What Is Stress and How Can We Reduce It?

stress relief

TLDR: Feeling stress is completely normal, but finding ways to manage all life throws at us can help us focus on what we really care about. 

Under pressure? Most of us feel the weight of our job, relationships, and even current events throughout our day. 

Stress is never fun, but it is an inevitable part of being human. Keeping our stress levels in check is crucial to improved health and wellbeing. Of course, this is easier than it sounds. We all have ways to cope with stress, attempting to feel comforted when times feel strange or uncomfortable. 

Understanding stress is an important step to conquering it. Keep reading for a deep dive into stress and ways to feel a little less weight on your shoulders. 

What Is Stress?  

It’s easy to know what stress feels like but difficult to pin down its exact meaning. Stress is the body’s response to a challenge or demand. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body triggers a cascade of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. 

Adrenaline is a more short-lived stress hormone. When triggered, it increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts your energy. 

Cortisol is our primary stress hormone, working as a natural alarm system that communicates with the brain to control mood, motivation, and fear. When triggered, it increases sugars in the bloodstream, enhancing your brain’s use of glucose. In a fight-or-flight situation, cortisol curbs nonessential functions in the body.

Once the stressful situation has passed, your hormone levels will balance out back to normal. If stress is always present, your fight-or-flight reaction will stay turned on. Long-term activation of these stress hormones can disrupt your entire body’s processes, increasing your risk of many health problems. 

In an APA survey, almost half of all women reported having increased levels of stress, compared to 39% of men. A myriad of different things can be the source of stress, so it’s hard to find the cause of your feelings. 

What Causes Stress

Stress is triggered by a range of events, anything from your daily work tasks to a major change in your life like divorce. It is usually associated with events involving a lot of pressure, a big change, no control over the situation, overwhelming responsibility, and uncertainty.

You can also feel stressed out about not having enough work, activities, or change. It sounds like a lose-lose situation, but stress is a normal part of life can actually be motivating and help you get things done!

Everyday lifestyle decisions like your diet may also be impacting your stress hormone levels. A diet with high caffeine, carbohydrates, or sweets can create an increase in cortisol levels. Every body and situation is different, so pinning down the exact cause of your stress can feel daunting. 

We recommend using trial and error when combating stress to see what makes your body feel the best! 

Signs of Stress

Everyone reacts differently to stress. You can be both emotionally and physically affected by stress that can carry over to your behavior.  

We all have physical reactions to stress, such as elevated heart rate or blood pressure, and emotional reactions like thoughts of fear, anger, and worry. 

A surprising fact about stress is it can be a good thing. It serves an important purpose – allowing us to respond quickly to avoid danger. 

The long-term effects of stress or chronic stress can bring a host of issues such as anxiety, headaches, depression, and other physical health problems. Although most signs of stress are the same in men and women, there are specific impacts on women’s health.

Women who experience long-term stress may suffer from more severe PMS. This can carry over to the bedroom too. Long-term stress may make it harder for women to get aroused and lower their sex drive

The bad news? No one can avoid stress! The good news? You can always improve the way you manage stress to lighten its impact on your life. 

Ways To Reduce Stress

We all feel the pressure from time to time. The way you deal with stress is going to look very different from someone else. Working out what triggers your stress can help you anticipate problems and brainstorm how to gain more control over your feelings and actions. 

Reflecting on events and feelings that contribute to stress can help you understand how to cope with these pressures. We suggest customizing the way you handle stress with what makes you comfortable and happy!

Below are some small ways to unwind and reset.

Get Active

Think of how good you feel after a trip to your spin class or even a quick walk around the block. Physical activity can relax your muscles and improve your mood. Moving your body boosts the endorphins in your body, better known as the “feel-good” chemicals! 

Movement therapies like yoga and tai chi combine physical movements with deep breathing and mental focus, creating a sense of serenity and calmness. If you can’t make a class, we shared our top stress-relieving stretches that can be done nearly anywhere as natural stress relief. 

We encourage exercising in a way that makes your body feel good!

Get Enough Sleep

We are talking about how much sleep and your quality of sleep. Most adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night to feel rested. We know a good night’s sleep is easier said than done. 

For improved sleep, use the help of a relaxing nighttime ritual or the support of sleep supplements like CBD and melatonin.

Try Meditation 

A moment of stillness can do wonders. This allows you to heighten your ability to check in with yourself, becoming fully aware of your body both internally and externally. Just taking the time to breathe is a relaxation technique. 

Set Boundaries 

Taking time for yourself is a priority. This could be doing anything you genuinely enjoy, like reading a good book, listening to music, or having a movie night. It is okay to say no when we feel overwhelmed and overextended! 

Be Mindful Of Your Diet

We’ve all heard a healthier diet is a crucial factor when it comes to general wellness. Surprise, surprise – this rule of thumb also applies to your stress levels. 

Bad news coffee lovers, but a high amount of stimulants like caffeine can exaggerate the stress response causing an increase in blood pressure and hormone levels. You definitely don’t need to throw out all your coffee mugs. Although if you are experiencing anxiety or other symptoms of chronic stress, consider cutting back on the coffee to see how you feel. 

Other aspects of what you eat may be adding to an influx in stress hormones like cortisol. Highly processed, refined carbohydrates and sweets can cause high and low blood sugar, triggering your stress response.  This doesn’t mean you can never eat a slice of chocolate cake, but chocolate cake should not make up your main source of carbohydrates.

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CBD For Stress

You can also find support through supplements for stress, like CBD. CBD can help you ride out the craziness of life with a better sense of balance and calmness. We designed a supplement specifically for women using ingredients like CBD and other herbal supplements. Take our non-drowsy Relaxation CBD Gummies during your stressful days or unwind at night.

Treat yourself! Our Relaxation CBD Dark Chocolate Bites combine 30mg of CBD, Hibiscus, Maca, and 5-HTP for a delicious way to combat stress. 

Take A Deep Breath

It is essential to accept the things we can’t control in life, creating more time and energy for the things we want to focus on, like working towards our dream job or spending time with loved ones. 

Winged was created to uplift women by supporting them to conquer their biggest struggles, including stress. 

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