Stress is a part of our life now and rather than think of ways to escape from it we need to find the best coping mechanism that woks for us. What works for your friend may not be the best option for you. So how manage limit our stress depends a lot on what our individual stressors are and how we react to them.
Stress does indeed have a very harmful effect on our health and often results in debilitating diseases like diabetes and hypertension. These conditions feed off stress and anxiety thereby becoming part of a vicious cycle.
Analyze how stress affects you and when you feel vulnerable the most. Has stress become a part of your daily life, and integral to your work life?
Here we try to help you understand stress and work out ways to manage it. A better awareness about stress factors affecting your life will help you reduce the impact it has on your life. Here are a few tips:
Why Do We Feel Stressed?
There are many reasons why we feel stressed. Your son’s impending birthday bash and the related organizational chores may be stressful, or you may get stressed about rising violence and terror activities across the world. You may get sweaty palms when your boyfriend proposes to you out of the blue or when you make an exciting discovery in grandmother’s dusty attic!
The Beneficial Stress
Stress is not all bad, and in many forms it can be extremely beneficial. Sudden stress triggers the ‘fight or flight response’ in our body that can help us take on-the spot action to save ourselves. This natural response can help us jump out of the path of a speeding car and increase our reaction time to help avoid dangerous situations. The fight or flight reaction is an aftereffect of a flood of steroid hormones that is released in our body when faced with a highly stressful situation.
Stress can sometimes push us to perform at our best and at the peak of our abilities. An upcoming exam or an important presentation at work can increase our stress and tension. But it also helps us rise to an occasion and put in all the hard work necessary to succeed. There is such a thing as “good stress.”
“Good stress” is technically called “eustress” or positive stress which is essential for human beings to improve physically, mentally and emotionally. Beneficial stress allows us to expand and improve our capabilities.
What Is Harmful Stress?
The pressure to perform or constant and rising demands on an individual can sometimes result in harmful and extremely stressful situations. In such cases, the affected person may feel helpless, lost and depressed. The inability to cope can also lead to loss of self-worth, poor performance at work or in studies and dysfunctional relationships. An additional consequence of stress is an increasingly unhappy home life and rippling effects on other family members.
It is important that you speak to someone you trust or seek medical help if you feel as though you are unable to handle your stress. There are many ways out there to reclaim your life and stop the suffering.
We also experience stress in other circumstances, and it can be all consuming when faced with life altering events like the death of a loved one or a pet, divorce or a move to foreign country or culture. In most cases this stress gradually diminishes with time. But many people continue with the grieving and slowly the pain becomes a part of their being.
Inability to get back into their groove is often felt by people who have lost a loved one. But you need to keep faith and a positive mindset. Spend as much time as possible outdoors and with friends. Do not shun social activities and do not decline opportunities to go out and have some fun. Realize that the void the death has left behind never completely heals, but do not let it consume your happiness. There are many people who need you and enjoy your company, so do not cut yourself away from them.
Despite the best efforts, very often, stress creeps into our lives and becomes a part of everyday routine. It drags down our enthusiasm, interest and liveliness, and makes everyday life difficult. It will affect all aspects of your life including mood, health, social life and overall wellbeing.
How Does Stress Affect Our Health?
Stress affects different parts of our body In a Profound Manner Stress is the emotional, physical or mental response of our body to a change. Stress is the answer to the change or the adjustment made by the body in order to accommodate the change.
A lot of changes take place in our body when we are under stress. The central nervous system (CNS) puts the body in the ‘flight or fight’ mode. Heart pumps at a faster rate and there is increased blood and oxygen supply to cells and tissues. Blood vessels constrict leading to higher blood pressure, and redirects more blood and oxygen to the brain and heart.
Sustained stress will disrupt the normal working of the heart and cause hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. High stress also increases the vulnerability to heart attack. Respiratory health gets affected when the heart is over-worked leading to breathing problems and aggravation of conditions like asthma.
Our digestive system also goes for a loop when faced with extreme stress and tension. Adrenaline and cortisol hormones result in increased sugar production in the liver. High sugar level in the blood will make us more vulnerable to Type 2 diabetes.
Heartburn and acid refluxes are other side effects of stress. Nausea, diarrhea or constipation, and stomach cramps may also result from acute stress.
In addition to these effects, long-term stress can also cause irrevocable damage to the reproductive, muscular and immune systems.
Some Simple Ways to Cope with Stress
It is not necessary that you always need medical intervention to deal with stress.
Simple lifestyle changes can set you on a path of recovery and well-being. Give up harmful lifestyle habits like heavy drinking and smoking. They are harmful in more ways than one and can be invitation for several illnesses.
Exercise regularly and take good care of yourself. Love your body and ensure you give it the regular TLC it deserves.
Eat healthy and wean yourself away from junk food and high-calorie fatty diet. Also, ensure that you cook as much as possible and stay away from unhealthy take-out food.
Invest in relationships and build lasting bonds with people you care for. Call up family and loved ones far away, and do visit them whenever possible. Go out with friends and make sure that you mindfully connect with others. A robust social network can save you from several ills including stress.
Stress is a part of our life and there is very little happening in the world around us to assuage it. Make sure that you take all necessary steps to protect yourself from harmful stress and tensions, and be proactive in your approach. A health body and a fit mind can keep stress at bay, and minimize its effects. So get started right away to win the battle against stress.
George Catlin founded Withdrawal Ease due to his own struggle with opiate dependency following a surgical procedure in 2007. He has written The Opiate Withdrawal Survival Guide and created a nutritional supplement system specifically formulated to reduce the acuity of opiate withdrawal. Check out his about page on his blog for the whole story.