Stress – Knowing is half the battle

Stress and worry, they solve nothing. What they do is block creativity. You are not even able to think about the solutions. Every problem has a solution. Susan L. Taylor

What is stress?

As per definition stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.

Types of Stress

According to American Psychological Association (APA), there are 3 different types stress — acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress. The 3 types of stress each have their own characteristics, symptoms, duration, and treatment approaches.

Stress management can be complicated because each of the 3 different types of stress can present as single, repeated, complicated, or chronic. Therefore, they require different levels of treatment interventions, management, and psychological treatment modalities due to the nature of the person’s environment, lifestyle, developmental history, coping resources, and personality.

Acute stress. This is short-term stress that goes away quickly. You feel it when you slam on the brakes, have a fight with your partner, or ski down a steep slope. It helps you manage dangerous situations. It also occurs when you do something new or exciting. All people have acute stress at one time or another.

Episodic acute stress. People who frequently experience acute stress, or whose lives present with frequent triggers of stress, have episodic acute stress.

The individuals who frequently suffer acute stress often live a life of chaos and crisis. They are always in a rush or feel pressured. They take on many responsibilities, and usually can not stay organized with so many time demands. These individuals are perpetually in the grips of acute stress overload.

Chronic stress. This is stress that lasts for a longer period of time. You may have chronic stress if you have money problems, an unhappy marriage, or trouble at work. Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is chronic stress. You can become so used to chronic stress that you don’t realize it is a problem. If you don’t find ways to manage stress, it may lead to health problems.

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Causes of Stress

There are many things that can lead to stress. Throughout the history death of a loved one, divorce/separation, losing a job and unexpected money problems are among the top ten causes of stress. Recent years major cause of stress are unrealistic money or wealth expectations and work-related stress are top of the charts.

What is work-related stress?

As per WHO,

Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.

Stress occurs in a wide range of work circumstances but is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues, as well as little control over work processes.

There is often confusion between pressure or challenge and stress and sometimes it is used to excuse bad management practice.

Pressure at the workplace is unavoidable due to the demands of the contemporary work environment. Pressure perceived as acceptable by an individual, may even keep workers alert, motivated, able to work and learn, depending on the available resources and personal characteristics. However, when that pressure becomes excessive or otherwise unmanageable it leads to stress. Stress can damage an employees’ health and the business performance.

Signs of too much Stress

Stress can cause many types of physical and emotional symptoms. Sometimes, you may not realize these symptoms are caused by stress. Here are some signs that stress may be affecting you:

·        Diarrhea or constipation

·        Forgetfulness

·        Frequent aches and pains

·        Headaches

·        Lack of energy or focus

·        Sexual problems

·        Stiff jaw or neck

·        Tiredness

·        Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

·        Upset stomach

·        Use of alcohol or drugs to relax

·        Weight loss or gain

How to Deal with stress

As we now know that stress is an integral and unavoidable part of human life, we can’t avoid stresses from our lives but we need to master the Stress management techniques so that the stresses do not cause harm to us. Below listed are some of the most effective stress management techniques.

Accept and Identify the Issue

First step towards the journey of stress management is to accept that we are going through the low phase, where the stress periods are prolonged and impacting our normal working. Once it is realized the problem is on the plate we need to understand the source of it. It’s all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels. You may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress. So understanding the real cause of the stress is also among the most important step of Stress management.

Increase your Physical activities

Being physical is one of the best stress booster. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health. Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good.

Exercising doesn’t just mean doing sport or going to the gym. Walks in the park, gardening or housework can also keep you active. Experts say most people should do about 30 minutes’ exercise at least five days a week. Try to make physical activity that you enjoy a part of your day.

Pounding weights in a gym or jogging on a treadmill isn’t everyone’s idea of a great time. But you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of being more active. Take a walk at lunchtime through a park, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, throw a Frisbee with a dog, dance to your favourite music, play activity-based video games with your kids, cycle or walk to an appointment rather than drive.

Relax your Mind & Body

Sound sleep is one of the most important thing for incarnating the mental health and is another powerful stress buster. Sleep restores both your mind and body. Your immune system repairs itself, and your brain rests and recharges while you sleep. Without enough good sleep, your system doesn’t function as well as it should. A large body of research has shown that sleep deprivation also has a significant effect on mood.

Try to go to bed at a regular time each day, and practice good habits to get better sleep. These include shutting down screens at least an hour before bed, using your bed only for sleep or relaxing activities, and limiting caffeinated drinks to the morning hours.

Practice Meditation-which come in many variations-has long been acknowledged as a tool to master the mind and cope with stress. Science is increasingly validating those claims, especially for depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Over 600 research studies on one form of meditation, Transcendental Meditation, indicate the positive effects of this stress reducing technique.

Yoga and meditation are described separately, but it should be recognized that meditation is an integral part of yoga and difficult to separate out.

Stand up & seek for support

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. In fact, input from a caring professional can often help to motivate us to do more for ourselves than we’re able to do alone.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, not a weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.

Manage your stress well and live a joyful happy life.

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