When stressful events happen in our lives, the first inclination is to look outward. We pay attention to our external circumstances, then try to change them to avoid future incidents.

To handle the adversity of stress more effectively, try paying more attention to what is happening inside your body instead.

Changes happen to the body when stressful circumstances occur. It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about the state of political affairs or trying to win a championship game in your favorite sport.

Stress causes the heart to start beating faster. Your breathing becomes shallower. Adrenaline and stress hormone levels climb rapidly.

These reactions do create desirable results. It may create motivation, energy, or faster thinking. When this happens frequently, however, then physical and emotional damage may occur.

How to Begin Listening to Your Body

Mindfulness is the practice of listening to your body and the world that is around you. It is meant to be a realistic reflection of who and where you are at any given moment.

Through mindfulness, the subtle shifts which continuously occur in the body become more manageable to monitor. It gives you the chance to see that your body is reacting to stress, even if that realization hasn’t reached your mind yet.

This observation allows you to be more proactive about the stress which occurs in your life each day. When stress is left unresolved, it usually amplifies itself throughout the day. One stressful incident in the morning, for example, leads to more conflicts until you feel like you could explode emotionally.

An awareness of this pattern allows you to stop this destructive cycle. It is always easier to settle down when stress is mild compared to when you’re at a breaking point.

Start Taking Care of Yourself Today

Coping with stress means that you’re giving yourself everything needed to take care of you. That begins by eating meals that are balanced and healthy.

You’ll want to exercise on a regular basis too. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day will help your body become more resilient to stressful situations.

Sleep is an essential part of the coping puzzle. Most people require between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Some people even need a little more than that. If you’re feeling tired when you wake up and this feeling is consistent, then a chat with your doctor might be useful.

Then, when you do feel like stressful situations are bothering you, it is important to give yourself a break. Talk with other people you trust. Discuss your problem and how it makes you feel. Friends, parents, siblings, counselors, doctors, and even spiritual guides may all have unique guidance to offer in this area.

As a final step, avoid using drugs or drinking alcoholic beverages when you feel stressed out. They might provide temporary relief from your symptoms, but it will also increase your stress in the long run.

Most importantly, if your body says it needs help, then it is time to listen.