Stress management is essential in our every days lives since stress is such a big part of lige. In 2014, Stats Canada said that 6.7 million people in Canada reported that most days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’. We know that excessive stress can lead to illness so learning to cope with stress is essential.
It’s recommended that you build your own stress management toolkit to help manage stress when it arises so it doesn’t become chronic and lead to further issues. Here are some stress management strategies that you can try to better manage stress.
Numerous studies and research has provided pretty substantial evidence that people who are more active, have lower rates of anxiety. When we exercise, the brain produces endorphins, which are chemicals that act like natural painkillers. Exercise gives a time out from a busy schedule, alleviates tension, improves sleep and improves self-esteem, which in turn reduces stress.
Acupuncture and Massage Therapy:
Similar to exercise, acupuncture and massage therapy also releases endorphins which helps to combat stress. More and more research is being done on the benefits of acupuncture for stress management. Recent research discovered “that stress hormones were lower in rats that had received electronic acupuncture.” Similarly with massage therapy, stress is felt in the body and massage therapy can help you relax, calming the mind and body.
Research done at the University of Massachusetts Center of Mindfulness has strongly suggested that mindfulness is a key tool for stress management and general well-being. Mindfulness is so effective because it slows down the amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for a flight or fight response. Another study using MRI scans showed that after 8 weeks of mindfulness practice, the amygdala appeared to have actually shrunk. Practicing mindfulness is easier than ever, as there are various phone apps that you can use such as Headspace or Calm.
People often feel that when they put their own self-care needs first, they are being selfish. I often tell people that you can’t take care of your loved ones or be there for others if you are facing burnout. Remember that old familiar message from the flight attendant at the start of any flight. “In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” The same goes for self-care, make sure that you take time for yourself each day. Even just 10 minutes will be beneficial. Do something that brings you peace and happiness. Take a walk, read a book, do a puzzle or even just sit in silence; it’s important that you carve out time for yourself each day so that your body can be more relaxed and better able to cope with stressful situations.
Psychotherapy is very helpful when struggling with anxiety and stress. With a counsellor you can learn ways to untwist maladaptive thinking patterns and create healthy coping strategies to manage and minimize unwanted symptoms. Treatment approaches such as Cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT) have been widely used to address anxiety. Studies on CBT and anxiety have noted “The efficacy of CBT for anxiety disorders was consistently strong”.
If interested in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or psychotherapy for anxiety, please book an appointment with our resident therapist. Psychotherapy and Counselling services are available at Bronte Wellness Boutique.