How to deal with the stress of every day living

“I am so stressed out!”

Whether we say it out loud, under our breath or in our heads – we all do it. We reach that point when we’ve had enough. We feel like we just can’t take it anymore.

When our bodies detect too much stress, we start to tense up and a series of reactions occur that affect our behaviour and our health.

Your poor brain…

When you get stressed out the small region in the base of the brain called the hypothalamus reacts by stimulating the body to produce hormones that include adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help you to deal with any threats or pressure you are facing – this is called the ‘fight or flight’ response. Dealing with stress and anxiety is something that can have a debilitating effect on your day to day life.

“I haven’t got the time for this!”

Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a constant state of guardedness. This can trigger reactions – a headache or tension in the shoulders or the neck. You may breathe harder leading to hyperventilation and there could be long-term problems for the heart and blood vessels.

“I’m heartbroken.”

When you’re stressed, you may eat much more or much less than you usually do. If you eat more or different foods or increase your use of alcohol or tobacco, you can experience heartburn or acid reflux. Stress can affect the reproductive system, immune system and sexual desire. [1]

“I need help.”

Caring for young children, ill family members, coping with chronic medical problems and feeling depressed is exhausting. Experiencing mental or physical abuse and dealing with work problems can all take its toll on the mind and body.

With the growing pressures of modern technology, few of us ever really ‘switch off’. We don’t give ourselves time to disconnect from the real world, and this is making us feel stressed and overwhelmed.

It doesn’t have to be that way – in a lot of cases, you do have a choice.

We all need a level of stress or pressure to live well. A lack of stress results in your body and mind being under-stimulated. Stress is what gets you out of bed in the morning and motivates you throughout the day. However, stress becomes problematic when there’s too much or too little so it’s about getting a balance.

So, how do you deal with the stress of everyday living?

Choose to achieve a balance in your life.

It’s easier said than done but that should be your goal. By managing your stress levels, you can reduce the impact of modern everyday living gently and effectively.

Take a moment to assess what you have and what you are doing, what is causing you too much stress, one thing or a combination of things?

What can you do to help yourself?

Communicate – talk, educate yourself and make time to understand your feelings, and those of others
Seek advice – and change what needs to be changed
• Adapt your lifestyle – it can help significantly, change is a good thing


There are other factors to consider that are important for stress management:

Diet: Foods can help tame stress in several ways. Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time. A healthy diet can help counter the impact of stress by shoring up the immune system and lowering blood pressure. [2]

Exercise: Preliminary evidence suggests that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. But little work has focused on why that should be. So to determine how exercise might bring about its mental health benefits, some researchers are looking at possible links between exercise and brain chemicals associated with stress, anxiety and depression. [3]

Therapy: There are many therapy options and it’s a matter of finding one that works for you. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one option. It is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It’s most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems. [4]

We all deal with situations in a different way. Be mindful in those meltdown moments and choose to take a bad day to a good day.


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** The content on this site should not be used as medical advice, we are giving our readers information and insights. If you are concerned about your health or need medical advice please see your doctor. If you are struggling with any issues please talk to someone – don’t suffer in silence. **