6 Ways To Reduce Stress When You Feel Overwhelmed - Mental Health Help - Shorelines Care

If you feel like everything has been extremely stressful lately, you aren’t alone. Approximately 8 out of 10 Americans reported feeling stress-related emotions lately, according to recent studies. The reality is, stress is nearly unavoidable in today’s society. 

When not managed, stress can begin to take a toll on both your mental and physical wellbeing. Some of the common physical side effects of prolonged stress include: high or low blood pressure, elevated heart rate, poor quality sleep, muscle aches, digestive issues, feeling exhausted, and appetite changes.

When life starts to feel overwhelming, here are six ways to reduce stress or better manage its symptoms: 

Improve your eating and drinking habits. 

When life is overwhelming, we tend to push things like nutrition to the backburner. Or, we seek comfort from familiar foods or alcohol. And, who of us hasn’t upped our caffeine intake during a particularly busy time? While all of this is okay occasionally, prolonged stress can lead to less and less nutritious eating. This, in turn, can further exacerbate the physical symptoms of stress. Even during high pressure times, it’s important to monitor the amount of water you’re drinking, your caffeine intake, and that you’re eating a balanced diet. Eating healthy and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption helps your body function at its best, which ultimately helps you better deal with stress. 

Incorporate some physical activities into your routine.  

Working out or being physically active is a near-instantaneous way to lower stress. Not only does it give your body an outlet to release pent-up emotions or tension, it also releases endorphins, a natural substance that helps boost your mood. You don’t need to spend an hour at the gym or run a 5k to feel these benefits either. A simple 15 minute walk outside during your lunch break or quick yoga session in the morning helps to clear your mind and lower stress levels.

Refrain from using nicotine products

While many nicotine users frequently describe it as a way to unwind, it actually has the opposite physiological effect on our bodies. Nicotine products increase physical stimulation while decreasing blood circulation and respiration, which ends up actually putting the body under more stress. In fact, cigarette smoking has actually been shown to increase anxiety levels. So, when you’re feeling especially stressed, try to fight that urge to reach for a nicotine product and instead try a different coping mechanism.

Talk through it with someone.  

Have you ever heard the saying “A burden shared is a burden halved”? When it comes to stress, sharing your feelings and worries with a loved one can go a long way to reducing it. We often tend to keep the stress pent up inside and isolate ourselves when we are feeling overwhelmed by it. A friend or family member may be able to provide additional insight or viewpoints on what’s causing you stress, or even just express their support and care during a difficult time. 

Try mindful meditation. 

Mindful meditation might seem just like a hot buzzword right now, but it has proven benefits, especially when it comes to managing stress. Meditation helps us learn to calm our bodies and minds, letting physical and emotional stress melt away. Even a short mindful meditation can leave you feeling better, refreshed, and ready to face the challenges of your day with a healthy attitude. Here are some mindful meditations you can try out to get started.

Organize your space. 

When you’ve got a lot on your plate, clutter (whether in your living/work space or in your head) can only compound feelings of stress. If you find your stress is tied to having too much to do, writing down an itemized to-do list can help you better visualize and plan how to tackle it. Plus, the physical act of crossing things off that list can be very cathartic! Even if your stress isn’t connected to actionable items, organizing the space around you can still help reduce it. You don’t need to go full spring-cleaning mode to feel the benefits of decluttering. Spending a few minutes organizing your desk or sorting some laundy can help lower stress levels.

Sometimes, stress can’t be avoided. However, how we deal with it and the ways we let it affect us makes a big difference. These techniques can help us better manage the stressors in our lives when the thing causing the stress is unavoidable. If you feel that your stress levels are building up to the point of becoming a source of constant anxiety, we can also help! Learn more about the symptoms of anxiety and how Shorelines treats it.


Get your free mental health resource.

Get your free mental health resource.