Stress is a normal reaction in our lives when we feel we are in danger or unable to cope with a situation. The first humans needed the innate stress response of flight or fight to stay safe in a dangerous world. Years later, we still have that stress reflex, and it can help us when we are at risk.
But stress can become a problem if that stress response is triggered day after day or if we are unable to recover from it. Our bodies and brains are not designed to be in stress mode all the time. When our stress systems get overworked, we are at increased risk for physical health and mental health problems.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may need to do some stress-busting activities:
For confidential peer-support, check out Care to Speak.
Stress can become a problem if that stress response is triggered day after day or if we are unable to recover from it.
Give your stress response a rest by taking your focus away from the stresses around you. Go for a walk, have coffee with a friend, play a game, listen to music, etc.
Deep breathing helps you relax and think more clearly by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.
It’s not always easy to do when you’re in a difficult situation. Laughing helps to release tension and gets your mind off your troubles. It affects our bodies similar to when we exercise and so much more fun.
Support from others is an important way to cope with stress. They can help you balance out your thoughts and put things into perspective.
Physical activity is important for our physical, mental and emotional health. It improves our response to stress as it releases good chemicals in our brain.
When dealing with stress, our thoughts and the stories we tell ourselves can have a significant impact on our well-being. You have choices, they may not be easy, but you can learn to use the most effective one given the situation you are in.
Doing something we love to do can be more than fun. It can increase your sense of well-being and help you recover from stress. Singing is an easy one which releases the same feel-good chemicals in our body as exercise.
Get outside. Being out in nature has a calming effect and can reduce your stress. If you can take a walk in a wooded area where you can lose yourself in the sights, smells and sounds of nature.
For more information, we have compiled a list of resources to help you take care of yourself.
What exactly is stress and how is it caused? The Canadian Mental Health Association provides more information on stress and how it can affect your day-to-day life.
We all cope with stress differently. But some methods are less effective than others. The Psychology Foundation of Canada breaks down some of these common strategies and provides tips for coping with stress.
HealthLink BC’s page on stress management provides information on how to measure your stress level. Additionally, It provides methods to relieve and avoid stress.