Curvy Asian woman having a snack and relaxing in bed

How do you handle stress? Different people have different ways of prioritizing their well-being. Maybe something as simple as listening to music calms your nerves, or perhaps you need to take a mental health day or week to reset. A little bit of nervousness is normal, but prolonged periods of high stress can start affecting the body negatively. 

According to the World Health Organization, extreme stress can lead to headaches, neck and shoulder pain, a lump in the throat, back pain, difficulty breathing, tight muscles, and an upset stomach, to name a few. It can also exacerbate any health condition, including heart disease, asthma, diabetes, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and accelerate aging. 

Other effects of stress include restlessness, difficulty sleeping, inability to focus, irritability, sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite, and constant worrying.

To manage your stress levels better, the WHO suggests the following practices to improve well-being.

Practice Grounding Yourself

When we are stressed or experiencing anxiety, our mind often hooks itself to unpleasant thoughts, worries, and problems. Simple issues can seem way worse in our minds and we lose sight of things that matter in our reality. The WHO recommends grounding practices to relieve ourselves from stressful thoughts and reconnect with the world around us.

According to the WHO, grounding doesn’t make your troubles disappear, but they keep you feeling safe until the anxiety passes. You can try grounding yourself by concentrating on what you are doing at the moment. If you’re drinking water, direct your full attention to your glass. Smell it, sip it slowly, and savor the taste. If you get distracted by negative thoughts, re-focus on your glass of water. 

By connecting with the world around you and engaging in what you are doing, you ground yourself to the moment. From simple things like drinking water and feeling the earth on your feet to paying attention to the people around you, grounding can help you manage stress better with practice.

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Instead of Worrying, Take Action!

To take your nervous thoughts away, you can also try doing something tangible, even if it's just a little thing. For example, if your stress comes from unpaid bills, then start listing them in a notebook, so you know exactly how much you need. Check with your work contacts to see if they have any freelance jobs available. Knowing that you’re taking the necessary actions to slowly unhook yourself from your worries makes the task at hand clearer and less daunting than it seemed.

Identify the root of your stress. Give it a name and call it out. Doing this will make you feel a bit lighter because your problem is no longer this great unknown — and now you can figure out exactly what to do about it.

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Take Care of Your Health and Well-Being

Corroborating the WHO's findings, the American Psychological Association states that chronic stress can have negative effects on all systems of the body, including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.

It can also compromise your physical well-being and put you at risk of health problems such as anxiety, depression, digestive problems, sleep problems, weight gain, and heart disease. 

Rest, relaxation, and exercise are . Sleep, in particular, helps restore the body’s energy and mind’s ability to process memories, emotions, and events, helping you address stressful situations better. In the same way, doing things that you enjoy as well as exercise can also reduce stress by releasing feel-good hormones and lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

Having a regular   can also give you a boost of confidence and improve your mood. To unwind after a tiring day, take a shower using products that are infused with lavender, which is known for its calming properties. Care for your skin with an ultra-moisturizing cleanser like Dove Bar Relaxing Lavender, and shampoo with Love Beauty and Planet Argan Oil and Lavender Smooth and Serene Shampoo. This relaxing formula also calms frizz and smoothens hair.

Try these hacks and improve your well-being the next time you feel overwhelmed with stress.