BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI
Stress is a human emotion that is natural and affects everyone at some point in their lives. The human body is built to recognise and respond to stress. An individual’s body creates physical and mental reactions in response to changes or difficulties (stressors). It is any sort of change that produces physical, emotional, or psychological pressure. It may be caused by a variety of conditions or life events. When we encounter anything new, unanticipated which challenges our sense of self, or when we believe we have little control over a situation, it is frequently activated.
Your body’s stress reactions assist it in adapting to new conditions. A stress reaction, for example, may help your body work harder and remain awake longer if you have an important test coming up. When stresses persist without release or times of relaxation, it becomes a problem.
To some extent, everyone is stressed. We all handle stress in various ways which also has a significant impact on your wellbeing .Genetics, early life events, personality, and social and economic conditions can all influence our capacity to cope.
TYPES OF STRESS
Not all types of stress are harmful or even negative. Some of the different types of stress that you might experience include:
Acute stress: We face this type of stress in daily life it is short term and can be either positive or distressing.
Chronic stress: Chronic stress is a type of stress that appears to be never-ending and unavoidable, such as the stress of a physically demanding profession; chronic stress can also result from catastrophic events and psychological trauma.
Episodic acute stress: Acute stress that appears to be rampant and becomes a way of life, resulting in a life of constant distress, is known as episodic acute stress.
Eustress: Eustress is a thrilling and enjoyable experience. It’s a type of positive stress that can help you stay energised. It’s linked to adrenaline rushes, as when you’re skiing or rushing to reach a target.
CAUSES OF STRESS
There are numerous factors that might generate stress in one’s life. Work, economics, partnerships, parenthood, and day-to-day hassles are all common causes of stress. Workplace stress may also be detrimental to your psychological health. Workplace stress causes people to miss an average of 24 days of work each year due to illness.
Even life changes that are positive in nature such as moving to a larger house, getting a work promotion, or going on vacation can lead to stress. If you’re anxious in certain situations, you could have a hard time understanding why, or you might be hesitant to express your thoughts with others.
The fight-or-flight response, which is usually triggered by stress, is the body’s reaction to a perceived threat or danger. The fight-or-flight response, which was called for its capacity to enable us to physically fight or flee when faced with danger when is triggered in situations where both the responses are not appropriate, such as in traffic or during a stressful day at work. The relaxation reaction does not occur frequently enough in instances of chronic stress, and being in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight might harm the body.
HOW CHRONIC STRESS AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH
When you consider the influence stress has on your life, you can see the link between your mind and body. Physical health problems might arise when you are worried out about a relationship, money, or your living circumstances. It’s also true in reverse. Wellness issues, whether you have high blood pressure or diabetes, will have an impact on your stress level and mental health.
Heart attacks, arrhythmias, and even sudden death can be triggered by severe acute stress, such as being involved in a natural disaster or getting into a verbal altercation. Stress has an emotional impact as well. While mild anxiety or frustration may result from some stress, prolonged stress can lead to burnout, anxiety disorders, and depression. When under a lot of stress, your autonomic nervous system becomes overactive, which can harm your body.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Continuous activation of the stress response creates wear and tear on the body. When a person is under stress for a long term symptoms manifest themselves in the form of physical, emotional, and behavioural manifestations.
Physical symptoms of stress include:
- Aches and pains such as chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing.
- Feeling exhausted all the time or having trouble while sleeping.
- Having Headaches, High blood pressure, dizziness or shaking.
- Muscle tension or jaw clenching (Grinding teeth)
- Having various digestive problems.
- It also results in a weak immune system.
- Clammy or sweaty palms
Stress can lead to emotional and mental symptoms such as:
- Anxiety or irritability.
- Panic attacks.
- Changes in mood
Having stress for long-terms has also been related to various gastrointestinal diseases including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or stomach ulcers, as well as cardiovascular illness, according to certain studies.
Stress may originate from a variety of places, but even little everyday pressures from job, school, family, and friends can have a negative impact on your mind and body.
If you think it might be bothering you, there are a few things you can look for:
- Difficulty concentrating, worrying, anxiety, and difficulties remembering are all psychological symptoms.
- Anger, irritability, moodiness, and frustration are examples of emotional indicators.
- High blood pressure, weight fluctuations, frequent colds or infections, and changes in the menstrual cycle and libido are among physical symptoms.
- Poor self-care, not having time for the activities you like, or depending on drugs and alcohol to cope are all behavioural markers to look out for.
There is no one particular therapy for stress because it is not a separate medical diagnosis. Change the environment, improve stress coping abilities, apply various relaxation techniques and treating conditions that may have been created by chronic stress are all part of stress treatment.
Psychotherapy, medication, and complementary and alternative medicine are some of the therapies that may be beneficial.
HOW TO COPE WITH STRESS
Stress is unavoidable, but can be managed. One can take control of their health and decrease the influence stress has on life once they understand the toll it takes and how to battle it. You can’t escape stress, but you can keep it from becoming overwhelming by using the following methods on a regular basis:
Regular exercise is one of the most effective methods to calm your body and mind. Plus it will also lift your spirits. Work up to 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderately intensive activity, such as brisk walks, or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise, such as swimming laps, running, or participating in other sports. Focus on creating realistic fitness goals so you don’t give up.
- Relax Your Muscles
Your muscles stiffen up when you’re anxious. Stretching, getting a massage and other self-care activities can help loosen them up and rejuvenate your body. Taking a hot bath or shower is a great way to relax. Having a restful night’s sleep is also very important.
- Deep Breathing
Stopping and taking a few deep breaths can immediately relieve stress. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Simply take these five steps:
- Sit with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor in a comfortable posture.
- Close your eyes for a moment.
- Consider yourself in a soothing environment. It may be on the beach, in a lovely field of grass, anyplace else that helps you feel calm.
- Slowly inhale and exhale deeply.
- At a moment, do it for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Eat Well
Eating a good well-balanced, regular diet will make you feel better overall. It may also aid with mood regulation. For energy, your meals should include plenty of vegetables, fruit, healthy grains, and lean protein and make sure you don’t forget any.
- Slow Down
- 5 to 10 minutes ahead of time, set your watch. You’ll be able to arrive a bit earlier and avoid the worry of being late.
- Switch to the slow lane if you’re travelling on the highway to prevent road rage.
- Break down projects into manageable chunks. If you don’t have to, don’t try to respond to all 100 emails; instead, respond to a handful of them.
- Take a Break
To give your mind a break from stress, schedule some genuine leisure. It may be difficult for you at first if you are someone who enjoys setting objectives for the day. But if you stay with it, you’ll come to like these times. Meditation, Yoga, Tai chi, Prayer, Listening to music, and spending time in nature are all relaxing activities.
- Make Time for Hobbies
You must schedule time for activities that you like. Every day, try to do something that makes you happy, it helps you to relax. It doesn’t have to take a long time; 15 to 20 minutes would suffice. Reading, knitting, doing an art project, playing golf, watching a movie, doing puzzles, and playing cards and board games are all relaxing activities.
- Talk About Your Problems
If anything is troubling you, talking about it might help you relax. Family members, friends, a trustworthy priest, a doctor, or a therapist are all good places to start.
So, when you’re worried, pay attention to what you’re thinking or saying. Change the negative message you’re sending yourself to a positive one. Don’t tell yourself, “I can’t do this,” for example. Instead, tell yourself, “I can do this,” or “I’m doing the best I can.”
- Go Easy On Yourself
Accept that no matter how hard you strive, you will never be able to achieve everything with perfection. So, do yourself a favour and quit being hard over yourself and stop overestimating your abilities. Also, remember to retain your sense of humour. Laughter is one of the most effective ways to relax.
- Eliminate Your Triggers
Determine the main sources of stress in your life. Is it your job, your commute, or your schooling that’s the problem? If you can figure out what they are you may get rid of them or at least decrease them in your life.