of the best ways to combat depressive feelings is to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Be open with those closest to you and share your problems, honestly. Then, they won’t judge you; in fact, they want to help.
3. Understand It
Depression is not simply “feeling sad or blue.” There are many types of depression, ranging from mild to severe. Know that depression is a physical disease that affects a person’s mood and ability to function normally in day-to-day life.
4. Examine Your Lifestyle
Are you living a healthy lifestyle? A balanced diet high in fiber, vegetables, and fruits, low in saturated fats and cholesterol, along with regular exercise, reduces the risk of depression.
Talk to your physician about proper nutrition and exercise guidelines. In addition, get plenty of restful sleep each night and limit caffeine intake in the afternoon.
5. Treat Yourself Well
You deserve to take time out to relax and unwind. Give yourself permission to do this.
Set aside time to watch TV, read books, listen to music, go shopping, meet up with friends or sit back and reflect on the past week. Schedule a date with your loved one and do something nice to reward yourself.
If you’re dealing with depression, please know resources are available to help. Depression is treatable and common. Speak to a health professional if you believe you may need treatment.
Hopefully, the information shared here will give those struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues some ideas on how to improve their lives.
Hopefully, this short article can provide relief because everyone deserves to live happily and healthily.
Author: Michelle Landeros, LMFT
Michelle Landeros is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist (LMFT). She is passionate about helping individuals, couples and families thrive.
Last updated: September 24, 2023