Work The Stress Away!

The symptoms of chronic stress and how we can tackle it.

By Frederick Chia / 7 April 2022

StressHow often do you get pulled down by stress? Source: Francisco Moreno

  • Journaling as a way to cope with the overwhelming thoughts
  • The right music will distract and relax our brain
  • New hobbies carry you away from your stressful mind
  • Mindfulness meditation reduces stress

Have you ever paced around your dim room with gloomy thoughts at 3 am, wondering if it’s a phrase you’re in? You may be experiencing symptoms caused by a long period of stress you are not aware of. Time moves quickly and we often neglect the warning signs from ourselves just to catch up with everyone’s footsteps. Exhausting, isn’t it?

Do you know that long term stress, also called chronic stress, could cause health problems to us? It is no longer an unusual phenomenon to experience chronic stress. Even I experienced it! 

Here are some of the physical and mental symptoms of chronic stress you should take note of: 

Physical symptoms:

  • Heaviness in the chest
  • Shoulder, neck or back pain
  • Losing or gaining weight
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Sexual difficulties

Mental symptoms:

  • Easily frustrated
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Having difficulty relaxing
  • Feeling bad about yourself 
  • Avoiding others

As a person who tries to keep a work-life balance, I have several of the above symptoms. I would wake up in the middle of the night, or have difficulty relaxing even when the stress is gone! 

Remember folks, the first step towards solving chronic stress is by acknowledging it in the first place. Only then will we begin searching for a solution to tackle it. Read along as I introduce you to several methods to cope with stress.


1/ Do journaling

Stress Pokok.AsiaStart a stress-free day with journaling. Source: Estée Janssens

Journaling can be used for different purposes. Some use it to track their water intake, record their daily tasks or simply to drop their thoughts onto paper as a form of emotional release. 

Personally, writing down my problems in a journal daily helps me reflect on the possible solutions for them. When you realise you’re stressed, journaling comes in handy to avoid your flying thoughts from becoming overwhelming. Now how do we do this?

Try to write down stuff like the problems that have been causing you stress, the things you are grateful for in life and the people who you may approach for support. By doing so, I experience less frustration as I can handle my thoughts and emotions better. 


2/ Distract yourself with music

Stress Pokok.AsiaLet’s vibe the stress away! Source: Travis Yewell

Distractions aren’t always bad, especially when it comes to stressful minds! I believe all of us would find it hard to get away from the noisy thoughts that are caused by stress. Music has a way of diverting our attention away from our troubled minds.

Furthermore, researchers from Stanford University found out that it has the same stress-reducing power as medication. But the question is, what genre of music are we looking for?Almost anyone could access music with today’s technology, and it is recommended that Celtic, Indian stringed instruments, drums, and flutes are effective in relaxing our brain.

Other than that, mixing your light jazz and classical music with sounds of rain and nature is effective too. For me, violin soundtracks with orchestra music work very well in calming my nerves before bed. As long as you find particular music soothing, it is bound to relax you both physically and mentally.


3/ Pick up new hobbies

Stress Pokok.AsiaNever try never know, right? Source: Kari Shea

Just the thought of doing the things I love would give me bursts of excitement and happiness! The main reason why picking up new hobbies helps reduce stress is that people can look forward to the things they love after a hard day. 

This gives a sense of motivation and an escape from the stress people are under. Most people do not realise that sleep is not the best recovery method for those experiencing burnout. It is the leisure activities that help us the most!

As Cynthia Hand said, “You don’t know until you know.” You should experiment with a variety of activities when picking up a new hobby. Taking a baking or drawing class, learning a new skill or exploring a new music genre every week could lead you to something new you’d love. 

As for me, embroidery art was something I’d never thought I would obsess over. This hobby keeps me entertained after a long day at work and keeps me motivated with the progress I made. As long as the activity distracts you from those troubling thoughts, you should hold on to it.


4/ Meditate your stress away

Stress Pokok.AsiaProvide yourself with a space of zen and peace. Source: Katerina Jerabkova

The purpose of mindfulness is to train our focus, bring about a calmer mind, and cultivate positive emotions. This method could reduce our body’s response to stress, especially chronic stress that causes health problems. 

Another noteworthy fact about practising mindfulness is it helps in reducing depression, anxiety and pain. Personally, this is something brand new for me, so let’s learn it together! There are two parts to mindful meditation, which are Attention and Acceptance.

First, tune in to your experience by directing your concentration to your breath, thoughts and feelings in the present. Then, observe them without judgement, acknowledge them and let them go. To practise mindfulness, consider joining yoga or athletic classes that offer breathing and guided classes. Then incorporate this into our regular routine.


When there’s a will, there’s a way!

Do you find these tips helpful? I would definitely try a daily session of mindful meditation to see if it helps bring about a peaceful mind. If you still feel overwhelmed, visit Befrienders as they provide emotional support to those in distress. And they do it for free. Let us know in the comment session which method works best for you!


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