5 Tips for How to Handle Stress
Did you know?
The term “stress” was not coined until the 1920’s. A gentleman named Hans Selye began using the term after he completed his medical training. In his training, he had found that all of his patients, no matter what malady they had, all looked sick.
Later in his life, Selye described this phenomenon as “General Adaptation Syndrome”; a response of the body to certain demands placed upon it. In Selye’s description, it details how stress causes hormonal changes, and how over time these changes can have lasting negative effects on our bodies.
What we know and the way we think about stress have come a long way from the 20’s. Now a regular discussion in HR departments, classrooms, and professional sports, society recognizes how dangerous stress can be to people’s mental and physical health. It’s always been clear to us here at OnMi that stress is one of the most common and inhibiting afflictions amongst otherwise healthy people today, therefore we are excited to talk about all things stress-related and chat about our favorite stress remedy.
Stick around for some actionable tips at the end on how to handle stress!
What Stress Is
Stress is a lot of things, but first and foremost, it is the result of hormones messing around in your body. After your body perceives a stressor, your hypothalamus sends a chemical message to your pituitary gland, and the pituitary gland tells your brain to tell the adrenal glands to produce something called cortisol.
Kinda like a big game of telephone, right?
Cortisol is really the culprit here when it comes to you feeling anxious before a big presentation, or having racing thoughts after a weird glance from a friend. Cortisol is a hormone that plays an essential role in our bodily functions, but if your cortisol levels are continuously high, stress can become a problem. That’s why knowing how to handle stress is so important. But let’s start by discussing how stress comes about.
What Causes Stress
Scientists have, of course, come up with an acronym for the necessary components of a situation in order for it to be “stressful”:
N - Novelty; a situation is something you have not experienced before.
U - Unpredictability; something you did not know would occur.
T - Threat to the ego; something calls your competence into question.
S - Sense of control; you feel like you don’t have due control over a situation
Every situation that is stressful for a human being is prompted by one or more of these components. A situation is stressful if it is nuts, if you will. 😋
How Stress Affects the Brain
Sometimes it can be hard to see stress affecting us or other people, because so much of the symptomatic representation is in our heads; invisible to those besides ourselves. Stressed individuals may experience symptoms such as becoming easily agitated or moody, feeling overwhelmed, having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind, having low self esteem, and avoiding others.
How Stress Affects the Body
Physical symptoms of stress include low energy, headaches, an upset stomach, aches, pains, and tense muscles, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ears, dry mouth, clenched jaw, and teeth grinding.
How Stress Affects Behavior
Behavioral changes are the way that others might begin to notice stress and its effect on you. Changes that can be attributed to stress include changes in appetite, procrastination, increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, and exhibiting nervous behaviors, like nail biting, fidgeting, and pacing.
Why Stress is Bad
Besides just making you feel scatterbrained, stress is actually particularly harmful long-term. Unmitigated and unmanaged stress leads to things like depression, anxiety, personality disorders, cardiovascular disease, obesity, menstrual problems, skin and hair problems, GI problems, and sexual dysfunction.
If it is getting in the way of you living your life, getting your stress under control should be a top priority. It will only improve the other aspects of your life and benefit your overall health. Here are some tips from us here about how to handle stress that we at OnMi use to help us live our least stressful lives!
Tip #1: Exercise
Physical exercise has many, many (many) benefits, and one of the most underrated benefits in our opinion is the fact that it significantly helps with stress management, even if you don’t enjoy working out. Exercising lowers your body’s levels of stress hormones working at the chemical level to balance out your mood and help you relax.
Not only does working out mean less cortisol in your body, it also means more endorphins. Endorphins are a chemical produced by your body that has a natural painkilling and mood-elevating effect. Thus, exercising is a double-whammy of less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff.
Tip #2: Relax Your Muscles
Whether you’re aware of it or not, we tend to tense up our muscles when we feel stressed. Try stretching, getting a massage, taking a hot shower or bath, or getting in bed early for a nice, long, restorative sleep. These are all ways you can give your muscles some recovery treatment to help them loosen up and make you feel a little less stressed.
Tip #3: Deep Breathing
This may sound childish and ineffective, but concentrating on slowing your breathing down is one of the easiest, cheapest, quickest ways to reduce stress and its effects on your mind and body.
It requires merely stopping, closing your eyes, and taking deep breaths in and out for a few minutes at a time. Try it sometime and see how you feel after; you’ll know what we mean.
Tip #4: Eat Well
Food! It affects your mood. Our brain and stomach are tightly interwoven by something called the “vagus nerve”. It is an extensive range of signals carried from your digestive system and organs to your brain, and vice versa. There is evidence to support the idea that healthy gut bacteria aid in reducing moodiness and anxiety. Foods that support the growth of healthy gut bacteria include veggies, legumes, beans, whole grains, and fruit. Eating a more plant-based diet in general is a good way to support the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Tip #5: OnMi Patches
We always save the best for last! OnMi’s favorite solution to a particularly stressful day is our patches. We have several different types of patches that are our go-to’s in how to handle stress. First up, we have our Relax Patch. Our Relax Patch has several stress-reducing ingredients, including:
Passionflower: Promotes a good night’s sleep (reduces muscle tension!).
Valerian: Aids with anxiety, stress, and sleep.
Vitamin B1: Reduces fatigue by helping cells convert food to energy.
Our CBD patches also are one of our favorite ways how to handle stress. CBD is a plant extract that can help lower levels of stress and anxiety, as well as improve sleep quality.
We hope this blog helped you understand the origins of stress, its effects on people, how to handle stress, and our personal favorite way to dial it down so we can be happier and healthier: our patches!