How To Cope With Stress
If you experience symptoms of stress, taking the proper steps to manage it could have many health benefits. Effective coping strategies include:
- Spending time with family and friends
- Practising calming techniques, such as yoga, deep breathing or tai chi
- Exercising regularly
- Getting an adequate amount of sleep
- Setting aside time for hobbies or relaxing activities, such as listening to music or reading a book
In todays fast-paced world, stress is common but your mind and body can pay a steep price if it is not kept in check. Handling stress correctly may help you feel happier and healthier in the long run. To learn more ways that stress can affect your overall health.
Dr Jeena Devasia, DDS, earned her undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University . She has participated in multiple Mission of Mercy projects and is a dentist at McLean DDS.
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Mental Stress: What You Need To Know
In earlier centuries, stress was merely a reaction to life-threatening circumstances such as the attack of a saber-toothed tiger. Nowadays, you feel stress much more often and in situations that are nowhere near life-threatening.
The bodys response, however, is the same, you are put into fight-or-flight mode. It is useful in some situations. But if it happens every day, it can have a strong negative impact on your psyche. Chronic stress is, for example, a major risk factor for developing depression.
In a stressful situation, our body releases the stress hormone cortisol. It keeps you awake and can lead to sleep disorders. In turn, sleep disorders also increase your risk of developing depression.
Since your body is in a supposed escape situation, it also signals to your psyche that you should feel fear. Over time, this can lead to a chronic anxiety disorder or panic attacks.
Your libido also reacts negatively to stress. You may ultimately lose your lust.
Constant stress can also lead to chronic fatigue. It, in turn, leads to a lack of drive. You are also much more irritable.
This tiredness also affects your mental performance. People who are stressed have difficulty concentrating and often have memory problems.
Chronic fatigue syndrome or burnout is also a severe psychological consequence of constant stress.
Excessive Fear Of The Unknown
Fear is a good thing. It is an adaptive mechanism that humans have to cope with in the midst of threatening situations. But suppose an individual is unable to handle it. In that case, excessive fear can generate unwanted defense reactions. It can lead to germ aversion . Another negative result of fear is the unfair treatment of the people with the COVID 19 virus.
Management and understanding of fear in the context of the pandemic must be observed. Start building up your social connections and receive comfort from your social supports. Allow yourself to share your concerns with people who have your best interest and feel safe.
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Plasticity And The Brain: The Bodys Recovery System
Plasticity, or neuroplasticity, refers to the ways that neural pathways are able to re-form in the brain. Its true that these pathways like the one between the hippocampus and the amygdala can get severely damaged due to constant exposure to stress, but such changes are not necessarily permanent. While stress can negatively affect the brain, the brain and body can recover.
Young adults, especially, are able to recover from the effects of stress, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . Age has a direct correlation with the reversibility of stress-related damage. Its much more difficult for older adults to regain or create new neural pathways than their younger counterparts.
Thats not to say all hope is lost for older adults. PNAS points out that interventions, or activities that combat stress wear-and-tear on the brain, are effective regardless of age. Interventions including activities like exercising regularly, socializing and finding purpose in life enable plasticity.
It can seem like stress is an inevitable part of life, but chronic stress can have real and significant consequences on the brain. Understanding these effects and how to combat them can help promote overall health.
How Perception Impacts Mental Health
Its easy to blame a toxic work environment, cluttered house, or rainy weather for your deteriorating mental health. But sometimes, your perception of the environment contributes just as much to how you feel.;
If youre not in a position to change something about your environment, its critical that you work on reframing the beliefs you have about it.;
Trying to find appreciation in the environment, even if it’s one positive thing can help reframe your thoughts about your environment, Scott says. To accomplish this, Scott recommends gratitude.;
I think forming a routine or some habits to help keep your environment as decluttered as you can also help reframe and provide a sense of control in a situation where you feel like you don’t have any control, Scott says.;
Snow recommends focusing on what is working and supporting you in your current environment. She also suggests small changes to make the environment more soothing and familiar, such as organizing, adding photos, or painting.;
And finally, make sure to process any emotions or frustrations that are present through journaling, movement, or talking with a friend or therapist.;Don’t let the feelings build up, Snow says.
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Morbidity Mortality And Markers Of Disease Progression
Psychosocial intervention trials conducted upon patients following acute myocardial infarction have reported both positive and null results. Two meta-analyses have reported a reduction in both mortality and morbidity of approximately 20% to 40% . Most of these studies were carried out in men. The major study reporting positive results was the Recurrent Coronary Prevention Project , which employed group-based CBT, and decreased hostility and depressed affect , as well as the composite medical end point of cardiac death and nonfatal MI .
What Can I Do To Avoid Problems
First, try to recognize your emotions and understand why you are having them. Learning how to sort out the causes of sadness, frustration, and anger in your life can help you better manage your emotional health. The box below gives some other helpful tips.
Tips on dealing with your emotions
Learn to express your feelings in appropriate ways. Keeping feelings of sadness or anger inside takes extra energy and can cause problems in your relationships and at work or school. It’s important to let people close to you know when something is bothering you.
Think before you act. Emotions can be powerful. Before you get carried away by your emotions and say or do something you might regret, consider the possible positive and negative consequences.
Strive for balance in your life. Don’t obsess about problems at work, school, or home. Focus on positive things in your life. Make time for things you enjoy.
Take care of your physical health. Physical and mental health are two sides of the same coin. Take care of your body by exercising regularly, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol.
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Children And Teens At Risk
Children, away from their school, friends, and colleagues, staying at home can have many questions about the outbreak and they look toward their parents or caregivers to get the answer. Not all children and parents respond to stress in the same way. Kids can experience anxiety, distress, social isolation, and an abusive environment that can have short or longterm effects on their mental health. Some common changes in children’s behavior can be:
Excessive crying and annoying behavior
Increased sadness, depression, or worry
Difficulties with concentration and attention
Changes in, or avoiding, activities that they enjoyed in the past
Unexpected headaches and pain throughout their bodies
Changes in eating habits
Can Stress Be A Good Thing
Sometimes, stress can have a positive effect on your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and body reactions. Stress is more likely to result in positive outcomes if you see it as a challenge or something you can strive to overcome. It can help motivate you to work hard. Stress can also lead to positive effects if you respond with healthy behaviours that improve your situation. You can experience the positive effects of stress even in the face of some negative effects.
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Emotional And Psychological Impacts Of Covid 19 Pandemic
The COVID 19 outbreak has led to depressive stories of deaths, grief, loss, and fatalities. Some people lose their livelihood or are unable to visit their loved ones. Whats worse? You or a loved one tested positive for COVID 19.;
The thought of a loved one fighting for their lives in the hospital is terrifying. Even worse? A loved one who succumbed to this dreadful disease. These times will test your emotional and mental resilience. This has caused depression, anxiety, and stress to most of us.
The pandemic has affected our mental health in a lot of ways. The strict isolation and social distancing kept us separated from our loved ones. Currently, new COVID variants cause countries to force lockdown again, and its exhausting.
The loneliness during isolation has affected both our physical and mental health. Loneliness has affected individuals who do not have any emotional and mental resources. Social isolation during this pandemic is a mental and psychological crisis.;
The dreaded isolation and financial hardships have affected our well-being and mental health. We need to seek support and connection from others. It is also vital to know the signs of depression and anxiety to recognize them among your loved ones.
What Are The Signs Of Stress
How you might feel
You may behave differently if youre stressed. You may:
- withdraw from other people or snap at them
- be indecisive or inflexible
- have problems getting to sleep or staying asleep
- experience sexual problems
- smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs more than usual.
If the stress is long-lasting, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits change, or you feel less inclined to exercise.
Some research has also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or stomach ulcers, as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease.
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What Are Some Ways To Prevent Stress
Many daily strategies can help you keep stress at bay:
- Try relaxation activities, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises and muscle relaxation. Programs are available online, in smartphone apps, and at many gyms and community centers.
- Take good care of your body each day. Eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep help your body handle stress much better.
- Stay positive and practice gratitude, acknowledging the good parts of your day or life.
- Accept that you cant control everything. Find ways to let go of worry about situations you cannot change.
- Learn to say no to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed.
- Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support and help you with practical things. A friend, family member or neighbor can become a good listener or share responsibilities so that stress doesnt become overwhelming.
Only Chronic Stress Is Harmful
Short-term stress doesnt hurt. If a recovery phase follows a stressful phase, the body and mind quickly come back into balance.;
If, on the other hand, stress becomes a permanent burden, then the tolerance limit drops, one becomes thinner, and it is not possible to switch back to relaxation even during recovery phases. It leads to gradual exhaustion up to severe physical and mental illness.;
Constant stress can also influence social behavior. A possible stress reaction is the avoidance of interpersonal contact or even social withdrawal.
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Mental And Emotional Effects Of Stress
Everyone reacts to stress differently and it affects us in different ways. Here are some of the mental and emotional effects caused by stress:
- feeling overwhelmed
- being irritable or easily angered
- lacking self-esteem
- feeling constantly worried or scared
- finding it difficult to concentrate
- feeling more sensitive and emotional
- lacking an appetite
Inflammation The Immune System And Physical Health
Despite the stress-mediated immunosuppressive effects reviewed above, stress has also been associated with exacerbations of autoimmune disease and other conditions in which excessive inflammation is a central feature, such as CHD . Evidence suggests that a chronically activated, dysregulated acute stress response is responsible for these associations. Recall that the acute stress response includes the activation and migration of cells of the innate immune system. This effect is mediated by proinflammatory cytokines. During periods of chronic stress, in the otherwise healthy individual, cortisol eventually suppresses proinflammatory cytokine production. But in individuals with autoimmune disease or CHD, prolonged stress can cause proinflammatory cytokine production to remain chronically activated, leading to an exacerbation of pathophysiology and symptomatology.
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Mental Health Is As Important As Your Physical Health
Physical healthmental health relationship is correlated. We need to know mental health in the same way we know physical health. And it needs to start at a young age and carry out through every level of our lives.
If I ask you about physical health, you may talk about muscles, strength, physical activity, exercises, yoga, diet, nutrition, etc. But what comes in your mind when you hear about mental health? Let me help you_
You must remember that your brain is one of the most important parts of your body and you can exercise it just like you the rest of your body. There are exercises like crosswords, puzzles, memory games, and so on.
Another thing you can do is evaluate your coping mechanisms. Think about how you cope with the situation, what you can do to make your coping more effective, and let that strengthen your mind as you use exercise and strengthening workout to make your body stronger.
So, it is important to incorporate exercise daily to ensure good physical and mental health.
Homelessness Hurts: How Being Homeless Can Affect Mental Health
by Bissell Centre| POSTED: Oct 27, 2016
Its no surprise that being without a home can weigh heavily on the mind and heart. Homelessness implies more than simply lacking physical necessities; it can also have a debilitating effect on mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. People who are homeless deal with circumstances that most of us can hardly imagine, and its important to remember that not every side effect of homelessness is directly visible to the eye. Mental illness is experienced by roughly one-third of the homeless community, and is a major barrier to getting off the streets.
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How Stress Affects Mental Health
When someone is under chronic stress, it begins to negatively affect his or her physical and mental health. The bodys stress response was not made to be continuously engaged. Many people encounter stress from multiple sources, including work; money, health, and relationship worries; and media overload.
With so many sources of stress, it is difficult to find time to relax and disengage. This is why stress is one of the biggest health problems facing people today.
The Consequences Of Constant Stress
If stress perseveres over a long period of time, it usually has mental, emotional and physical consequences. If we ignore the signals from our body and permanent stressful situations determine our everyday life, this can lead to significant health impairments.;
Adverse effects on the course of existing diseases are also possible. Widespread attempts to cope with stress, such as smoking, alcohol and tablets, add to the negative health consequences.
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Express Your Feelings In Appropriate Ways
If feelings of stress, sadness, or anxiety are causing physical problems, keeping these feelings inside can make you feel worse. Its okay to let your loved ones know when something is bothering you. However, keep in mind that your family and friends may not always be able to help you deal with your feelings appropriately. At these times, ask someone outside the situation for help. Try asking your family doctor, a counselor, or a religious advisor for advice and support to help you improve your emotional health.
Do Women React To Stress Differently Than Men Do
Yes, studies show that women are more likely than men to experience . Women who are stressed are more likely than men who are stressed to experience depression and anxiety. Experts do not fully know the reason for the differences, but it may be related to how mens and womens bodies process stress hormones. Long-term stress especially is more likely to cause problems with moods and anxiety in women.
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Stressors During Adulthood And Their Psychological Sequelae
LIFE STRESS, ANXIETY, AND DEPRESSION
It is well known that first depressive episodes often develop following the occurrence of a major negative life event . Furthermore, there is evidence that stressful life events are causal for the onset of depression . A study of 13,006 patients in Denmark, with first psychiatric admissions diagnosed with depression, found more recent divorces, unemployment, and suicides by relatives compared with age- and gender-matched controls . The diagnosis of a major medical illness often has been considered a severe life stressor and often is accompanied by high rates of depression . For example, a meta-analysis found that 24% of cancer patients are diagnosed with major depression .
Stressful life events often precede anxiety disorders as well . Interestingly, long-term follow-up studies have shown that anxiety occurs more commonly before depression . In fact, in prospective studies, patients with anxiety are most likely to develop major depression after stressful life events occur .
DISORDERS RELATED TO TRAUMA