Is it an important meeting deadline that has given you days of sleepless nights, the unsettled bills that decorate your table tops or just the nasty issues of life?
In diverse ways we have all been exposed to situations that leave us very stressed, questioning everything in our lives.
Stress, however, is not always entirely evil. In short and small doses, it pushes us to increase productivity. It helps us avoid some forms of danger, keeps us alert and motivated.
The problem originates when this goes on for a protracted period of time, affecting our general well being and overall quality of life. Most of the deadly diseases we are currently scared of start with stress, making it very essential that we learn how to manage stress.
Meaning and Causes of Stress
So, what is stress?
Stress is basically our body’s reaction to any change that pushes us out of our comfort zone. This leads to an adjustment either physically, mentally or emotionally.
The human body has an in-built stress response (fight or flight response) which involves hormone release, and causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations.
However, due to some harsh everyday occurrences mostly beyond our control such as, painful divorce, academic or work load, death of a loved one, etc., this response can become chronically activated during prolonged periods of stress.
The prolonged activation of the stress response leads to gradual deterioration of our body – both physically and emotionally.
What are the effects of Stress?
If this stress continues without relief, the body’s internal balance is disturbed and can lead to some signs and symptoms such as headaches, stomach upset, reduced immunity, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, sexual dysfunction, heart diseases, diabetes, insomnia, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.
There are some cardinal signs you must look out for which may show you are stressed. These include; forgetfulness, changes in bowel movement, frequent headaches, lack of energy and focus, weight gain or loss as well as sleeping problems.
How To Manage Stress
As earlier on pointed out, stress is part of everyday life. We just have to learn how to manage it so we get the best out of ourselves. Some people try to nub stress by engaging in harmful escapades or use of substances.
The use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, sex, shopping, and the internet rather than relieving the stress and relaxing the body, tend to keep the body in a stressed state which can cause even more problems.
The distressed person then becomes trapped in a vicious circle. There are healthier and happier ways to manage stress so don’t fall into this trap.
Some of the ways to ensure a stress-free life include;
- keeping a positive attitude
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Making time for leisure activities and the people in your life
- Making a detailed plan of activities and managing your time.
If you notice a particular person or situation that stresses you, make efforts to eliminate them from your life. No matter what you do, there are certain things whose outcomes you can never alter.
So, learn to accept those situations, focus on the bigger picture, and move through life with renewed energy. Whenever you feel stressed, you can talk to someone you trust about it or see a psychologist when the emotions become too overwhelming.