Woman laying in a hammock on a bluf looking out over the ocean
Print icon
share icon

Stress management techniques: 4 ways that Evidation can help

April 10, 2024
9 minutes
Lifestyle Health & Wellness

Stress management is vital to a happy, healthy life, but figuring out how to get stress under control is often easier said than done. According to a 2023 study by the American Psychological Association, Americans have recently shown increased rates of diagnoses for both chronic health conditions and mental health issues, both indicators of stress. While this information can be daunting, there are steps you can take to mitigate the effects of stress on your mind and body. At Evidation, our team is here to provide you with the personalized insights you need to get your stress under control. Here, we'll explore stress management techniques that you can use to feel your best.

Understanding stress and its effects on health

When you pay attention, you can feel the immediate effects of stress on your body. From the feeling of your shoulders tensing when you receive difficult news to the flip-flops you feel in your stomach before taking the floor for a presentation at work, stress affects both your mental and physical health.

Let's take a look at what happens to your body and brain when you're met with a stressor.

When your brain senses a stressful event, the eyes and/or the ears work together to send sensory information to the amygdala, a part of the brain that helps with processing emotions. The amygdala works to determine whether a threat is present. If danger is perceived, a distress signal is sent to the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that works as the director of many aspects of the nervous system, including involuntary functions like blood pressure, heartbeat, and breathing.

After the hypothalamus receives a distress call from the amygdala, the sympathetic nervous system – the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight response – is activated. The hypothalamus sends a message to the adrenal glands, which introduce adrenaline into the bloodstream. Adrenaline increases heart rate, pulse rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate. Alertness is increased as the eyes and ears become more sensitive. Blood sugar and fats are used for energy during this process.

After the initial surge of hormones subsides, the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands work together to activate the next phase of the stress response. If the brain continues to receive information that signals imminent danger, these organs work together to release cortisol, which allows the body to stay alert. After the threat has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system slows the stress response, allowing the body and brain's chemistry to return to normal.

When functioning properly, the body's stress response works to keep us safe. For many people, however, the brakes that are meant to stop the stress response don't work so well. This results in chronic, low-level stress that can cause a number of physical and mental health issues.

In addition to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, above-average release of stress hormones can cause problems with blood pressure, and can lead to an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Since cortisol works to help the body access energy, constant chronic stress can result in increased hunger and build up of excess adipose (fat) tissue, leading to weight gain.

Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to lower your stress levels and reduce the effects that stress has on your health.

Practical stress management techniques for everyday life

The best stress management strategies are the ones that you'll actually remember to do. It can take some time to figure out what approach to stress management is the right fit for your needs. Implementing a few strategies to manage stress each week can help you determine what works well for you and what doesn't.

Leveraging technology for stress relief: Evidation's approach

At Evidation, our team is here to provide you with the personalized insights you need to thrive, no matter what level of stress you're dealing with in your life.

Our app works to use the health data that you choose to share, as well as the information you provide us regarding your health and your goals, to help you live your best life. We're excited to work with you and use our technology to help lower your stress levels, simply by working with the data you're already tracking.

Monitoring stress levels with Evidation's health app

At Evidation, we use the health data you choose to share to provide you with articles and action items that can help you meet your health goals. By pairing with more than 20 apps, including Fitbit, Withings, Garmin, Dexcom, Apple Health, and Google Fit, we make it easy for you to get the information you need to move your health forward. We're able to use your sleep, heart rate, breathing rate, and other data that you provide to help you understand your body's response to stress.

Personalized recommendations for stress reduction

Many of our Evidation Members benefit from our stress reduction and management recommendations. Let's take a look at some of the most effective techniques our members use for managing stress.

Prioritize sleep

When it seems like your to-do list is never going to end, it can be hard to figure out how to get more sleep – but doing so is essential to your well-being. Sleep doesn't just give you a break from the stressful thoughts that may be running through your head, it can also help you recover from stress more quickly.

As we discussed, your body may go into fight-or-flight mode during times of stress, releasing hormones that can be vital for survival in times of danger. Your body perceives sleep deprivation as another type of stress, which can result in the unnecessary continual release of stress hormones.

Getting a good night's sleep is often more easily said than done, especially if you're dealing with an acute stressor that's making it hard to relax. Some people find that sleep affects their stress by making it hard to stay asleep, while others may wake up too early and find it difficult to go back to sleep. While everyone has trouble sleeping from time to time, chronic insomnia (difficulty sleeping that lasts for a month or longer) can have negative effects on your health.

Try these tips to make the most of your sleep:

  • Create the right environment for sleep. A cool, dark room is ideal for helping you get the rest you need.
  • Develop an effective bedtime routine. Stepping away from screens for an hour or so before you go to bed can help your brain prepare for sleep. Taking a warm bath or shower before transitioning into your cooler bedroom can help your body temperature take the small dip it needs to ease into restful sleep.
  • Consider cutting caffeine. For some, drinking coffee or tea late in the day can make it difficult to sleep at night. Consider lowering your caffeine intake, restricting caffeine to morning hours only, or eliminating caffeinated beverages if you're having trouble falling asleep.

Stay active

Exercise can work wonders for stress management. While it's ideal to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, shorter bursts of exercise can also help to support stress.

The benefits of getting active, even for short periods each day, include:

  • Stress reduction. Your body is better able to mitigate the fight or flight response when it gets practice during periods of physical activity. The physical effects of stress – such as damage to your cardiovascular system and a lowered immune system – can also be mitigated through exercise.
  • Endorphin boost. Endorphins are chemicals that help your brain and body feel relaxed and comfortable, and aerobic activity bumps up your brain's production of these feel-good hormones.
  • Moving meditation. Fully focusing on your workout can give your brain a break from the stressors of the day. Many people find that repetitive motion – like swimming, walking, or jogging – can help clear the mind and reduce stress.

If you haven't worked out in a while, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor about what type of exercise is the right fit for you. This is also an important step if you have certain health conditions or have experienced joint or muscular injuries in the past.

Engage in relaxation techniques

If you're dealing with stress and anxiety management struggles, adding relaxation techniques into your day can provide you with the foundation you need to function optimally.

  • Deep breathing is a simple practice that you can utilize anywhere, whether you're dealing with an acute stressor or you're simply working to lower your baseline stress levels. Many people find success with box breathing. To give it a try, breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, and then slowly release your breath over the next eight seconds. Repeat as necessary.
  • Visualization is another helpful technique that can help your mind get a break from stress. While a licensed therapist or counselor can work with you to help you develop effective visualization techniques, you can also work on visualization on your own. First, you'll think about a place that feels relaxing to you. Then, you'll use as many senses as possible to fully immerse yourself in your visualization. Notice what you can see, feel, hear, tough, and smell.
  • Meditation. There's more to meditation than simply sitting silently. Taking a few minutes to meditate can help you allow thoughts to flow freely through your mind, without having to pay attention to stressful or painful issues that arise. Focusing on a word, feeling, or your breathing can allow both your mind and body to get the break they need to handle stress effectively.

Practice time management

Avoiding burnout can be tough if you're in a stressful job or family situation, and using sound time management practices can help to ensure that you're finding the time necessary for self-care.

Just getting started with improving how you manage your time? Try these tips to get a good idea of how you can manage your time more effectively:

  • Audit your time. It's easy to get to the end of the day and feel like you weren't able to get much accomplished, even though it felt like you never stopped moving or working. Conducting an audit of your time can help you find areas where you can utilize your time more wisely. Try to reserve judgment as you conduct your time audit. Simply take the information for what it is, and look for places where you can change your approach and use your time more effectively.
  • Consider implementing the Eisenhower Matrix. While this tool sounds complicated, it's anything but. The Eisenhower Matrix involves splitting all of your tasks for the day into four quadrants: important and urgent, important but not urgent, urgent but not important, and not important and not urgent. Organizing your daily tasks this way can provide you with a simple visual that can help to effectively plan your day.
  • Chunk your time. The Pomodoro method is a popular time management technique that can be used to help you stay on track as you work through work and personal tasks. You'll need a timer (your cell phone works). Work for a 25-minute interval, then take a 5-minute break. After you go through this cycle four times, you'll take a 15-30 minute break to refocus. Many people find that this method of working helps to ease mental fatigue and boost concentration.

At Evidation, we're here to help you live your best life

Stress is unavoidable, and having the right coping strategies in your stress management tool kit can help you live your best life. At Evidation, our app offers valuable tools to help you track your stress levels and receive valuable insights that help you manage your stress, instead of letting your stress manage you. Empower yourself by downloading our app today.

Evidation on Apple App StoreEvidation on Google Play Store
Download app