Seven Steps to Manage Stress and Build Resilience to Get Through the Ups and Downs

Tips and Tricks of Massage Therapy
By: Reed McDow

It is impossible to make it through life without the ups and downs that can lead to stress. Stress in and of itself is not unhealthy; it’s how you deal with and manage it that counts. In our post-pandemic world, emotions seem to be somewhat heightened, and returning to the normal day in and day out has not been easy for all of us. If you feel like the weight of your problems is weighing you down, it’s important to find a healthy way to manage stress. These are the seven best ways that we shared with our Redfin audience, to not only manage stress but to build resilience to get through the hard times for a healthier and happier you.

How Stress Affects Us

When your body senses that you are under a threat, your sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear. The response is one of “fight or flight,” meaning that the body goes on alert that it either has to prepare to fight or get out of the situation immediately. Not only can stress lead to physiological changes such as changes in vision, an uptick in your heart rate, and stomach issues; it can also affect your brain chemistry. If you stay in the fight or flight mode for long periods of time, it can drain your body, decrease your immune function, lead to stomach problems, poor concentration, and eventually to things such as depression and anxiety. The good news, however, is that there are ways to counteract your response to stressors to alleviate the harmful and draining effects that they can have.

Seven Steps to Manage Stress

Recognize Stressors and Triggers

The first and perhaps most critical step is to learn how to recognize the signs that you are stressed and the triggers that can bring on your flight or fight response. The nervous system sends signals to the brain when you are under stress; these can be anything from feeling on edge, irritability, clenching your teeth, tight muscles, headaches, or just generally having a hard time concentrating. It is important to recognize not just your body’s responses to stress but the triggers that set your body into high gear.

Take Time Alone

Most of us are so busy taking care of everyone else around us that we fail to take care of ourselves. Learning to say “no” and recognizing that you can’t be everything to everyone is a huge part of easing stress. Sometimes it takes prioritizing your responsibilities so that your mental and physical wellbeing is one of them. It’s critical to take time for yourself to do what makes you happy and healthy. Things like setting time aside to engage in activities that you love, time to work out, or just going for a walk to clear your head are all ways to reduce the stress you feel. When you start to notice you’re reaching your boiling point, back away and find a way to center and focus on what you need instead of what others need.

Reduce Triggers

Stress itself is not the problem as much as the ways that we respond to it. If there are some situations or “triggers” that bring on emotional and physical stress, it’s a good idea to recognize them. That way, you can head off putting yourself into a position that brings on stress. It can also help you to rationalize what is setting you off and come up with a way to overcome those triggers by being aware of them and challenging the ways that you react to them. 

Stay Connected and Find Support

We are social beings and we’re not meant to go it alone. It is difficult to take on the weight of the world. Sometimes just sharing your feelings with those around you can be one of the most powerful tools to manage stress. It is important not only to make time for yourself but also to make time for those people in your life who bring you joy and make you the best version of yourself. Make it a point to keep in touch with loved ones and friends so that you always have a lifeline when things start to get difficult.

Redirect Your Energy

Stress can make us hyperfocus on things that we can’t control. It is important to understand that there are things you can change and others you can’t. Wasting needless energy worrying about things from the past or things you can’t change is just that: a waste. When confronted with stress, try to take the emotions out of it and ask yourself, “What can I do to make this situation better?” If the answer is nothing, then you have to accept that you can’t always change things and redirect your energy to find things that you can control instead of being consumed by things that you can’t. 

See a Massage Therapist

If you are under a lot of stress in your professional or personal life, it can lead to constant tight muscles and malaise. It can also increase your blood pressure and restrict your circulation, leading to a reduced supply of blood and oxygen. Massage therapy is an excellent way to take time for yourself while also helping to ease tight and sore muscles, encourage your body to relax, and increase circulation. When your body is relaxed, your mind can follow suit.

Think Positive

There is a huge correlation between positivity and wellbeing. When you think positively, you are better able to make it through hurdles and roadblocks. When confronted with stressful situations, try to approach them with positivity and see the silver lining, rather than being bogged down by all the worst-case scenarios that are fear-driven. Although our brains tend to anticipate how bad things can be, they often aren’t as bad as we expect. Positivity is the key to bringing about healthy change and finding a more purposeful life.

Stress alone is not the problem; it is inevitable. The way that we choose to handle stress can significantly change our health for better or worse. If you can identify when you are stressed, what triggers your stress, and how you can reduce it, you will lead a much happier and healthier life overall. Why not make yourself and your wellbeing a priority starting this minute and do something for yourself by scheduling a massage appointment with us today?