Find and Befriend Your Stress

Find and Befriend Your Stress
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

The Lark DPP check-in brought the idea of stress management. The concept of managing your stress, rather than eliminating it, is so important because management is realistic. Elimination is not. 

Everyone has stress. You may be able to avoid a few potential stressors, such as talking about politics if that bothers you, or being in crowded bars if that’s just not your thing. Most causes of stress, though, are unavoidable.

Managing your stress can do a few things. It can turn a negative stress response, that can potentially harm your health, into a positive response that lets you deal better with nearly every aspect of your life.

What Are Your Stressors?

There are many possible sources of stress. Some are single events or are short-lived; they may affect you most intensely for a few weeks or months. Examples include weddings, buying a home, starting a new job, or getting a divorce. 

Longer-term, or chronic, sources of stress can last for years or a lifetime. These are some common ones.

  • Having too much to do.
  • Not having enough time.
  • Having a long commute.
  • Social media.
  • Worrying about health.
  • Taking care of the home.
  • Financial pressures.
  • Feeling the need to be perfect.

You may be able to more effectively manage stress if you know where it is coming from and why you are feeling that way. 

Awareness and Acceptance

Sometimes, something as simple as awareness or acceptance can reduce the negative effects of the stressor. When you acknowledge that it bothers you, you may notice that it does not bother you as much, or you may be able to come up with strategies to lessen the stress enough to make a subtle difference. For example, your entire morning may go better if you save time by eating premade overnight oatmeal for breakfast instead of taking the time to make oatmeal in the morning. 

When possible, try to recognize causes of stress as choices that you have made. Taking ownership can help you relax about them. For example, “I do not like sitting in traffic to get to work, but for now, it is the best option I have. I love my job!”

Manage Your Stress

Whatever stress you have, you can manage it better with simple strategies. You might incorporate some stress relief routines into your daily or weekly schedule to become better able to handle whatever life throws at you. These are some common ways to relieve or manage stress.

  • Be physically active.
  • Meditate.
  • Do yoga.
  • Pursue a hobby, such as gardening, playing an instrument, or arts and crafts.
  • Follow the same bedtime routine every night.
  • Phone a friend.
  • Drink decaffeinated coffee or tea.
  • Count your blessings.

The trick is to do whatever works for you. It will almost certainly take some experimentation and practice to build your best stress management skills, but the pay-back will be great. Keep using Lark for help managing prediabetes and weight loss, and to practice stress management skills.