‘Stress’ is being the most common word today, since we live in a fast-paced world. People are most likely to be familiar with this term. Many of us may also know how stress feels like. But what exactly is stress? How does it happen? And how to deal with stress is quite important here. Stress Management is key.
What is Stress and how it is caused?
“Stress is caused by being here, but wanting to be there”- Eckhart Tolle
We are busy running after too many things at a time and never satisfied with what we have. That’s how stress originates. We often feel overwhelmed with so many responsibilities, multiple roles that we play, timelines and unmet expectations.
Stress is our body’s response to any perceived situation of danger. As soon as we recognize risk, the little control tower in the brain ‘hypothalamus’ commands our adrenal glands to release the stress hormone called ‘Cortisol’ in our bloodstream.
We must have noticed that surge of energy in our body when we confront something beyond our control, the body temperature begins to rise, heart rate and blood pressure increases, our breath quickens, and muscles tighten. It happens because of ‘Cortisol’ which actually prepares us to act in that emergency situation and speeds up the reaction time by giving that extra strength. In other words, it triggers the response mechanism in our body.
A little stress is always good since it has helped in keeping the ‘fight’ instincts alive. However, continuous exposure to stress is not good at all. Stress accumulated in longer times can be so bad as to disturb the body’s internal balance, leading to serious health problems and the consequences are irreversible.
Stress Management- How is Stress harmful?
Most of the time we don’t realize that chronic stress can be so harmful and can directly disrupt the functioning of our various organs. However, there is enough evidence available to prove that.
It can cause hypertension, diabetes, digestion issues, asthma and eventually lead to cardiovascular diseases. It can weaken the immune system, cause weight management issues and speed up the aging process. It tends to affect differently in each body.
The very early signs are it starts reflecting in a person’s behavior, the ripple effect of stress doesn’t let a person engage in healthy behavior and leaves them prone to depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
- Anxiety and Mood Swings
- Withdrawing from others
- Difficulty in Weight Management
- Sleep Issues/Insomnia
- High Blood Pressure
- Skin Allergies
- Frequent Headaches
- Reproductive Issues
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Mood Swings
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Difficulty in Remembering/ Concentration
- Hair Fall
- Gastrointestinal Problems
- Body Aches
- Negativity and Constant Worrying
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Auto-Immune Diseases
Stress Management – 5 Powerful Ways to Reduce Stress
Now, because we know about the immense damage that stress can cause, it’s quite important to know how much stress is ‘too much’ for you since this ‘too much’ varies from person to person. Awareness is the key here.
Some people are just able to roll through life’s hardships easily, whereas there are others who tend to fall apart ahead of small obstacles and problems. That’s beyond control, but identifying the symptoms in time and taking prompt actions against can really help save from a setback.
Here are 5 ways to deal with stress-
Any kind of physical activity/ exercise can really help fight stress easily. When we exercise, endorphins are released in our bodies. These are nothing but the feel-good hormones that uplift the mood by reducing pain and boosting pleasure immediately and can help combat stress in an effective manner.
Take out time from your busy schedule and engage yourself in a good exercise routine. You can go for walking, running, swimming, dancing anything that you tend to enjoy doing. Yoga and meditation can help a lot. The benefits are tremendous if you exercise regularly.
Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude
Mindfulness is a simple art of fetching your attention to the present moment and getting a feel of what’s happening with and around you, with an active state of mind, without any distractions or worries of the past and the thoughts of the future.
This can be practiced in various ways as mindful breathing, mindful eating, mindful appreciation. Experiencing Gratitude It can help to alleviate stress by making you calm and less reactive to situations that are not in direct control.
By practicing mindfulness regularly, it onsets the positivity by generating thoughts of acceptance and gratitude and can immensely help in controlling anger and discontent, making you more alive, joyful and vibrant.
Eat a healthy Diet
The kind of food we eat has a direct impact on our thoughts and mood and can really affect the ability to deal with the stressors in life. Following a discipline of healthy eating habits can really keep you on track to manage stress effectively.
Start your day with the right breakfast, keeping your energies up throughout the day with the right mix of nutritious and balanced food. Keep yourself enough hydrated and reduce the intake of sugar, caffeine and other comfort foods that are going to worsen the symptoms of stress.
A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, omega 3 fatty acids and healthy proteins can help you deal with stress in a better way. Avoid taking alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs because they are going to give you only temporary solutions.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is an important aspect of your healthy self care routine; it can help by keeping stress at bay. Get a good sleep of 8 hours in a day and replenish your energies well. You will feel more competent and focused after a good night’s sleep.
Chronic stress can hamper your sleep routines, by causing difficulty in falling asleep, or staying asleep at night but there are plenty of ways you can improve your sleep with. Regular exercising routine can really help improving the quality of sleep.
Connect more- Take a Time Out
Nothing can be more helpful in fighting off any difficulty in life than having a bunch of close friends around. A quality time spent- in person- with your favorite people, who listen to you and relate and understand well, can anyway counteract any kind of stress and anxiety in life.
So make that a point to take some time off your schedule and plan a quick get together of family or with friends to get your extra dose of strength and laughter. To become more resilient in life, it is important to build and maintain a network of dear friends.
Remember, the stress is not caused by the situation, but the way you respond to that stressful event. You can always learn to control stress by avoiding the known stressors and by following some healthy routines to move you back into energy, vitality and overall well being.
Have a Happy and Stress-Free Life … 🙂