What is stress tolerance and how can you increase it?
Some people easily endure nervous tension, while others don’t. Why?
Everything depends on the threshold of stress tolerance or resistance: the ability to cope with stress without harming the body.
There are several factors affecting your stress tolerance:
- Social support. Having a number of people you can trust or rely on; socially isolated people are less capable of coping with stress.
- Self-confidence. The feeling that you are able to influence your own life makes it easier to survive tough times.
- Mindset. Optimistic people are less vulnerable than pessimists.
- Emotional intelligence. One who knows how to recognize and manage emotions is more stress-tolerant.
- Physical condition. Quality sleep, proper nutrition, the level of physical activity (the higher it is, the easier it is to break free from the web of negative thoughts that nurture stress) will help you return to a stable state of mind.
It’s all great. But what can you really do to fight worries and increase low stress tolerance? Here you go:
9 stress management techniques by Flo
Our body has its own ways to deal with stress. When we sleep, it produces necessary hormones for restoring strength. Lack of sleep negatively affects our well-being and causes stress, so doctors recommend sleeping at least 7-8 hours a day.
The quality of sleep has the same value as its quantity. Fitful sleep leaves you feeling exhausted, so you should set up a comfortable sleeping area, dismiss any negative thoughts, and relax.
Incense sticks, a warm bath, and certain herbs (such as valerian) can help relieve nervousness. However, before taking any herbs, you should consult a doctor.
Support from your nearest and dearest
The ability to share your feelings and worries with your loved ones helps relieve stress. This will work only if you have a trusting relationship with your partner, family, or friends.
Studies show that social support has an impact on the hormonal level, increasing resistance to stress. It is the quality of the relationships that matters most, not the number of people close to you.
A confidential conversation can often bring relief and may partly relieve stress. It is equally important to avoid communication with unpleasant people, as they constantly cause negative emotions, thus adding to your stress.
Changing your attitude
Stress is the result of the interaction of two components: a certain situation and your attitude towards it.
To cope with your worries, you can influence the first component. For example, if your work causes you irritation, try to find another job. If you’re afraid to be late for a meeting, leave your house early.
If you don’t have any leverage over a situation, try to change your attitude. It is proven that the negative perception of a problem is more dangerous than the problem itself.
To save your mental strength, try to find positive aspects, share your feelings with your loved ones, or be indifferent to the worries. There is no point in worrying about what is beyond your control. This will only exacerbate the state of stress. Manage to accept difficulties as life experience, and move on without looking back.
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Balancing family and career
Learning how to deal with stress at work, combining work and leisure harmoniously is not an easy task. If you don’t maintain the balance, one of these life aspects will suffer, and your body will experience stress.
In order to not be torn between the two, try to recognize both areas of life as equally important, but make a clear distinction between them.
Thanks to modern technology, if you want boundaries between work and home in general, you must draw them yourself. By optimizing your schedule, you will find energy for both your family and your work.
It is also important to say “no” when it’s necessary. If you stop helping others due to a false sense of duty or compassion, or if you avoid manipulators who want to reap benefits at your expense, you’ll be able to spend more time with your loved ones. Don’t sacrifice yourself or depend on other people's opinions. This deprives you of the freedom necessary for a fulfilling life.
Studies show that leaving tasks half-finished exacerbates stress. This is because our body is better at remembering interrupted processes than completed ones. It also has been proven that stress arises from the regular need to choose what we should do now, and what we should leave for later.
Adequate planning is one of the ways to minimize stress. Time management skills help you correctly sort out priorities, delete distractions that eat up your precious time, and cope with most of the tasks.
If you make a schedule for a day, a week, and a month, you will know what you are in for and what emotions you may encounter, so you will feel more focused and calm.
However, don’t plan to complete something beyond your capabilities. Inflated expectations are also among the most frequent causes of stress.
Working on your thoughts
Stress begins with thought. The more negative your thoughts are, the stronger the nervous tension is. It might seem impossible to improve your stress level, but it isn’t. Negative thinking only has power over a person when they respond to it.
To manage stress, you need to learn to ignore bad thoughts and develop the ability to find positive aspects in everything. This doesn’t mean hiding your head in the sand whenever there is an unpleasant situation. Positive thinking involves finding an efficient way to solve a problem instead of freaking out and expecting something even more terrible. It is proven that thoughts give rise to emotions, and emotions affect behavior. By controlling our thoughts, we manage our actions and therefore, prevent stressful situations.
You can learn to think positively. This takes time and practice. Here are a few ways to become more optimistic.
- Try writing your thoughts down so they are easier to analyze. If you see that some circumstance constantly spoils your mood, it's time to root it out.
- Try to pay attention not only to negative things, but also to the benefits that you have in your life. Happiness is in the little things: a warm bed, a roof over your head, delicious food, security, etc. That is something that not all people have.
- Try to surround yourself with positive people; after all, your mood largely depends on them.
- Anyone who knows how to laugh at life is less stressed. Let yourself smile, especially during tough times, and find the positive in everyday events.
Start every morning by complimenting yourself. This will instill a good mood in you.
Try to think only of success, and do not fear defeat.
One of the most effective stress management activities is learning how to relax.
Meditation can be helpful here. This practice involves breaking free from numerous thoughts and concentrating on one thing that doesn’t allow your consciousness to be distracted.
You can try a classical form of meditation. To do this, you need to find a quiet place, remove everything that can distract you, take a comfortable pose, adjust your breathing (taking deep breaths in and out through your nose), and concentrate on something serene. Your mind will then wander from one thought to another, but every time this happens, you need to return to the original setting.
Walking, cleaning, and cooking can serve as stress management strategies. Anything that “turns off” your brain and makes it work on only one task that you enjoy is a form of meditation.
Such practices have nothing to do with magic. These are regular stress management exercises that develop emotional stability, so don’t expect to see a noticeable result immediately after the first time.
People behave differently in difficult situations: some resort to emotional eating, while others hate the very thought of food. When you are experiencing nervous tension, you need to eat, but it’s important to watch your diet.
Under stress, your body requires more proteins, vitamins, and micronutrients. You can replenish them by eating eggs, beans, nuts, and dairy products.
Citrus fruits will restore the balance of vitamin C needed to maintain immunity. Spinach, broccoli, and bananas are rich in B vitamins, the lack of which can negatively affect your memory. Salmon, spinach and chocolate will refill the magnesium content, preventing headaches caused by the lack thereof.
Stress raises blood pressure. Yogurt, tomatoes, and celery will help you bring it back to normal. Complex carbohydrates (whole grain bread, oatmeal porridge) should also be added to your diet. They stabilize the level of blood sugar which fluctuates wildly in stressful situations.
When do you need an expert’s help?
Don’t try to adapt to stress; there are many ways to overcome it.
To learn how to manage nervous tension, you need to take responsibility for your life and focus on your lifestyle.
Try to start with simple stress management activities: walking, taking a shower, screaming, or crying if you feel like doing it (emotions need a way out). If this doesn’t work, you can try relaxation, meditation, or sublimation (redirection of energy to other objects, activities or creativities). First, it won’t be easy to resist stress, but the regular use of these practices is sure to produce good results.
If you fail to regain composure in any way, and stress has reached such a level that you don’t have enough strength to lead your normal way of life, it's time to see a doctor. You need expert help if you suffer from insomnia, are overeating or not eating at all for a long time, if you regularly lash out at others, or if you’ve lost all interest in sex.
In such situations, consulting a doctor is not a sign of weakness, but, conversely, a sign of being ready to handle problems for your sake and the sake of those who care about you.