What is Stress?
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What is Stress?
Stress is our body's coping mechanism and a way of protecting itself from harm. In everyday language, stress is a feeling of being under too much mental, physical or emotional pressure.
Stress can result from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is a natural body reaction to a particular challenge or demand. In a brief span, stress can be positive, such as can help fight the danger or meet a deadline. However, a prolonged period of stress can, on the contrary, harm your health.
When stressed, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It is often known as a "fight or flight" response, and once such a situation subsides, the body's hormonal levels return to normal.
However, too much of anything never does any good! It can often lead to ruining health and relations.
Stress is often termed a 'silent killer' and the root cause of multiple diseases, especially heart disease. But in some cases, pressure is good for us and even helps us respond to certain situations in life Scientists and psychologists often refer to this good stress as eustress.
Types of Stress:
The stress definition can be categorised into two types –
Acute Stress: Acute stress is short-term stress that often goes away quickly.
Examples of acute stress could be – when you argue with someone, accidentally skip a stair, and so on. Acute stress helps you manage dangerous situations and occurs when you do something new or exciting. Everyone experiences acute stress at one time or another.
Chronic Stress: Chronic stress lasts for a more extended period. Unlike acute stress, chronic stress lasts longer and may arise when one has money problems or trouble at work.
However, chronic stress might not become a hindrance until you realise it is a problem. But, in the long run, if you don't find ways to manage stress, it may lead to serious health problems.
What are the causes of stress?
Countless things cause stress. You might feel stressed because of any significant event that’s going to come or because of something you did before, and its result might be revealed soon or due to a series of small things that keep on piling up.
You may experience stress due to –
Taking any important future decision
Experiencing violence, discrimination, hate or abuse
Feeling high pressure
Constantly worrying about something
Not indulging in enough work, activity or change in your
Dealing with uncertainty
Not having control over a particular situation
In such conditions, the body releases stress hormones, making the brain more alert, causing your muscles to tense up, and increasing your pulse (which might end up in palpitation).
Conditions of acute stress are good though, but chronic stress may lead to health problems, including –
High Blood Pressure
Depression and anxiety
In case you are already dealing with health conditions, chronic stress can even make it worse.
What are the signs of stress?
At times, stress cannot be identified, like fever or headache. Here are some common and excessive signs of stress and stress symptoms that might be affecting you –
Diarrhoea or constipation (upset stomach)
Lack of energy and focus
Frequent and sudden aches, pains or cramps
Stiffness in the neck or jaw
Tiredness and fatigue
Dependence on alcohol or drugs
How to reduce stress?
Stress management is crucial.
You can combat stress in several ways. You can begin by developing a routine that helps you lessen your tension. You can short brisk walks to your routine and get some physical exercise or massage. You can either try a hot cup of coffee or chocolate or go for a long warm shower.
There are numerous ways to de-stress. Here are five ways to de-stress –
Small things matter –
Take care of small things, and respect yourself and your body. Do small things that make you feel good about yourself and put you in a better mood. Eat healthily, and reduce your junk, caffeine, and sugar intake. Take some time off yourself and focus on things that make you happy. You can also revisit old hobbies; if you don’t have any, create one!
Opt for natural methods –
Meditating daily, even for a few minutes, is a great way to relieve stress. You can also do some aroma therapy or conduct meditation sessions in new and open spaces.
Don’t indulge in negative self and overthinking –
Life is full of ups and downs; sometimes, things might get super messy. But not indulging in negative self-talk and overthinking is a superpower. Let things flow their flow; every problem comes with a solution. Just focus on things that you can control – your reaction, behaviour, actions, and emotions.
Try to read books for at least 30 minutes a day –
Too much screen time can also increase your stress. If you start reading for 30 minutes to read each day, you can complete 33 books in a year! Besides, it will boost your imagination and add characters or thought space to your life. Reading is an excellent way of de-stressing.
Get some physical exercise daily –
Getting regular physical exercise will not only help you to stay in shape but will also help your mind to fight stress. The body gives an endorphin boost – a good mood hormone when busy with diligent work.
You can have some de-stress stretches, practice yoga, or learn tai chi to relax and unwind your body and mind.
However, seek medical guidance if these small tricks don’t yield good results. If you’re struggling with stress, don’t hide or keep it to yourself. There’s wrong with seeking help. You can speak to your doctor or visit a therapist. You can even encourage others to do so.