Need to Relax? Here are 5 Effective Stress Management Tips
Published | 5 min read
Stress is part of our lives – we can’t escape it. Here are five stress management tips to ensure better health and improve your quality of life.
Like it or not, stress will always be part of our lives. When we are stressed, our body’s defence system will heighten automatically, triggering a fight-or-flight response. Chronic stress over long periods can disrupt your body’s systemic functions. Here are some of the effects of stress and stress management tips that can help you lead a healthy, productive life.
How Stress Affects our Health
Stress affects the entire body, including the cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, and respiratory systems, which would result in various diseases. For instance:
- Persistent acute or chronic stress can contribute to an inflammation of the coronary arteries. Thus, increasing your risk of a heart attack.
- Excessive stress can impair the endocrine system. This will lead to physical and mental health conditions, including depression, chronic fatigue, immune disorders, and metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity
- Anxiety and tension create certain chemicals and hormones that negatively affect your gut flora (microorganisms in the digestive tract) and interfere with digestion
- Chronic or prolonged stress can upset testosterone production. This will result in impotence, erectile dysfunction, or a decrease in libido.
- Stress can change the length of menstruation and cause absent or irregular menstrual cycles.
- Studies show that acute can trigger asthma attacks, whereas rapid breathing due to stress can bring about a panic attack.
5 Stress Management Tips to Try
Both Western and TCM treatments offer a myriad of stress management strategies to implement in your daily life. Here are some of the suggestions:
1. Professional diagnosis
When dealing with stress or stress-induced diseases, you should always consult a healthcare provider. Doctors will assess your health, determine if it is stress-related, and prescribe appropriate medication. Additionally, health professionals may recommend therapies or “talking treatments” such as:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): to help patients understand their thought patterns and trigger points
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): a therapy that draws on the principles of meditation to help patients release stress and negative thoughts
2. Lifestyle changes
When it comes to stress management, don’t just rely on doctors and physicians. Individuals must also be proactive in changing their lifestyle habits to manage and minimise stress. For example:
- having regular and balanced meals
- getting sufficient sleep
- cutting down on caffeine
- taking time to rest
- finding a hobby
- listening to music
- talking to loved ones
- managing emotions
- setting realistic goals
3. TCM formulations
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), priority is given towards identifying the specific syndrome of your stress before prescribing suitable treatment options.
“Firstly, TCM practitioners will perform a comprehensive analysis of clinical information. This is done through the use of four main diagnostic procedures — observing, listening, questioning, and administering tongue and pulse analysis. With the clinical information collected, they will analyse and identify the patient’s syndrome differentiation. This will then guide the prescription of Chinese herbs and formulae”, says Eu Yan Sang TCM Physician Vong U Chan.
The consumption of herbal remedies can be beneficial in fighting against the harmful effects of stress by calming the mind (shen), regulating liver qi (vital life energy), nourishing the heart, and eliminating internal heat or fire. Physician Vong recommends these herbs:
- Cnidium (chuanxiong, 川芎), lingzhi (灵芝), hawthorn berries (shanzha, 山楂), perilla stem (zisugeng 紫苏梗), and tangerine peel (chenpi, 陈皮) can ease stress by balancing liver qi.
- Anemarrhena (zhimu, 知母), Rehmanniae Radix (shengdi, 生地) and Salvia root (danshen, 丹参) regulate stress by clearing internal fire.
- American ginseng (huaqishen, 花旗参), lily bulb (baihe, 百合), longan fruit (longyanrou, 龙眼肉), and thin leaf milkwort root (yuanzhi, 远志) are good for keeping the mind calm
- Heart-tonifying soup (yang xin tang, 养心汤) and suan zao ren tang (酸枣仁汤) help quiet down the mind whilst soothing the nerves.
According to Physician Vong, applying pressure to several acupoints can also help you achieve stress relief:
- Neiguan (PC 6, located on the forearm when your palm faces up, three fingers-width down from the wrist, between the two tendons that start from the wrist and run down the centre of the forearm) and Yintang (EX-HN3, located on the forehead, in between the eyebrows) can calm the mind.
- Fengchi (GB 20, located at the base of the skull, at the top of the back of the neck, in the soft depression that’s lateral to the thick tendons of the trapezius muscle) has a relaxing and balancing effect upon the nervous system.
- Danzhong (CV 17, located at the centre of the chest, in the midway between the nipples) and Taichong (LR 3, located on the top of the foot, in the hollow space between the junction of the big toe and 2nd toe) are good for regulating qi movement.
5. Meditative exercises
Meditation in motion is the most appropriate way to describe ancient exercises like yoga, tai chi, or qigong. These routines promote calm and serenity through gentle, fluid movements. Each movement also involves small steps, sitting or standing postures, and a focus on deep breathing.
“In TCM, poor health results from blocked energy that flows through the meridians of the body. Thus, tai chi or qigong can promote good health by allowing qi to flow through the body, thereby lowering stress and reducing anxiety,” adds Physician Vong.
Untreated stress can have dire consequences on your physical and mental state. Adhering to the stress management tips in this guide can help you achieve better health and improve your quality of life.
- American Psychological Association. 2018. Stress effects on the body. [Accessed 15 November 2021]
- Anxiety & Depression Association of America. 2018. How to Calm an Anxious Stomach: The Brain-Gut Connection [Accessed 17 November 2021]
- Mind. How to manage stress. [Assessed 26 November 2021]
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