Stress is an unavoidable factor in the hectic lives we have chosen to live today. It is a complex phenomenon that can be defined in many ways, but to put it simply—it refers to the wear and tear of everyday life. It is the feeling of emotional or physical tension that comes from events in your life that make you feel nervous, anxious, frustrated, or angry. Stress management is a practice that can help you healthily deal with these emotions.
Stress is our body’s natural reaction to unfamiliar environments and new challenges, making you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and afraid while you’re learning to cope. When we are stressed, our body produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that activate our immune system and trigger our fight-or-flight response. This is what keeps us safe in dangerous situations by helping us react quickly.
In most cases, this is a helpful process as it helps us push through pain or fear and perform well—for example, while giving a presentation or taking part in a marathon. The hormones usually subside after the situation has ended without any lasting issues. However, when we are constantly stressed, it can harm both our physical and mental health.
There are many external factors or stressors, that can cause prolonged periods of stress. It could be triggered by things happening in your daily life such as:
- an uncertain future,
- being under immense pressure,
- worrying about things out of your control,
- having an overwhelming amount of responsibilities,
- not having enough work, challenges or activities in your life.
Other everyday life events that could cause stress are illnesses, long-term health issues, the grief of losing a loved one, pregnancy, or becoming a parent. Going through a breakup or getting divorced, being in debt, losing your job, exams or deadlines, etc., could also create a very stressful environment. Since there might be a multitude of these big and small stressors, it’s often difficult to determine precisely what is making you feel burdened.
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The number of stress people experience will vary on many aspects—such as their perception of the situation, how experienced they are at dealing with that type of responsibility, their emotional resilience, and whether they are receiving any support. Similar to how one person differs from another, what troubles one person might not be so difficult for someone else. For example, if you are someone who struggles with public speaking, having to give a speech might be a daunting, stressful task. But if you enjoy public speaking and being the center of attention, you might enjoy giving a speech.
Stress management is increasingly essential for leading a healthy, quality life. Although it cannot be avoided entirely, we certainly can minimize the impact stress has on us by implementing a few stress management strategies.
The first step in managing stress is identifying and narrowing down the primary sources of stress in your life. While it may be easier to address and resolve significant stressors such as toxic relationships or moving houses, detecting the actual cause of your stress might prove to be a lot more complicated.
People use various techniques to reduce stress, such as daily exercise, journaling, meditation, setting goals for shorter periods, and seeking help from a therapist. Relaxation activities such as yoga, breathing exercises, and tai chi are also known to reduce anxiety and frustration significantly. A few other helpful methods would be practicing gratitude and positivity, accepting that some things are out of your control, and learning to say “no” to additional responsibilities when you are already busy.
Some of the leading lifestyle changes you could introduce are eating healthy, cutting down on smoking or alcohol consumption, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. It also helps to surround yourself with a supportive group of family, friends, and other loved ones who can offer advice and help you deal with stress better.
Stress can be a long-term or short-term problem, depending on the changes you make in your life to improve its quality. Regular practice of these stress management techniques can help you avoid the negative symptoms of stress on your health in the long run.
In our fast-paced society that prioritizes productivity over health, active stress management is becoming more and more necessary. We need to value and care for our mental and physical health to create a healthy, balanced life for ourselves. As important as work is, we should find time to rewind and spend with family, friends, and other loved ones as well. It also gives us the morale boost we need to work efficiently.
Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Management and Prevention, Cleveland Clinic
Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles
Causes of Stress, Mind UK