Stress can be a great driving force, but it can also be the one thing that drives you to the brink of your mental facilities. If you’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately, you’re going to want to start taking it easy. Try a few of the stress busters listed in this article, or you might just find yourself with a few of the signs and symptoms of a nervous breakdown. Check the list below, and know the signs before you actually break. Try taking a course in meditation to lower your stress levels.
Signs and Symptoms That You Might Just Be Too Stressed
This list details a few of the signs and symptoms that come before a nervous breakdown. If you seem to be suffering from several of them, talk to a mental health professional, and get a diagnosis. Never diagnose yourself, and never self-medicate. If you think you can handle these signs and symptoms on your own, do it under the watch of someone you trust, and do it naturally, without pills or medications. You can learn how to reduce your stress naturally with an online class.
Your Anxiety Gets Out of Hand
People on the verge of a nervous breakdown tend to feel like something bad is going to happen all the time. People with depression or who suffer from an anxiety disorder can also feel anxiety, but this is stronger – far stronger. It’s just a feeling of being unsettled, an overwhelming fear that something terrible is going to happen to you at any moment.
Even if you’re overall healthy, it could be a sign that there are certain stressors you’ll need to deal with sooner rather than later. Learn how to manage your stress by taking an online class. It will give you the ability to manage your stress properly and avoid a nervous breakdown.
Your Behavior Has Changed, and It’s Not For the Better
Everyone has a bad day now and then, and you shouldn’t be concerned with that. It’s when your bad days turn into bad weeks and bad months that there’s a problem. If you’re starting to get snappy with everyone around you on a daily basis, consider taking a day for yourself. Find out if you’re really upset with those people or if your attitude is from something deeper.
If you’re still getting frustrated and snappy with those people, consider seeing a mental health professional with or without those other people accompanying you. A mental health professional, whether a therapist or psychologist, will know what questions to ask and what behaviors to look for that show your attitude might be more than just those around you.
Concentration and Focus Seemed to Have Left You Behind
If you find yourself re-reading the same sentence five times or asking people to repeat important information about that project you’re working on, you might be dangerously close to your stress limit. Start delegating professional and personal tasks to other people, and start getting yourself back together.
Take some time for yourself, get some extra rest, and exercise. It might seem counter-productive to destress by adding more tasks in, but exercising releasing chemicals your body needs to handle that extra stress. Resting will help your body recharge allowing for further chemical balancing.
Are you still not focusing or concentrating like you used to? Check with a mental health professional and a physical health professional. There might be something else breaking your concentration and focus that you’ll need extra help with. Many of the known sleeping disorders are also known to cause issues with concentration and focus, so check with your doctor to make certain you’re sleeping properly.
Tips to Treating Stress on Your Own
There are ways to get your stress down naturally without having to purchase medication or see a mental health professional. If your stress has reached the point that you see any of the above signs, you should make an appointment with a mental health professional as soon as possible. Before you reach that point, however, below are some relaxation techniques to lower stress.
A simple and easy technique that can lower your stress is meditation. Psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, says that research shows daily meditation can even make you more resilient to stress by altering your brain’s neural pathways.
To meditate, sit on the floor or in your chair with your back straight. If you’re sitting on the floor, sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees. If you’re sitting in a chair, place both feet on the floor. Close your eyes, and just breathe in and out slowly and deeply.
You might want to consider some kind of spoken or silent positive mantra. Don’t focus your thoughts on any one thing that flits through your mind. Just let them all float by.
Slow Down, and Smell the Roses
You don’t have to take hours to lower your stress. Just take five or fifteen minutes, and take a walk. Pause to smell some flowers you pass, or just sit at your desk with the phone and computer off for a few minutes. Focus on your senses – what you hear, smell, touch, taste, or see around you. If you’re on your lunch break, put your work phone on silent and savor every bite of your food.
Relax in Warm Water
You don’t have to spend a small fortune going off for a spa day. Simply fill your tub with warm water and bath salts, and soak for a while. If you don’t want to soak in the tub, get a cloth and soak it in warm water. Wring it out, and wrap the damp cloth around your neck and shoulders. Close your eyes, relax your body, and just breathe deeply. Stay like that for about ten minutes, remove the cloth, and use a handheld massage device to rub out any tension.
Get Your Body Moving
Exercise is a great way to release the stress and tension of the day. One particularly popular exercise for stress is yoga, and you can even take an online course in yoga for stress. You don’t have to visit a gym to get your body moving though. Work out at home with a Wii Fit or some other kind of at-home workout equipment.
You can even just take a short walk around the neighborhood. If you have stairs, jog up and down the stairs a couple of times just to get your blood pumping. Don’t forget to stretch before and after, or your muscles might end up even tighter than they were before you began.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Studies have shown that laughter actually has many great effects on the body. Not only does it lower your stress by lowering your cortisol levels (stress hormone), but it also boosts endorphins, which is the feel-good chemical released when exercising. Watch a comedy, read some funny comics, or chat with someone that can make you laugh.
Listen to Some Soothing Music
Research has begun to show that music actually does have an effect on our mood, and soothing music can do more than just help you lower stress. Listen to nature sounds or other soothing music to help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. Focus only on the music for best effect. You can also rock out to some more upbeat tunes to get rid of the day’s tensions. Singing can also help relieve your stress.
Write That Stress Away
More and more mental health professionals are suggesting writing as a way to relieve a lot of mental issues, and stress is one of them. There is a great article about writing away stress over at Create Write Now. Along with Lynda Monk’s excellent Stress Less Journaling exercise, you might want to consider keeping a gratitude journal. Reminding yourself of all the good in your life will relieve your stress and return your mind to the things that really matter.
Eat a Healthy Diet, and Catch Enough Z’s
Many people underestimate the importance of a good diet and enough sleep. Having the proper vitamins and nutrients in your body allows your body to naturally produce chemicals that help fight off stress. Vitamin C is great for lowering stress hormones, and Omega-3s can calm down your body. Dark chocolate also has a soothing effect by releasing endorphins.
Getting the right amount of sleep allows your body to rest and naturally release the stresses of the day. Try to get at least seven hours each night, but the exact amount you need could be different for you. If you’re having trouble getting enough sleep, consider going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on your days off. Avoid caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime. If you’re going to nap during the day, do it earlier rather than later so you can still get to bed at night.