It’s natural to experience stress every once in a while, but stress can be incredibly harmful to your everyday life and health if you experience it too often or too strongly. Learning to limit and handle your stress can increase your quality of life, making it far more enjoyable. If you’re often stressed and are considering looking into stress management, here are a few areas of your life that it can help improve.
Why manage stress?
1. Feeling Well-Rested
Even if you’re sleeping well, constant stress can wear you out incredibly quickly. Oftentimes, though, stress will affect your sleep patterns, keeping you up at night with your mind racing, trying to find a way to solve whatever is causing you stress. This can lead to both mental and physical exhaustion. When you find a way to stress management routine, your mind is able to quiet and relax, giving you the gift of a good night’s sleep and keeping your mind fresh during the day.
2. Increased Productivity and Concentration
When your mind is running in a dozen different directions, it can be difficult to concentrate on work and be productive. In turn, this can increase your stress as you worry about the tasks you’re not getting done. Managing your stress will enable you to concentrate fully on each task throughout the day, allowing your productivity levels to increase. You’ll be able to get more items crossed off your to-do list, both at work and at home.
3. Better Job Performance
With your renewed energy and productivity levels, you will likely be able to perform better at your job. Stress is often also a trigger for procrastination, so without high stress levels you will be able to handle the tasks you’re given much more easily. You may even be able to take on more tasks without increasing your stress levels. If stress was previously causing you to dread going to work, stress management may even change your entire perspective on work. You’ll also likely end up taking less sick days due to stress or illness. Overall, you’ll be physically and mentally more present at your job.
4. Developing Leadership Skills
Handling stress better than those around you goes a long way towards helping you become a great leader. After all, an important part of being a leader is the ability to keep yourself together during crises and give calm, logical orders.
5. Enhanced Self-Esteem
Stress can often lead to a sense of insecurity and helplessness, making you feel like you can’t handle everything that life is throwing at you. When you learn to manage that stress and reap the benefits, however, your self-esteem can increase as a result. You begin to realize that you can handle the situations you find yourself in—and that you can handle them well.
6. Boost Your Mental Health
High stress levels can contribute to or even cause issues with anxiety and depression. Aside from making many of the issues that stress causes worse, anxiety and depression can have a huge effect on your everyday life. Depression and anxiety can affect the way that you feel, think, and act. In addition to having trouble concentrating and the pervasive sadness that so many people associate with depression, you may lose interest in activities that previously brought you joy, lash out in frustration, or be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
Thankfully, managing your stress can help you to minimize your anxiety and depression by getting to some of the root causes. If your constantly high stress levels are one of the causes of your anxiety or depression, it makes sense that reducing your stress will help your mental health as a whole. If managing your stress doesn’t bring you relief from your anxiety or depression, however, you may want to consider treating it like you would any other illness—going to a specialist and, if necessary, receiving medication.
7. Positive Effect on Relationships
When you’re stressed, it’s easy to feel weighed down. Even if you don’t suffer from anxiety or depression as a result of your stress, stress commonly causes people to lash out in anger. People who are normally peacemakers can start to be on edge or constantly irritable when under a lot of stress. Over time, this begins to take a toll on your relationships with those around you.
Learning to manage your stress will help you in three major ways: you’ll find out how to avoid stress, discover how to direct it so that you don’t lash out or become frequently irritable, and you’ll learn to dissipate stress so that it doesn’t affect you as strongly. Once you learn to do this, your relationships will improve, as you’ll be able to go back to your normal, carefree, and loveable self!
8. Renewed Health
Stress has a huge impact on your overall health. It actually lowers your immune system, making you more prone to getting sick, and contributes to issues regarding digestion and high blood pressure. It can also result in huge swings in weight, either due to stress eating or loss of appetite. Stress is also known to contribute to increased risks of serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
As a result, reducing your stress levels is very beneficial to your health—over the long and short term. You’ll notice a difference not only in your productivity and energy level, but in the way you feel on a daily basis. You’ll probably get fewer colds or similar illnesses and may experience fewer issues with your blood pressure and weight.
9. Improved Oral Health
This may be surprising, but stress can negatively affect your oral health in many different ways. When we’re stressed, we tend to clench our jaws or grind our teeth without realizing it; sometimes we do this during the day, at night, or perhaps even both. This can result in injuries to your teeth, such as cracks or chips, and may eventually cause your teeth to become worn down. It can even cause chronic TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain, which can make it difficult to eat or speak without experiencing pain. While you’re learning to manage your stress, however, you can protect your teeth and help eliminate TMJ pain by talking to Dr. Alhadef about getting a nightguard for your teeth—these prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth at night.
When you’re stressed, the temptation to neglect your oral hygiene routine and the negative impact stress has on your immune system makes you more prone to gum disease, tooth decay, and ulcers in your mouth. Medications for stress or depression often carry dry mouth as a side effect, which also increases your chance for gum disease and tooth decay. Although this is certainly a lot of negative effects, the good news is that finding a way to manage your stress can bring about many positive changes regarding your oral health. It can rid you of TMJ pain, prevent injuries to your teeth, and prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
10. Decreased Pain
When we become stressed, we often tense up for long periods of time without realizing it. Unfortunately, this unconscious habit can result in a lot of pain in your lower back, neck, and in your TMJ. It can also cause frequent headaches or migraines. Many stress management practices involve becoming conscious of and relaxing each part of your body in succession, helping you to relax both your body and mind. Any method that lowers your stress levels will help you to relax your muscles, reducing or eliminating your stress-related pain.
Stress is never fun, but it’s hard to imagine just how strongly it can affect every part of our lives, from our health and teeth to our personal lives. Since we’ll always run into some amount of stress, it’s incredibly important that we learn to manage stress, minimizing how much of it we experience and the effects it has on us when we do encounter it. With so many different stress management techniques out there, you’re guaranteed to find something that works for you—once you do, you’ll feel a huge difference in your everyday life.