Are you stressed? Do you feel it’s hard to combat it? See, dealing with stress might seem to be challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Stress is nothing but the way we react when we feel under pressure. It usually occurs when we are in a situation we don’t feel we can handle/ manage. Stress can be because of the following circumstances:
- An individual having lots of responsibilities which he/ she is struggling to cope with.
- A family going through a difficult time, such as financial issues.
- Experiencing discrimination in the community or at the workplace.
There can be other reasons as well! Stress is experienced differently by everyone. For some, it is a negative emotion, while for others, it is a motivator.
Interestingly, the body’s fight or flight mechanism tells you when and how to respond to a threatening situation. However, when the body becomes triggered, many stressors are experienced simultaneously, which can undermine a person’s mental and physical health.
In this blog, we will discuss what stress is, what causes it, and how one can deal with it. Thus, if you are also dealing with stress, this blog will be helpful as we will be sharing some deep insights into the subject. So, without further ado, let us begin!
What is Stress?
Stress is the body’s natural defense against danger and other threatening situations. It causes the body to inundate with hormones and prepare its system to deal with different situations.
When humans face a challenge/ threat, the body tends to activate resources that help people stay and confront the challenge as fast as possible. The body produces larger quantities of chemicals like cortisol, epinephrine, etc. These trigger the following reactions:
- High blood pressure
- Enhanced muscle preparedness
These factors improve a person’s ability to respond to a hazardous situation and help in dealing with stress.
What causes stress?
Everyone has different stress triggers. If you are dealing with stress, the first step is knowing what causes it.
Here are some of them!
1. Work Stressors
- Being unhappy with your job
- Increased workload or too much responsibility
- Long working hours
- Poor management
- Risk of termination
- Working under hazardous situations
- Facing harassment or discrimination at work
2. Life stressors
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of job
- Moving to a new home
- Increased financial obligations
- Chronic illness
- Severe injuries
- Emotional issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, grief, or guilt
- Traumatic events such as natural disasters, theft, or violence against you or a loved one
Sometimes stress can come from inside instead of outside. For example, you can stress yourself just by overthinking or worrying about things that are beyond your reach. This can result in fear, unrealistic expectations, wrong attitude, and perceptions.
Now that you know the causes of stress, let us discuss its types.
Dealing with Stress – its types & how to cope
Psychologists typically distinguish four kinds of stress depending on how long it lasts. Therefore, it is crucial to know the type of stress you are dealing with and how to combat it. Here it is!
1. Physical Stress
Do you often feel sleep-deprived or perhaps spend hours dozing on the couch? Well, that’s because you might be dealing with physical stress. Physical stress refers to the events and physical activities that wreak havoc in your body. This includes stress caused because of oversleeping or inadequate amounts of sleep. For instance, traveling frequently or staying up late at night makes your body feel lethargic.
Ways to cope:
- Set realistic goals
- Maintain a fixed sleep schedule
- Get at least 6-7 hours of sleep
- Practice mindfulness
- Pamper yourself with a healing session
2. Emotional Stress
The pain of emotional stress can sometimes hit harder than any other kind of stress. For instance, sometimes, the stress you experience in conflicted relationships can be mentally and physically more demanding than the stress you have at your workplace.
Ways to cope:
- Listen to soothing music to relax your mind and body
- Practice meditation
- Consult a therapist
- Start journaling
- Talk to your friends or family members whom you can trust
3. Acute Stress
Acute stress comes on rather readily and often unexpectedly, thereby leading to an imbalance in your life. Even though this kind of stress doesn’t last long, it does leave you in shock for some time!
Ways to cope:
- Do breathing exercises to stabilize irregular heartbeat
- Try cognitive reframing
- Practice meditation
4. Chronic Stress
Do you experience palpitation or headache for a prolonged time? If yes, then you could be suffering from chronic stress. Along with these symptoms, you might also experience chest pain, insomnia, low energy levels, etc.
Chronic stress tends to occur daily, leaving you exhausted and drained. Once you reach the burnout phase, staying motivated and accomplishing your goals becomes challenging. Over time, chronic stress can result in a plethora of physical and mental health problems like cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, depression, anxiety, etc.
Ways to cope:
- Listen to good music
- Eat healthy & nutritious meal
- Consider therapy
- Build a robust support system of family and friends
- Go on a short trip
Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can motivate you to give your best and help you perform under pressure. But if you constantly feel overwhelmed or frazzled, then you should implement some solutions to get a grip on it.
Before we discuss the tips to overcome stress, let us first look at the common symptoms of anxiety.
Common Symptoms of Stress
Stress can influence all parts of your life, such as behavior, emotion, physical health, etc. Basically, no part of the body is immune if you have stress. In addition, there are different symptoms of stress just because people handle it differently. Here they are!
1. Emotional Symptoms
- Becoming agitated, moody, and frustrated
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having a hard time relaxing
- Low self-esteem
- Avoiding others
2. Physical Symptoms
- Low energy
- Tense muscles, aches, and pain
- Chest pain
- Rapid heartbeat
- Frequent infections
- Loss of sexual desire
- Nervousness and shaking
- Clenched jaw
- Feeling nauseous
3. Cognitive Symptoms
- Constant worrying
- Racing thoughts
- Poor judgment
- Being pessimistic
- Inability to focus
4. Behavioral Symptoms
- Changes in appetite
- Substance abuse
- Showcasing nervous behavior like nail biting, fidgeting, etc.
- Avoiding responsibilities
Tips to combat stress
These days, it is easy to get overwhelmed once in a while. You may become too stressed out and busy when juggling between work, family, and other commitments. But you need to set some time aside to unwind your mental and physical health.
Below are the tips that will help you overcome stress. Take a look!
1. Do more physical exercises
Working out is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Plus, it enhances your mood! Ensure that you work out for at least two hours, including brisk walks, swimming laps, jogging, etc.
Also, remember to focus on setting goals that you can meet. This way, you will never give up and keep doing the daily exercises!
2. Relax your muscles
When you are stressed, your muscles get stressed as well. You can try to loosen them up on your own and refresh your body by:
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Enjoying a massage
- Taking a warm bath
3. Deep breathing
Halting and taking a few deep breaths can immediately take the pressure off you. You will be astounded to see how much better you will feel once you get good at it. Follow the steps mentioned below:
- Sit in a comfortable position and place your hands on your lap.
- Close your eyes.
- Imagine yourself in a relaxing place such as a garden, beach, mountain, etc.
- Take deep breaths in and out.
- Do this for 5-10 mins every day.
4. Eat Well
Eating a healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced diet will help you feel better and might also control your moods. Ensure your meals contain vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein. And don’t skip anything!
5. Take a break
You need to plan some actual downtime to give your mind time off from stressful situations. If you are someone who likes to set goals, taking a break might seem to be challenging for you. But stick to it! Here are some restful things you can try:
- Listening to soulful music
- Spending time in nature
6. Make time for hobbies
You need to set aside time for the things you enjoy. Try to do something daily that makes you feel good. As a result, this will help you relieve stress. Make sure to spend at least 20-30 minutes doing what makes you happy! Here are some suggestions:
- Doing an art project
- Watching a movie
- Doing puzzles
- Playing cards or board games
7. Talk about your problems
If things are bothering you, talking about them can help you lower your stress. You can talk to family members, friends, therapists, or anyone you can trust and rely upon.
You can even talk to yourself. Self-talk reduces stress, but you must ensure that you speak positively. Listen closely to what you are saying to yourself while you are stressed out. If you are giving yourself a negative message, change it to a positive one. For instance, instead of saying: ‘I can’t do this’, say: ‘I am doing the best I can’.
8. Eliminate your triggers
Figure out what causes you stress and see if you are able to eliminate or reduce them.
If you can’t identify your stressors, try keeping a stress journal. Make a note of when you become most anxious and see if there’s a pattern to your stress. Then, you can follow numerous ways to reduce those triggers!
Dealing with Stress – Relax and Exhale Worry!
Stress is a recurring condition in our lives. But it shouldn’t become chronic. This is why developing good habits and implementing stress management techniques are essential to eliminate stress. Reduced/ eliminated stress results in positively impacting our health and mental well-being.
If you feel you can’t manage stress or its related symptoms, it’s best to implement the strategies mentioned above or seek professional help. So, don’t let stress get the better of you and find ways to relieve it!