Lifestyle Tips

Stress

Stress is any demand on the mind or body. Stress is generally a good thing – it increases alertness and helps people perform at their best. But stress can become a bad thing when people feel the pressure to meet too many demands, or competing demands, in too short a period of time. That's when people start to feel stressed out.

Feeling stressed can produce muscle tension and insomnia, and stress can actually cause a headache. On the flip side, learning to manage stress effectively can prevent headaches.

Tips for dealing with too much stress

Sometimes you can reduce the demands on your time by learning to say no or by negotiating between competing priorities. But often, it may not be possible to change the amount of stress in your life.

Although you may not be able to change the situation, you can change how you deal with it, and how you manage stress. There are many ways to do this, such as the following:

  • Set realistic goals and priorities. Don't be your own worst enemy by overloading yourself with tasks.
  • Maintain a positive outlook. Many stressful situations can be resolved. Get support from your family and friends to help you through it.
  • Laugh. Keep your sense of humour. Laughter is a natural stress reliever.
  • Give yourself permission to take a break. Do something that relaxes and calms you – read a book, get some fresh air, or listen to music.
  • Be physically active. No matter how busy you are, set aside half an hour to take a walk at least three times a week.
  • Eat well. Drinking alcohol and smoking are not effective (or healthy) ways of relieving stress. Too much caffeine can disturb sleep and make you even more anxious.
  • Sleep. Get enough sleep to feel rested. It is difficult to manage stress effectively when you are exhausted.

Relieving stress can be an important way to reduce headaches. If you feel too much stress a lot of the time and you can't seem to get on top of it, you may want to consider talking to a professional to get help with stress management.

Find stress management resources.