What is Stress?

Stress happens when your body is responding to a real or imaginary threat. If you sense danger, your body automatically goes to ‘stress response’ to protect you. If you are exposed to low levels of stress, you may be motivated to meet your goals and be more productive at work. If you are really in danger, stress may save your life. It gives you extra strength to defend yourself or flee. Stress sharpens your concentration and keeps you on your toes. However, there is only so much stress that your body can take. Too much of it can be dangerous. It may cause a strain in your relationships and reduce your ability to focus at work or school.

Understanding Stress-How It Affects Us

Most people go through periods of extreme stress at one point or another. It may be due to major life changes, difficult working conditions, the pressure to perform well at school, financial challenges, the death of loved ones, perfectionism, imprisonment, societal pressure, or relationship problems. In any case, it is important to learn how to manage stress. There is always a way to manage stress and restore joy into your life regardless of the cause of stress. You can change the way that stress affects you in the following ways.

Changing Your Attitude

The way you perceive things may make all the difference. If you tend to see the negative side of things and dwell on it, you may not be able to handle stress well. Embrace your challenges with a sense of humor. After all, change is inevitable.

Take Control

You should take charge of your life. If you believe that you are a victim of your environment or circumstances, you will have a hard time dealing with stress. Evaluate your situation and find out what you can change. If you cannot change anything, come up with a plan to handle your case.

Get a Strong Support Network

Associate yourself with people that you can count on when you need help. Knowing that there are people to help you get through tough times in life can give you the mental strength to get through such times. If you are isolated, you are at high risk of succumbing to stress.

Ability to Relax

Everyone needs to learn how to relax and control their emotions. You should identify activities that help you to relax when you are feeling sad, angry, or overwhelmed. It could be listening to music, going out for a walk, or sleep. Think about ways to solve the problem when you are calm. Do not use drugs to relax. They may seem to help at the moment, but they only make things worse in the end. If you do not know how to soothe yourself, you are unlikely to handle stress well.

Mental Preparation

It is wise to prepare for bad times even if they seem unlikely to come. If can, for example, prepare for tough financial times by saving some money. If, for example, you get laid off from work, you are likely to be more stressed if you do not have any savings. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, research on it. Knowing what to expect helps you to prepare.

Cognitive Symptom of Stress

Poor judgment
Unexplained anxiety
Reduced concentration span
Loss of memory
Inability to see the positive side of things

Emotional Symptoms of Stress

Depression and other mental health problems

Physical Symptoms of Stress

Reduced sex drive
Body pains
Rapid heart rate
Diarrhea or constipation
Frequent colds

Stress Solution

Everyone needs to have solutions for stress. You may be surprised to find that stress solutions are not difficult. The following are some of the ways to solve stress.

Stay Positive

When you are going through a rough patch, it may seem like things will stay bad forever. That is not always true. One of the things that cause stress is the inability to see the positive side of a situation. It is normal to worry especially when you are going through tough times. However, too much worrying leaves you with negative thoughts. It may make things seem worse than they are. If you choose to focus on the negative thoughts rather than positive ones, you increase the level of stress. Whenever you find yourself thinking of all the things that could go wrong, try to think about your ideal situation.

Be Careful With Assumptions

Assumptions soon become beliefs, and they start to affect the way you perceive yourself and life in general. Do not make assumptions of what other people are thinking about you or what is going to happen. If you do not have proof that something is happening, it is probably not. Wait until you have proof before taking any actions.

Express Your Concerns

If you feel overwhelmed or overworked, do not hesitate to express yourself. Talk to your employer or however is in charge. If specific things are contributing to stress, ask for help. You should talk to your family or friends whenever you are going through a rough patch.

Take a Stress Management Test

There are tests to determine how well you are responding to changes in your life. They help you to know whether or not you are managing stress well. Most of these tests will look into our resilience, ability to manage stress, adaptability, and emotional strength. If you fall short, you can receive suggestions for improvement.

Take a Deep Breath

It may seem like a cliché piece of advice, but it works. Take a deep breath whenever you find yourself in a stressful situation. For centuries, people have used this technique for meditation. Sit up in a chair with your feet touching the ground and take deep in and out breaths counting to three. Put your focus on the way that your lungs expand. Taking a deep breath clears your mind and helps you to relax.

Put Your Phone Down

Technology is one of the major contributors of poor mental health. Your phone may be one of the things that contribute to your stress. It is difficult to focus on resting after work if you feel obligated to respond to all messages or emails on your phone. If you send a message and the other person does not respond quick enough, you start to feel anxious or offended. Take some time away from your phone and the internet. Go out and get fresh air or enjoy nature. Do some creative with your free time. You may go out to the garden or do something artistic. In the end, you will get a sense of satisfaction and relief.

Be Present

Focus on yourself. Spare a few minutes at the end of each day to focus on your habits. Do not go through life without really seeing or feeling things. Enjoy small things like the taste, texture, look and feel of food, and the way your legs feel as you walk. It will help you to feel less tense and be more appreciative of life.