What is stress? Stress is a usual reaction of a human body towards a disturbing stimulus or a threat. A stressful situation habitually causes certain hormones to rush through the entire body such as adrenaline or cortisol triggered by a fight or flight response. In a fight or flight situation, the body prepares us to either deal with the stressful situation or run away from it. A racing heartbeat, tightened muscles, high blood pressure, quick breath, and sharpened senses as a result of the threatening situation usually enhance an individual’s focus and speed up their reaction time.
Stress is caused by a number of reasons that include:
- Relationship issues
- Work and school exertion
- Financial problems
- Life changes
- Chronic worry
- Improper sleeping and eating habits
- Inflexible thinking
- Negative self-talk and many more…
All these factors can cause either acute or chronic stress. Acute stress is the milder form of stress that every individual feels from time to time and which helps they active, alert and meet deadlines. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is long lasting and can cause harmful effects on a person’s life if not dealt with properly.
Stress can cause a number of symptoms such as behavioral, cognitive, physical an emotional. These symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Temper problems
- Memory problems
- Poor judgment
- Concentration problems
- Negative thinking
- Poor eating patterns
- Usage of drugs as self-medication
- Physical aches and pains
- Heart palpitation and much more…
As already mentioned above, acute stress can be healthy as it helps in procrastination, but sometimes it becomes quite difficult to handle chronic stress. Chronic stress has said to cause a number of harmful effects. But this type of stress can be managed in a number of ways by using different techniques. Some of these techniques are as follows:
- Relaxation Exercises: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, imagery, meditation, etc helps relax muscles, slow down breathing, stabilize heart rate and blood pressure. As our muscles usually tighten during a stressful situation and we face other symptoms such as palpitation etc, these relaxing exercises will help our body calm down and reduce stress.
- Exercise: Going for a walk, jogging, yoga, plates all these basic forms of exercise also help with stress management and muscle relaxation. It also provides distraction and increases blood flow to the brain for better reasoning and rational decisions.
- Engage Socially: Isolation is not the key to handling stress. Social contact and gathering can help distract the individual from his/her irrational and negative thoughts. Interacting with people will also help cope with stress as it aids in controlling the stressful flight or fight response.
- Journaling: Writing about the things that are bothering us Is quite helpful. Keeping a journal can prove very helpful in stress management. Writing before going to bed or taking 15-20 min out every day to document the stressful thoughts can provide a feeling of relief.
- Letting out one’s feelings: Talking to friends or someone who can understand our feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress. Talking to a professional such as a counselor or a psychologist can also aid in handling stress. Always remember to talk, laugh, cry, and express anger when you need to.
- Involve in pleasurable activities: Doing things that we like are another way of reducing stress. Getting involved in our favorite hobby to past time such as gardening, reading, horse or bike riding, going out for motives, being creative, painting, drawing, anything that helps an individual feel light should be added to an everyday to-do list as it keeps stress at its bay.
- Mindfulness: Living in the moment and appreciating what we have now and our blessings help us look with a brighter perspective. Focusing on the now helps us relax in return reduces our stress.