Identifying the causes of stress in your life is the first step in effective stress management. After you’ve figured out what your stressors are, you can take steps to reduce or avoid them. You can also adopt healthy lifestyle habits and strategies to manage the effects of stress. For example, eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep may help you feel more calm, focused, and energized. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as rhythmic breathing, meditation, or yoga, may also help relieve stress and anxiety. To learn more stress management strategies, speak to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Research published by Harvard Medical School describes how “the near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat off or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening.” Harvard researchers trace the beginning of the stress response to the part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for processing memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. The amygdala alerts the hypothalamus, which triggers a rush of epinephrine and cortisol: