An overview on stress
Stress is the sensation of being under a great deal of anxiety. This strain will come from a variety of sources in your daily life. Extra workload, a transitional time, a family feud, or recent and current financial concerns are only a few examples. It may have a compounding effect, with each stressor piling up on top of the others. You may feel threatened or annoyed in these cases, and your body may respond with a stress response. This can result in a series of physical effects, as well as changes in your behavior and more extreme feelings. Stress has a variety of physical and emotional effects on us, of differing degrees of severity.
The main stress controlling system in the brain is called the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal axis (HPAA). This controls two main hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones are so powerful that their release in your nervous system causes a decrease in stomach acid production and digestion and a state of elevated alertness, also called ‘flight or fight mode. In this aroused state, the body is prepared for action. But sometimes you fail to take action, or even if you did but are not confident with what you did, you fall into the rabbit hole of negative self-talk, which makes you stop. In turn, the hormones in your nervous system build-up and have nowhere to go. This leads to you getting shivers, feeling nauseous, stomach-churning, easily irritated, headaches, etc.
Stress can be a very timely response. A better way to think about stress is as a reminder. Stressors are things that your brain interprets as dangers. It helps us cope or escape situations that might have been dangerous to our ancestors, such as a snarling wild dog, a speeding car, or an angry rival. It is under these particular circumstances that these reminders will have saved your ancestor’s life. So stress has evolved to protect us but in modern times we don’t face the same challenges that our ancestors used to face regularly. Thus, it is necessary to be able to manage and keep our stress under control so that it doesn’t get worse.
Why is it important to manage stress?
You put your overall well-being at risk if you live under elevated levels of stress. Stress harms both your mental and physical wellbeing. It makes it difficult to think clearly, act efficiently, and appreciate life. It can seem that there is nothing you can do to relieve stress. The payments will never stop coming, the days will never be longer, and the job and family obligations will always be demanding. However, you have much more control than you can believe.
Effective stress control allows you to free yourself from the grip that stress has on your life, allowing you to be happier, stronger, and more prosperous. The overarching aim is to live a happy life, with time for jobs, friends, rest, and fun—as well as the stamina to keep going when things get tough. However, tension control is not a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why it’s essential to try new things to see what works for you.
How to manage stress?
- Practice mindfulness
The principle of “mindfulness” has increasingly gained popularity as part of meditative and somatic approaches to mental health. Mindfulness helps achieve more than just peace of mind. It allows you to develop a deep connection with yourself, thus, allowing you to be able to control your thoughts and emotions in extreme situations. Mindfulness can be practiced in various ways. From breathing exercises to yoga or even mindful eating. It’s all about incorporating the technique into your day-to-day life to make it more beneficial to you. Once you dedicate yourself to becoming more mindful, you are on a journey of bettering yourself in more than one aspect of life.
- Talk to someone
Often, we might even realize the sort of burden we put ourselves under. Venting it out to someone could take out the negative emotions and allow us to better much lighter. Sometimes a different perspective could even help us see the situation better and get us to work more efficiently. However, if the stress breaks you, then there is nothing wrong with seeking professional help to cope with all the stress that you find yourself buried under. Therapists will be able to use techniques and strategies that will help you deal with your current stress and even prepare you to handle any upcoming future stressors as well.
- Exercise regularly
Physical exercise is important for stress management and mental health improvement. And the best part is that there are a variety of things that can help you relax. When you’re tired, waking up and exercising is usually the last thing on your mind. Physical exercise, on the other hand, is fantastic stress relief. Exercise activates endorphins, which make you feel healthy, and it can also be a good way to get away from your everyday worries. Although you’ll get the most gain from exercising for 30 minutes or more daily, it’s fine to steadily increase your fitness level. Over a day, even minor tasks will add up. The first act is to get up and move around.
- Plan your day
Knowing that you have tons of tasks and assignments to finish can be overwhelming and that could probably cause you to stress out even more. It could help a great amount if you plan out your day, divide your time into chunks to complete a particular task. This will not only help you organize your day better but also be able to get you to do them as efficiently as possible. Being prepared well in advance will give you clarity of your tasks and the urgency of completing them. Therefore, you will be able to complete as much as you can without much hassle.
- Stop and admire
When your mind is always preoccupied with all the stressors in life, you will forget to give yourself a small break. The moment you feel overwhelmed, just stop doing whatever you are doing, stop thinking about anything, and just look around. Admire where you are, be grateful for all the good, appreciate the people around you, and just breathe. Though this practice should be done regularly and in-depth to have a greeted impact, it’s perfectly okay to start somewhere small. You will be able to clear your head for just a while and that could even help boost you to get your work done without much stress eating you up from inside. The idea is to know that whatever is stressing you, will definitely pass and that you just need to give yourself a breather and have a clear head to get through.
- Understand how to deal with tension at the moment
You need a way to control your stress at that specific moment, whether you’re flustered by your daily rush hour, trapped in a tense meeting at work, or burnt out from another fight with your partner. This is where instant tension reduction comes in handy. Taking a deep breath by utilizing the senses; what you see, hear, taste, and touch, or engaging in a calming exercise are the quickest ways to relieve tension. You can easily relax and centre yourself by looking at a favourite picture, enjoying a certain perfume, listening to a favourite piece of music, tasting a piece of gum, or embracing a pet, for example. Of course, not everyone reacts the same way to each sensory experience. It all depends on experimenting and figuring out what works best for you
- Engage in activities that make you happy and relaxed
You will relieve tension in your life by taking out “me” time in addition to taking charge and maintaining a healthy outlook. Don’t get swept up in the busy life to the point that you struggle to look after yourself. Self-care is a need, not a privilege. You’ll be more able to manage life’s stresses if you schedule time for fun and relaxing daily. Make time for yourself. Make time for rest in your everyday routine. Enable no other responsibilities to interfere. This is the chance to disconnect from all obligations and re-energize. Every day, do something you love. Have time for the things that make you happy. It could be drawing a little or singing, or even watching your favourite movie while you order in for dinner.
- Understand where stress comes from
Determining the cause of stress in your life is the first step in stress control. This isn’t as simple as it might seem. Although big stressors like changing employers, travelling or getting a divorce are easy to recognize, highlighting the causes of persistent stress can be more difficult. It’s all too tempting to ignore the role that your own emotions, feelings, and habits play in your daily stress levels. If you are not able to understand, then maybe journaling each time you feel anxious, you could write down to understand what are your possible triggers and work along with that. Sure, you may be endlessly concerned with work deadlines, but it’s possible that the tension is being caused by procrastination rather than the real job demands.
- Remember that it’s okay to not be perfect
Perhaps one of the main causes why one would stress out would be the need for everything to be perfect. This could do something either by wanting to achieve optimum perfection or not having control over what’s happening. Once you can accept that many of the things in life won’t go exactly the way we intend it to and it’s okay if things go wrong. The best way to deal with it is to see what went wrong and what can be done to overcome them to avoid it again in the future. Though it is a little hard to always be practical, it is crucial to be headstrong in the game so that you don’t lose your cool. Learn to accept that things won’t always be perfect and maybe that could help reduce the stress that you feel.
- Get adequate sleep
You can find it difficult to fall asleep due to stress. Sleep deprivation can amplify the tension and lead to a vicious cycle of anxiety and insomnia. Better sleeping habits can be beneficial. This applies to your everyday life as well as the way you arrange your apartment. The importance of your bedroom in maintaining proper sleep hygiene cannot be overstated. In general, the room should be dim, silent, and cold, with a temperature of 60-65 degrees considered optimal for sleeping. Your bed has a vital part to play as well. Support, room, and, most importantly, comfort should all be features of your mattress.
Although stress is an inevitable part of life, you can not neglect it. Too much stress, if left unchecked, will lead to severe physical and mental health issues. The difficult part about stress is that it has an impact on the body’s ability to function properly. For eg, you will want to have a nutritious lunch, but if you eat it when exhausted (perhaps because you don’t have time to eat and should be working), your body won’t be able to digest and absorb all of the beneficial nutrients.
Bottom line, it is important to be able to recognize whether you are under stress and if you are, what are you doing to manage it? It can take some trial and error to find the right stress management methods. Any techniques may need to be practised as well. However, it’s important to keep searching for resources to help you cope with life’s unavoidable ups and downs safely. Maintaining a healthy level of tension is critical to your good health. It is very important to practice self-care and keep your health a priority. In doing so, you will be able to handle much more than you thought you could. You would be developing yourself wholly and even be growing into a better version of yourself.