Stress is an unpleasant emotion that everyone dislikes. At times our stress can become so overwhelming it causes us to feel immobile, defeated, and completely helpless. Everyone experiences stress, and a little bit of stress might be helpful in getting us to take action or motivate us. Persistent or chronic stress, on the other hand, can be extremely unhealthy.

Chronic Stress and Your Health

When someone experiences high levels of stress persistently and for long periods of time, the effects of the stress can be significantly damaging. Chronic stress can cause anxiety, insomnia, weakened immune system, obesity, high blood pressure, muscle pain, heart disease, depression, and suicide to name a few. If you are experiencing persistent chronic stress, it is time to lessen your burden.

How do People Cope with Stress?

For some the source of stress is a specific situation, behavior, person, or lifestyle. Take some time to identify the cause of your stress. There are many effective mental activities and things you can do to cope with stress, but it is often best to address the stress inducing circumstance itself.

If you have a stressful job, consider adjusting your hours, speak with your employer, or even consider a career shift. A specific person or relationship might be causing immense stress, you can work on the relationship, go to therapy with the person, have an intervention, or maybe consider creating some distance, and drawing healthy boundaries with that individual.

Although changing your lifestyle and circumstances might be the ideal, it may not be possible to completely make a circumstantial change. Many of us would love to quit our jobs, never work a day again, and live a carefree life on the beach in Bali; but, our reality is food needs to be put on the table and clothes on our back.

5 Ways to Reduce Chronic Stress

Indeed, make as many adjustments to your circumstance as possible. In addition, prepare yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to cope with chronic stress. If you know that you are going into a stressful day, armor yourself ready for stress battle. A few things you can do to reduce chronic stress are:

  • Sleep well: go to sleep at a regular time, try to get eight hours of uninterrupted high quality sleep. Wake up at the same time daily and have both a night and morning routine.
  • Connect spiritually: for many having some kind of spiritual connection can be empowering. Spirituality isn’t limited to going to a church or monastery. Take time to understand what being spiritual is for you.
  • Be Well: take care of your body. Many of us stress eat, leading to weight gain, more stress, and more eating. Exercise is a great way to express your stress and help you to feel good about yourself. Eating well can also help you to feel energized and more equipped to face your challenges.
  • Connect with Others: surround yourself with supportive people who can help you bare your burdens, or at the very least help you feel understood.
  • Professional Help: a professional mental health counselor can also be a beneficial resources that can further help you in your specific circumstance. A therapist can give you new tools and help you to gain greater insight into your situation to find a solution.