“Stress” we all deal with it almost everyday. Stress is the feeling we have when we are under pressure. We generally use the word “stress” when we feel that everything seems to have become too much – we are overloaded and wonder whether we really can cope with the pressures placed upon us. Whether it arises from our jobs, family life, misunderstanding with friends, a relationship problem or finance problems stress is there. While a little stress is good for us, allowing us to grow physically and mentally but excessive and chronic stress is harmful. Excessive stress can even lead to tension headaches and other health problems that limit your function at work place, at education and in your relationships also.
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper.
Causes of Stress:
Both internal and external factors are causes for stress. The most common causes of stress are-
|Common External Causes Of Stress:|
|1. Major life changes
2. Work or school
3. Relationship difficulties
4. Financial problems
5. Being too busy
6. Children and family
|Common Internal Causes Of Stress:|
|1. Chronic worry
2. Negative self-talk
3. Unrealistic expectations
5. Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
6. All-or-nothing attitude
Stress Can Be Helpful Sometimes:
When stress is within your comfort zone, it can help you to motivate you to do your best, stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can give you extra strength to defend yourself. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. Stress is what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV.
However beyond your comfort zone, stress can start causing major damage to your mind and body. It can damage your mood and relationships, and lead to a host of serious mental and physical health problems. The trouble is that modern life is so full of frustrations, deadlines, and demands that many of us don’t even realize how stressed we are. By recognizing the symptoms and causes of stress, you can take the first steps to reducing its harmful effects and improving your quality of life.
Now a day stress is mostly found in students and people who are doing jobs especially in private companies. Strict routine and huge syllabus causes stress among the students. For office people work pressure, targets or deadlines are main causes of stress. People become very busy these days, so they don’t get enough time for their family and loved ones. That is why relationship problems arise and these problems lead to stress.
Health Problems Caused By Stress:
These are some common physical and mental health problems caused by stress-
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight problems
- Auto immune diseases
- Reproductive issues
- Pain of any kind
- Heart disease
- Digestive problems
- Sleeping problems
- Cognitive and memory problems
Top 10 Ways To Reduce Stress:
Here are top 10 ways to deal with stress or reduce stress-
- Identify the causes of stress: Make sure you understand why you become stressed so that you can try to avoid those circumstances. For example, suppose you regularly get stressed at a certain time with a certain person, go out of your way to prepare your brain for the upcoming stress. If the person is someone you love and trust, tell them how they make you feel. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your problems, remind yourself that this occasion lasts for few minutes, the feeling will pass, and you’ll be in complete control soon. When you know that you are going to face a stressful situation, rehearse how you are going to handle it. Picture yourself overcoming it successfully. Create a mental videotape that you can play over and over in your mind.
- Address stressful situation positively: Instead of avoiding or putting off dealing with your stressors, why not face them directly? Though you may not be able to single-handedly eliminate all of the things that are stressing you out, you may be able to tackle them to some degree and most importantly, prevent them from worsening and having increasingly adverse effects on your mental and physical well-being.
- Think positively: Become a positive thinker and to take more pleasure in your everyday interactions. Psychologists have shown that optimists and pessimists often face the same setbacks and challenges but the optimist copes with these in a better manner. Think everyday about 3 small things that you are grateful for; this will help remind you of all of the positive elements of your life even when you’re feeling stressed. Positive thinking can help you keep a strong mental health.
- Discard negative thinking: Acknowledge the positive in your life and begin to re-establish some balance in your emotional register. Avoid focusing on only the bad things that happened during your day, but consider the good as well. Write down even the simplest things that you have and enjoy. Acknowledge that not everyone has these things. Say something positive to yourself as soon as you wake up every morning. This will keep your energy and mind focused on positive thinking. Be thankful for each day that you have; you never know which one could be your last.
- Relax Your Mind and Laugh more: Relaxing your body is a great way to reduce stress. Don’t expect your stress to immediately dissipate; it can take time. In most cases, try not to fixate on the stress itself while you’re relaxing. Think of something placid and tranquil, or think of nothing in particular. Let your body tell your mind that everything is okay.
Laughing has been proven to reduce stress. Smiling can improve your mood and make you feel happier. Make laughter a bigger part in your life and you see the results.
- Get organized: Set goals for what you need to achieve during the day, then write a “to do list”. Add some breathing room in the middle of the day that will give you time to recharge. Taking control of your time and priorities will significantly decrease the amount of stress you feel.
- Surround yourself with positive people: This is one of the most important things to surround you by positive people. Your friends will try to understand what you’re going through, and will accompany you with a sincere desire to help out if at all possible. Seek out positive people rather than negative ones. It sounds quite weird but it is not. Surrounding yourself with people, who are fun-loving, excited, and kind will help you avoid the stress you’d be feeling with pessimistic, cynical, mean people.
- Do things you love to do: Often when you’re stressed, you can look at your schedule and see that you are lacking time for doing your favorite activities. Whether that is drawing, writing, reading, playing sports or cooking, set aside time on a daily basis to do those things you enjoys. Try picking up a new hobby to help you relieve your stress. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to dance or swim, then do it! Learning something new will take your mind off of whatever is bothering you, and give you a new hobby to enjoy.
- Practice meditation and exercise: A healthy body contains a healthy mind. Make exercise and meditation a part of your daily life. Although you could technically consider yoga also as your daily exercise, practicing the deep stretches and slow body movements will help you to clear your mind. Meditating will be clearing your mind – while practicing gentle yoga will give double the relaxation effect to ease your stress.
Regular exercise goes a long way toward freeing your body of stress hormones and increasing your feelings of happiness. Find out time during your busy day to exercise to both keep your body healthy and as a natural outlet for your stress. You should notice the differences with in few weeks.
- Maintain healthy lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle is essential for removing stress and have a strong mental health. Give your body the sleep it wants, and your stress levels will go down. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body will use stress to keep you active and alert in the absence of stored energy. Most adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Young children and older adults need more, about 9-10 hours of sleep per night.
Your body needs to be healthy, strong, happy and properly fueled diet to help you tackle stress. You need to eat three meals a day. Eating healthier food regularly will improve your mental and physical state. Do not skip meals; specially the breakfast. Add more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Reduce sugary food and unhealthy junk food. Eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein every day.
Here is a bonus tip also…
- Take some deep breaths: When your body enters “fight or flight mode,” your sympathetic nervous system can seriously mess with your breathing. You may find it difficult to breathe when you’re stressed, but it’s important to focus on taking some long and deep breaths. This will restore oxygen to your body and decrease lactate in your bloodstream, making you feel more calm and relaxed. Inhale slowly through your nose. Aim to breathe in for a 4-count if you can. You should feel your belly expand along with your chest as you inhale: this is diaphragmatic breathing. Hold the breath for 1-2 seconds. Then, slowly exhale through your nose or mouth. Aim to exhale for a 4-count if you can. Repeat this process 6-10 times per minute for a few minutes.
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