One of my worst habits is undoubtedly letting my stress get the better of me. It’s something I’m actively working on — not losing my cool when something unfortunate and unexpected happens — but it’s still something of a struggle. That’s why I’m glad I found this handy little infographic about how to stay calm in stressful situations — it came along at just the right time, offering not only some valuable info about what happens to your body when you’re stressed, but also about what techniques you can use to mitigate it. I’m sure my comrades in high-strung arms will find it as useful as I have, so here — let’s take a look, shall we?
Tons of weird things happen to your body when you’re stressed: The presence of stress prompts your hypothalamus to start producing cortisol and adrenaline; your fight-or-flight response gets triggered; your heart rate elevates; your blood pressure rises; and more. Plenty of weird things happen to your emotions, too: You might feel anxious, restless, irritable, depressed, or unable to focus. These effects might be long-term, too — indeed, one study conducted over a 10-year period found in 2013 that participants who reported the most negative reactions to stress were also more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety a decade down the road.
We can’t necessarily stop ourselves from getting stressed — and, in fact, a little stress is actually good for us; at its core, it’s a survival mechanism, after all — but we can put strategies into place that help us manage it when it happens. That way, we can take the information that it gives us and use it to figure out what the appropriate response is, rather than letting it rule us completely. Take a look below for seven techniques that will help you keep your stress in check. When in doubt, start by taking a few deep, calming breaths.
Feel better yet?