Although nobody likes to feel stressed, sometimes it’s difficult to prioritize stress management. It’s not that people don’t want to reduce their stress levels, but rather the combination of competing priorities and the difficulty of changing ingrained habits makes it difficult. Many people have hectic schedules, whether it be work, school, or family obligations, and stress management often falls to the side as people try to keep up with their daily demands. Plus, our society’s hyperfocus on productivity also places pressure on people to add more to their lives, which can overshadow the importance of stress management.
Despite these challenges, it’s absolutely essential to create time and space for coping with stress. Everybody deals with stress differently, but some strategies include journaling, exercising, deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness, taking breaks, using your support system, setting boundaries, engaging in hobbies, delegating responsibilities, and going to therapy. No matter how you choose to manage stress, the key is to maintain consistency and stay on track.
Need some motivation? Here are 8 reasons to keep stress management at the top of your priority list.
1. Stress management is essential for mental health…
Dealing with stress effectively helps us remain calm and emotionally balanced. If our stress levels are out of control, it can wreak havoc on our mental health, leading to a multitude of issues ranging from anxiety and depression to PTSD or other conditions. When we are continuously exposed to stressors that we cannot cope with, our brain releases hormones that trigger the “fight or flight” response. This response might be helpful in the short-term, but if it persists for an extended period, it can cause damage to various parts of the brain responsible for processing emotions and mood regulation.
2. … and physical health.
Keeping our stress at bay helps our bodies feel healthy and strong. If not managed, stress weakens the immune system and weakens its ability to fight off infections and diseases, making us more susceptible to getting sick. Feeling chronically stressed can also elevate blood pressure, causing an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. Stress can also lead to inflammation, which over time can lead to health problems, such as arthritis and type 2 diabetes. In addition, chronic stress can lead to unhealthy habits, such as smoking, using alcohol or other drugs, or overeating, which can lead to a variety of other chronic illnesses.
3. Stress management is important for healthy relationships.
Stress management helps to keep our relationships positive. This is because stress can cause people to become irritable, moody, or withdrawn, which can lead to conflict in relationships. By managing stress effectively, individuals can communicate more effectively, remain calm, avoid unnecessary conflict, and manage interpersonal differences with grace and compassion. In addition, learning to manage stress can also help you have more fun with the people you care about most. When you’re feeling relaxed and present in the moment, it’s easier to connect authentically and enjoy each other’s company.
4. Stress management helps us reach our goals.
Stress management is crucial for achieving our goals as it helps us avoid burnout and stay focused on the task at hand. When we become overwhelmed with stress, our productivity and motivation can plummet, making it difficult to make progress towards our objectives. Additionally, by reducing stress levels, we boost our resistance to negative emotions and disturbances that could derail us from our path towards success. Overall, managing stress helps us stay on track with clear thinking about our goals, our action steps, and the methods we will use to reach success.
5. Stress management is important for our self-esteem.
When we are dealing with stress, it’s common to question ourselves and our abilities, which can lead to a drop in our self-esteem. But when we learn how to manage stress effectively, it can have a positive impact on our confidence. By reducing feelings of anxiety or worry, we start to feel more in control of our lives and better able to cope with challenges. This sense of empowerment can have a major effect on how we see ourselves, as we begin to recognize our own capabilities and strengths. Focusing on stress management also sends ourselves the message that we are worthwhile and deserving of care and attention, further strengthening our self-esteem
6. Stress management helps us contribute to our communities.
When we are stressed, it can be difficult to make time for volunteer work or community involvement because we feel overwhelmed with our own problems. However, we become more equipped to tackle the challenges facing our communities when we have a healthy mindset through stress management. We can show up fully present and ready to contribute, whether it’s through donating time or resources to a local organization, working in a public service capacity, or simply being there for friends and family members who need support. Stress management empowers us to be active participants in creating positive change around us.
7. Stress management allows us to experience joy and laughter.
Facing stress means that our minds are preoccupied with the issues at hand, making it challenging to let go and enjoy the moment. Practicing stress management helps release tension from our bodies and minds. When stress levels decrease, our brains start producing hormones, such as endorphins and dopamine – also known as happy hormones – that contribute to a sense of well-being and joyfulness. We are more likely to find humor and delight even in everyday experiences. This allows laughter and joy to emerge naturally, which leads to fulfillment and happiness overall.
8. Stress management makes the world a kinder place.
Our emotions can quickly take over in stressful situations and we may act impulsively or lash out at others. But, when we learn how to manage our stress, we become more present and aware of our emotions. This awareness helps us navigate challenging interactions with greater kindness towards ourselves and others, creating ripple effects that can spread kindness throughout our communities. When individuals prioritize their mental health and model positive behavior for others to follow, they build a foundation for a kinder world where understanding, empathy, and acceptance for each other can thrive. We can’t think of a better reason for stress management than this.
Written by Lauren Presutti