In times of uncertainty, it can be very easy to get stressed out. Stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes physical or mental tension. Stress can occur due to internal or external factors, such as illness, environmental factors, anticipation of an event, or more. One of these potential stressors can be the risk and presence of Covid-19.
Stress is a normal response in the body, and it can be protective at times as a “fight or flight” response. However, prolonged stress can result in serious health conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, depression, and others.
It is important to reduce stress levels in order to ensure your body continues to function normally. This article will explain five ways that you can cope with stress, especially during this difficult and uncertain time.
What is meditation?
Meditation is one of the oldest practices used to reduce stress. It comes in many forms and involves relaxing the body and clearing the mind. Sessions can last from just a few minutes to hours or more. There are many types of meditation, including guided meditation, using visualization; mantra meditation, involving the repetition of a calming word; tai chi, which uses physical movement; mindfulness meditation, which involves living in the present moment; standing meditation and others.
How Can Meditation Help Relieve Stress?
A review of 47 clinical trials and 3,515 total participants showed that mindfulness meditation programs can improve anxiety and depression. However, the researchers also noted that this type of meditation did not help change the behaviors affected by stress, such as substance abuse and sleep. So even if you start meditating, you’ll still have to work on kicking other bad habits.
In another clinical trial, 25 out of 36 trials noted that those who performed meditation had decreased anxiety compared to control groups. With multiple studies showing similar results, the benefits of meditation are clear.
Common Ways To Meditate
If you would like to try meditation, begin by finding a quiet place and sit in a comfortable position. Maintain good posture with a straight back.
Personally, I like to put my phone on airplane mode and set a timer for my desired meditation length. I find that if I know a timer is going off in 21 minutes I’m not constantly thinking “should I stop?”
You can sit on the floor, on a cushion or in a chair. Whatever is most comfortable. Then, gently close your eyes and relax your body.
Once you are relaxed, attempt to clear your mind. This is easier said than done. Clearing your mind does not necessarily mean suppressing your thoughts, but instead to note and accept your thoughts before letting them leave your mind.
While your first meditation may produce a grand change, don’t count on it. It is the repetitive practice of meditation that will gradually lower your overall stress baseline.
2. Online Therapy
Stress and your mental health are serious topics. It is beneficial and encouraged to seek professional treatment if you feel you need it. Luckily, there is not only in person therapy, but also the option to speak to a therapist online.
What is online therapy?
Online therapy is similar to in-person therapy, but it provides a more convenient and cheaper option. You can use online therapy for depression, anxiety, family therapy, panic disorders, ADHD, and more, including stress.
How Online Therapy is Helps to Reduce Stress
Online therapy can be very beneficial in reducing stress and addressing other mental issues that stress can lead to, such as anxiety and depression. Therapy sessions work to change your thinking processes and responses to employ better coping mechanisms.
Why Online Therapy is Especially Important During Covid
Covid-19 not only provides a threat to our physical health but our mental health as well. The dailydemands of life combined with quarantine and curfew orders can be overwhelming. The fear for the health of ourselves, and our family and community can be stressful. It is more important than ever to ensure we manage our stress appropriately.
However, social distancing makes seeing a therapist in person even more difficult. Online therapy allows us to visit a therapist without leaving our own home and maintaining a safe social distance.
3. Improve Nutrition
Good nutrition is an integral part of keeping your body healthy. Eating healthy can help reduce obesity and the many associated health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and others. A good diet needs to have a balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in addition to vitamins and minerals.
Stress is Physically and Physiologically Taxing
Diet and stress are strongly connected. Good nutrition can help combat the body’s stress response by boosting the immune system. Stress drains the body of nutrients more quickly than normal, so it is critical to replenish them.
If you are worn down and not eating correctly, stress can cause direct damage to the body and indirectly cause various health problems.
4. Spend Time With Animals
How Can Pets Relieve Stress
Many studies have shown the benefits that pets can provide regarding stress reduction. One study found that just a 30-minute interaction with a therapy dog decreased the stress response, decreasing cortisol, blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety.
In a survey of pet owners, 74 percent of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership. Pets can help your mental health and life in many ways.
In addition to lowering stress, they can help make us feel needed, boost our self-esteem and well-being, build healthy habits, and improve social connection.
Stress affects everyone and can come in all shapes and sizes. If you are highly stressed, it is critical to take steps to manage it.
If you are stressed, try a variety of different things, including the ones in this article, so that you can see what works best for you to get your stress under control.
Thanks for reading and I wish you relaxation.