Some adults say that until you have a job, bills to pay and a family to feed, you don’t know stress. Guess what: They’re wrong. No one’s stress is more “justified” than anyone else’s. If you feel anxious, angry or pressured, that’s all that matters.
But here’s a stunning fact: Stress is good. Huh?
Evolutionarily speaking, stress is useful. It heightens our biological responses and gives us the power to deal with problems. Under high-intensity stress, the mind becomes more focused, reaction time quickens and our strength increases. When an angry reptile or invading enemy struck, high intensity stress helped people live another day.
But the difference between stress today and in years past is that our ancestors’ stress was fleeting. Periods of stress were followed by relative calm. Today many people are drowning in a sea of perpetual worry and concern. That keeps those biological responses turned on, and the body can’t handle fight-or-flight mode all the time.
To keep your body’s stress reactions working for (and not against) you, use these four strategies to unwind.
Make Time for Fun
Carve out an hour or so each week for an activity that you genuinely enjoy, like sketching, reading, or going for a hike.
Check Your Head
Ask yourself, is what you’re feeling really stress, or is it anger or boredom? Thinking about your emotions actually helps lower stress levels.
Avoid Sugar Highs and Lows
Phone a Friend
Always ask for help when you need it.