If you’ve ever experienced sensations of frustration, lack of motivation, tension, feeling overwhelmed, or generally not on your A-game, you are not alone.
Stress is something everyone goes through eventually, unfortunately. While it’s normal to feel stressed once in a while, especially when you’ve got a lot going on, it’s definitely not a feeling you want to have.
The Stress in America survey shows that stress has been on the rise, especially since 2020. More than a quarter of people surveyed reported that they struggle to function when stressed, which is alarming.
There is a wide range of reasons why stress might have spiked over the past few years, but normal day-to-day inconveniences can also make you feel stressed.
Since stress is something so many people deal with, let’s go through how it affects the body and mind and some things you can do to manage it.
- Stress may affect the body, mind, and behavior.
- Healthy lifestyle habits may help you deal with stress.
- Supplements can lend a helping hand when you’re stressed.
Common effects of stress on your body
Sometimes, you might not even realize you’re stressed until it takes a physical toll. Stress may lower the immune system’s response to hormones, resulting in physical side effects. Here are some signs to look out for:
If you’re experiencing headaches when stressed, you’re not alone. This is a common physical symptom of stress.
When you feel tense and unable to relax your body, it might be a sign that you’re stressed out.
Muscle pain is another possible indicator of stress. While a massage can go a long way, it can be uncomfortable to work through muscle pain.
Your digestive system may also respond negatively to stress. Abdominal discomfort and problems going to the bathroom might be your body telling you to take a break.
Sometimes, chest pain can heighten your stress levels and appear to be a symptom of a serious illness. But it can also be a symptom of stress. While it’s important to look out for emergencies, it’s not uncommon to experience chest pain when stressed.
Change in sex drive
A change in sex drive might be a sign of something more serious. When you’re feeling stressed, you might have a lowered or heightened libido.
Feeling tired is one of the most common indicators of stress. Even if you’re sleeping enough hours at night, you might wake up feeling more tired than usual.
Common effects of stress on your mood
Changes in your mood may be an indicator of stress, especially if you feel less energetic than usual.
Feelings of anxiousness
When you think of stress, you probably think of feelings of anxiousness. Stress can heighten these sensations, making you overthink, experience brain fog, or feel tense.
Sense of restlessness
Feeling restless can be super irritating, especially if you’re active and still not feeling like you’re doing enough. Feeling overly restless may be a sign of stress.
More easily irritable or angry
Everybody has bad days, but becoming more easily irritable or angry may be a sign of stress.
General feeling of being overwhelmed
You’ve got a lot to do, and that’s okay. Feeling overwhelmed is a common sign of stress, making it difficult for you to power through a to-do list at work or in your personal life.
Lack of motivation or focus
Maybe you’re usually a highly motivated person with a clear vision. When you’re stressed, you may feel less motivated and focused than usual, which can mess with your responsibilities and day-to-day lifestyle.
An overwhelming sense of sadness can indicate many things, including stress. With a lack of motivation, physical symptoms, irritability, and anxious feelings, you may also experience feelings of sadness.
Common effects of stress on your behavior
Changes in behavior caused by stress can cause you to do things you might not usually do. When this happens, it can heighten the body’s sensations and mood changes that often accompany stress.
Lack of appetite or overeating
When you’re stressed, you might notice changes in the way you eat. Maybe you’re eating less, finding it hard to find food appetizing, or even overeating or eating at irregular times.
Misuse of substances
Abusing substances can be a scary and dangerous way that stress may manifest itself. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in legal substances every once in a while, misusing them should be taken seriously.
All humans have the need to connect with each other. When you feel stressed, you might want to cancel plans, lock yourself in your room, or ignore messages and calls for a while. While it’s good to take a break sometimes, withdrawing socially can be detrimental to the goal of feeling less stressed.
Less motivation to be physically active
When you’re stressed, you may feel like laying on the couch and doing nothing. Losing motivation to exercise or be physically active may be a sign of stress, but it’s important to remember that getting on your feet can also help manage these feelings.
Central nervous system and endocrine system: fight or flight
Your body is smart, even when you're feeling a little foggy. The central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of the “fight or flight” response, which is when the hypothalamus causes your body to release adrenaline and cortisol, which are both connected to feelings of stress.
When your body thinks something bad is about to happen it starts rushing blood to the parts of your body that need it the most, like muscles, the heart, and other important organs.
This usually happens when you experience stressful situations - a global pandemic, losing a job, financial struggles, an overwhelming workload, etc.
Once the perceived fear is gone, the fight or flight response should calm down. Still, our minds are tricky things, and this isn’t always the case. Working on the underlying reasons for stress is important to dissipate this physiological phenomenon.
So, let’s consider some ways you can change your lifestyle to manage stress.
How to change lifestyle to reduce stress
While there isn’t one magic way to reduce stress, there are many practices you can adopt into your lifestyle to make stress easier to handle.
Additionally, you can use supplements along with habit changes to relieve stress. FOCL’s Premium Full Spectrum CBD Gummies are a great start, not to mention the delicious flavors are a treat for any sweet tooth while the CBD may help you feel more relaxed, focused, and ready to face the day.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Practicing progressive muscle relaxation can help you identify and deal with physical tension caused by stress.
To start, it’s as easy as taking a few deep breaths. Once you feel calm, practice tightening and relaxing every muscle group, from your forehead down to your toes. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you can implement it whenever you feel stressed and keep yourself grounded.
Is progressive muscle relaxation mindfulness?
While progressive muscle relaxation isn’t necessarily mindfulness, it uses mindful practices to work.
Mindfulness is the mental state that can be achieved by focusing awareness on the present, and recognizing and accepting any feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. When practicing progressive muscle relaxation, you’ll need to practice mindfulness to focus on bodily sensations.
Guided imagery meditation
Need a vacation without leaving the palace of your mind? Practicing guided imagery meditation may help.
This practice involves placing yourself in your “happy place”, wherever that might be. It could be a sunny beach, listening to the rain in a cabin, or even a fantastic castle in some imaginary world. Wherever you feel calm, go there.
To practice guided imagery, you’ll need to tap into your imagination. Take a breath, close your eyes, and place yourself in your happy place. Think about all the sensory ramifications: how you feel, what you’re touching, what it smells like, what you’re doing. After a few minutes of focusing solely on your happy place, you might feel ready to open your eyes and return to the present.
How does guided imagery reduce stress?
Practicing guided imagery may help reduce stress by replacing disturbing and stress-inducing thoughts and feelings with images and sensations of peace and tranquility. By letting your mind go on a little vacation, you may feel less stressed.
Stress relief meditation
There’s a reason why so many people love meditating: it may have short-term stress relief benefits and serve as a long-lasting stress management technique. There are so many types, each with its own method:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Focused meditation
- Movement meditation
- Mantra meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Progressive meditation
- Visualization meditation
Figuring out which one works best for you might be a matter of trial and error. Still, researching and trying out different methods can give you a long-term stress management technique that may help you deal with stress.
Guided breathing for stress
Getting familiar with your breathing can be a great way to ward off stress. Breathing techniques can help calm the body and mind, helping you deal with feelings of stress.
There are many different techniques, so finding the one that best suits your needs is essential. Here are some simple yet effective examples:
- Breathe in slowly through your nose, with one hand on your chest and another on your abdomen. In three counted seconds, feel your lungs expand all the way down to your abdomen to ensure you’re fully breathing in through your nose, hold it for a second, and slowly exhale while counting to three.
- Slowly inhale through your nose, imagining peaceful and tranquil air traveling all throughout your body. As you exhale, imagine you’re breathing out all stress and tension in your body and mind.
Walking for stress relief
Taking a walk is a simple and easy way to get physically active, which can help release stress and calm you down. Even just taking a walk down the block can help you take a break and feel more grounded.
If you’re dealing with aches and pains, especially after working out, you can turn to topicals like FOCL Relief Cream. The CBD-rich lotion is great for soothing aching muscles, with cooling relief thanks to the Menthol and Eucalyptus as well as Aloe and Arnica.
Positive self talk
Your mind is a powerful thing. The way you internally talk to yourself can affect the way you feel and think. Using positive self-talk is an effective way to ward off stress.
Replace catastrophizing, polarizing, and magnifying thoughts with more positive ones is a good way to start.
“I can never do anything right” can turn into “nobody’s perfect, and it’s okay if I make mistakes”.
“I’ll never get this done” can turn into “I can do anything I set my mind to.”
By replacing the negative inner monologue with a more positive one, you might feel less stressed. If all else fails, imagine you’re talking to your best friend or yourself as a child. If you wouldn’t say it to them, don’t say it to yourself.
Combating stress with a balanced nutritional diet
Your diet connects to the way you feel, inside and out. You probably already know the importance of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, but it’s even more essential when you’re dealing with stressful situations.
Reaching for high-fat and high-sugar foods is totally acceptable once in a while. In fact, it’s a great way to reward yourself with something you enjoy. However, making sure you balance it out with nutritional food is just as important.
In the long term, a balanced diet can help reduce reactivity toward stress and have you feeling your best inside and out. Healthy fats like eggs, avocado, and walnuts may support mood regulation and energy balance. Veggies and fruits can affect blood sugar, which may affect stress.
On the other hand, you can also try supplements to aid your path toward a stress-free life. By adding adaptogens and nootropics, you can lend a helping hand to your other stress-relieving habits.
CBD can be a great supplement to take. FOCL’s Premium Full Spectrum CBD Drops are a CBD-rich oil that makes taking daily cannabidiol easy and versatile. With just a dropper-full placed under your tongue, you may enjoy greater focus, more restful sleep, and a feeling of ease throughout the day.
Aromatherapy for stress
Aromatherapy isn’t a magic cure for stress, but it can be useful in dealing with it. Candles, diffusers, body products, and massage oils are all accessible and easy to come by and can help you stay grounded and feel more relaxed.
Taking a lavender-scented bath, lighting a fall-themed candle, breathing in the scent of Chamomile tea, or using rose-scented lotions may help you feel better when stressed.
Stress relief supplements like B Vitamins, Ashwagandha, L-theanine
Adaptogens and nootropics may be helpful in dealing with stress. B Vitamins may aid the cells in your body to function properly, Ashwagandha may help relieve stress, and L-theanine could help induce relaxation.By taking supplements like FOCL Day, you could feel more focused and ready to power through the day. The blend of energetic adaptogens like Lion’s Mane, Rhodiola Rosea, L-theanine, Vitamin B6, Bacopa Monnieri, and premium hemp CBD could support cognitive function, fight fatigue, improve focus, assist in mood regulation, and help you stay stress-free and relaxed.