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7 Ways to Deal with Micro-Stress

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Evgeny Gromov/Thinkstock

Stress, it turns out, is a lot like snow. Here’s how to dig out.

Endoca recently did a survey and found that 58 percent of all Americans say they’re more stressed now than they’ve ever been. “About one third of stress is caused by the accumulation, or snowballing effect, of everyday micro-stressors such as being stuck in traffic and waiting for appointments,” the survey reports. “Approximately half (49 percent) of Americans feel they don’t deal with stress well, and 67 percent would like more ways of dealing with their stress.” For this week’s Healthy Habit, I went in search of just that: ways to tackle life’s micro-stressors.  

Try Myofascial Release

This type of physical therapy—conducted by professionals such as sports-medicine experts, massage therapists, and chiropractors—involves intense pressure on an area, followed by letting the muscles and fascia “release.” A study on the technique, which used blood cortisol levels to gauge reponse, found it more effective at reducing physical stress than taking a nap. You can also learn to do self-myofascial release at home, using foam rollers or tennis balls.

Commute Through Nature

Heading through a natural environment leads to better mental health, reports a 2018 study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health. See if you can re-route your daily route so that you’ll pass through a park, under a canopy of trees, or past a nature reserve or forest. Even better: Bike or walk if you can. For more ways to chill out on the way to and from work, click on “De-Stress Your Daily Commute.”

Push Delete on Tech Stress

Some of the biggest stressors reported in the Enoteca survey involved tech, such as slow WIFI, forgotten passwords, or a phone battery dying. On the slow Wi-Fi___33, call in a tech. In fact, you can call in a pro from a company like HelloTech for just about anything, from mounting a TV to setting up a smart doorbell to ridding a computer from a virus. For the cell phone battery, invest in a power bank so you can relax when the power starts to wane. PC Magazine did a good round up of options here.

Chill Out: CBD, Sex, Sleep

According to Enoteca’s survey, the most common way of dealing with stress was by sleeping (41 percent), confronting issues head-on (36 percent), and exercise (33 percent), while almost one in 10 opt to use CBD products for relief. Enoteca is a company that makes CBD products. For more on CBD, see our story on CBD Oil for Insomnia. A few more ideas:

  • Cuddle or Have Sex. Both boost chemicals in the body, like oxytocin, which reduce stress and boost mood, report researchers from the University of North Carolina and the University of Pittsburgh. Sex also flexes the pelvis, which is key for stress release (see our article, “What’s Hiding In Your Hips?” about the psoas muscles.)
  • Sleeping is vital but can be challenging if you’re stressed; Johns Hopkins Medicine recommends doing progressive relaxation of the muscles each night before turning off the light, rather than watching TV.

Take Stress Seriously

In the report on the survey, the CEO of Endoca, Henry Vincenty, stated, “Stress isn’t an abstract issue—it’s a significant problem and doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by one large inciting incident.” He suggests, “No matter what’s causing our stress, we should take care to be proactive about finding solutions before it begins affecting our health.”

If you'd like to learn practical, everyday tools to manage stress, try S&H's online course Stress Management Skills for Real Life: Practices for a Calmer Happier Life by Julie Peters.


Kathryn Drury Wagner

Spirituality & Health’s Wellbeing Editor, Kathryn Drury Wagner, is based in Savannah. She’s been a contributor to the magazine for many years, and she loves sharing ways to build a healthy, mindful, and sustainable lifestyle. 


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