How to Stress Smarter

According to the American Institute of Stress, 73% of people regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress. 77% of people experience physical symptoms caused by stress.

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The stress is rampant around here! Stress has not always been a bad thing. Stress is normal and inevitable. It is an adaptation for times of danger.

Short-term, stress allows us to work well under pressure, run away from threats, and survive them. But long-term, stress is a killer. It becomes a chronic disease, insomnia, anxiety, burn-out, depression and so much more.

In fact, stress can also increase your waist-line via a hormone called cortisol. But I won’t nerd out on you all too much today. I just want you to stop making your stress worse.

How? How do you approach this epidemic called stress?

You stress smarter. I know. It sounds like a fake answer, but hear me out. The point is not to make your stress go away but, to make your stress more manageable. After all, the stress is there for a reason.

Stop drinking so much caffeine and sugar!

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You are only ramping up this flight or fight effect! Stress is a flight or fight effect! Coffee and sugar amplify that effect!

Next thing you know, you’re having palpitations. Your nerves are up after 4 coffees and you stopped counting the sugars a long time ago.

You’re not taking care of your body! Please! Go to sleep!

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You are not helping anyone by being delirious! If you can’t sleep, check your sleep habits. But sleep is critical for brain function.

Pulling an all-nighter will not help you. You need at least 4 hours of sleep for the knowledge to disseminate properly.

One thing you need to start doing is naming your stress.

Stop keeping your stressors and your anxieties hidden. Name it! Acknowledge that it’s there. Don’t try to get rid of it! That will only make it harder!

Figure out your exact feelings. But don’t try to change it. Recognize what your stress feels like to you.

What are your symptoms of stress? What are the common triggers? Can you take some time off after your moments of stress? How long can you take off?

Even taking 5 minutes can do you some good. Allow yourself to cope with stress healthily. It’s okay to feel the full anxiety.

Do not try and stifle it or cut it short. It will only prolong your stress or anxious moments. Take a break!

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Your performance levels suck right now! A break might do you some good. Go for a walk; turn off your phone for 5 minutes. We’ll pretend that she doesn’t havea cup of coffee in her hand.

Think. Is the source of your stress necessary? Yea, this one sounds crazy. But some of us are actually stressing ourselves out for no reason. Get rid of the unnecessary stress. Hello! Stress smarter!

Some stress is what we call non-modifiable and others… well, not so much. If your significant other is a major source of your stress, like 360 out of 365 days of the year; you have nothing attaching you to them: children, marriage, a business, etc, let them go quickly.

If you don’t have to be a part of that friend group, walk away. If you can find another job, do it. Just make sure you get a new job before you leave your current one. I never told you to quit your job. But every job will have stressful days. The school will be stressful most days of the week.

Have a way to cope.

Whether that is solitude, yoga, boxing, baking, or whatever. Have a way to cope that is healthy. Do not drown your stress in anxiety, caffeine, and alcohol. Just do not do it. It is not a very smart mixture.

Take time for yourself. Embrace your stress and let it pass on its own time. That’s how you stress smarter. Stress is a human reaction. But do not let it consume you. If Know that stress is a part of life, but don’t let it define you.

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You have the ability to be something other than stress. Let the feelings run its course properly and you can move on to happiness. This post may seem a little too woo-woo to some. Maybe it’s the after-effects of my yoga session. But I also may just be on to something though. Stress smarter!

Thanks for listening to my rant,

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Shika Tamaklo is a pharmacist who graduated from Mercer University (2020). She is a college lifestyle blogger who writes on fitness, health, life struggles, creative side hustles and, occasionally dabbles in creative writing.