The Type Of Stress Matters
Stress can affect you both instantly and over time .
Acute stress is the body’s instant response to any situation that seems demanding or dangerous. Your stress level depends on how intense the stress is, how long it lasts, and how you cope with the situation.
Most of the time, your body recovers quickly from acute stress. But stress can cause problems if it happens too often or if your body doesn’t have a chance to recover. In people with heart problems, acute stress can trigger an abnormal heartbeat or even a heart attack.
Chronic stress is caused by stressful situations or events that last over a long period of time. This could include having a difficult job or dealing with a chronic disease. If you already have a health problem, stress can make it worse.
The Perception Of Stress
While we know that stress is associated with health problems, plenty of people with high-stress lives are thriving. How is that possible? In 2012, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison published a seminal study looking at how 28,000 people perceived stress in their lives. People in the study answered these two questions:
The researchers looked at death rates in the study group over nine years. The results are startling. The study found that having a lot of stress in your life was not linked with premature death. But having a lot of stress in your life and believing it was taking a toll on your health increased risk of premature death by 43 percent.
What Is Stress Management A Definition
Put simply, stress management is:
set of techniques and programs intended to help people deal more effectively with stress in their lives by analysing the specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize their effects
Popular examples of stress management include meditation, yoga, and exercise. Well explore these in detail, with a range of different approaches to ensure that theres something that works for everyone.
First, lets set one thing straight: were not aiming towards being stress-free all of the time. Thats unrealistic. After all, its an unavoidable human response that we all experience from time to timeand its not all bad either.
However, we can all benefit from identifying our stress and managing it better. Before we dive any deeper into managing stress, lets cover a quick 101 on stress itself.
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How Can You Avoid Stress
Stress is a fact of life for most people. You may not be able to get rid of stress, but you can look for ways to lower it.
You might try some of these ideas:
- Learn better ways to manage your time. You may get more done with less stress if you make a schedule. Think about which things are most important, and do those first.
- Find better ways to cope. Look at how you have been dealing with stress. Be honest about what works and what does not. Think about other things that might work better.
- Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest. Eat well. Don’t smoke. Limit how much alcohol you drink.
- Try out new ways of thinking. When you find yourself starting to worry, try to stop the thoughts. Or write down your worries and work on letting go of things you cannot change. Learn to say “no.”
- Speak up. Not being able to talk about your needs and concerns creates stress and can make negative feelings worse. Assertive communication can help you express how you feel in a thoughtful, tactful way.
- Ask for help. People who have a strong network of family and friends manage stress better.
Sometimes stress is just too much to handle alone. Talking to a friend or family member may help, but you may also want to see a counselor.
How Can I Identify The Signs Of Stress
Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:15
- feelings of constant worry or anxiety
- feelings of being overwhelmed
7. Dont be too hard on yourself
- Try to keep things in perspective.
- Remember that having a bad day is a universal human experience
- When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said
- If you stumble or feel you have failed, dont beat yourself up
- Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive
- Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself
Now, we would like to move on to a more detailed look at the causes and effects of stress. In this section we will focus on the effects prolonged stress has on your body, behaviour and emotions, and look at key causes such as relationships, money, work, alcohol and drug use.
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Handy Pdfs & 1 Ppt About Stress Management
Now that weve covered the various stress management solutions, here are some handy downloadable PDFs for creating your personal stress management plan:
For adults and teens, this PDF Stress diary is an excellent template put together by Mindtools.com. It helps make us aware of when we stress, how we stress and how often we stress. Download the diary and make regular entries to start increasing the awareness surrounding your stress.
Its easy for stress to come and go, with us accepting its just part of our lives instead of something that needs addressing. Once we bring our awareness to these key stress components, we can start taking steps to manage it.
Once youve identified how you show stress, you can start fleshing out a plan that works best for you. This Stress management PDF will help you to put in place some solid solutions, such as social support, emotional skills, ideas for a healthy life balance, and how you can best attend to your basic needs.
Specifically for teens, this PDF is an easy to use 10-point plan put together by www.fosteringresilience.com to help manage stress. It has been broken down into four digestible parts for you to work through including:
If youre looking for a handy PPT, this Reducing Stress Presentation explains how we can best manage our stress by changing our health behaviors.
Practice The Relaxation Response
To perform the Relaxation Response:
Practice this at least once or twice each day. When you are more experienced, you can do a 15-second version to help you de-stress in the middle of stressful events, says Dr. Sinha.
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You’re Developing Any Number Of Skin Issues
There’s a lot that’s not understood about how our skin reflects what’s going on inside us, and there’s actually an entire field of study dedicated to it. It’s called psychodermatology, and according to Harvard Medical School and experts from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, many skin problems and complaints have a psychological component. There’s a technical term for skin problems that are made worse by stress , too: psychophysiological.
According to of the University of North Texas Health Science Center, the hormones and substances released by a body in a state of stress can impact the skin in a huge number of ways. If you’re in a state of high stress, physical wounds and damage to your skin will heal more slowly than they normally would. Highly stressed people are likely to find their skin is more sensitive to painful stimuli like hot and cold, and stress might also make conditions like psoriasis, acne, rashes, rosacea, and eczema worse. Hair loss and the skin condition alopecia has also been linked to high-stress periods in life, particularly those that have to deal with an upheaval in family relationships. You might also find yourself suffering from chronic dry skin, too, as stress hormones have been found to negatively impact the skin’s natural moisture balance.
Helping Children And Youth Cope With Stress
Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic eventlike a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
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You’re Developing Auditory And Verbal Hallucinations
Exploding head syndrome sounds terrifying, and in the moment it happens, it can be. It’s the technical term for hearing a deafening sound usually compared to a gunshot or clap of thunder when you’re just drifting off to sleep. While there’s no physical pain associated with it, it can cause all kinds of problems that even include increased anxiety around the time you’re supposed to be falling asleep. It happens to women more than men, and it’s more common among people over 50 years old. It’s also been linked to high stress levels, although we’re not entirely sure just why it happens to some people.
In a study done by researchers from the University of Vienna and the University of Dunham, the presence of verbal hallucinations was also linked to high levels of stress and anxiety. It’s defined as hearing “alien” voices that say any number of things, most often related to a person’s biggest stressors. According to surveys completed by volunteers, verbal hallucinations increased during times of increased stress and anxiety, and many reported that emotional distress existed before the hallucinations and wasn’t caused by them. Many reported heightened levels of stress and anxiety immediately before and during the hallucinations, and for some, they add to feelings of stress, social anxiety, and depression.
Learn To Avoid Procrastination
Another way to take control of your stress is to stay on top of your priorities and stop procrastinating.
Procrastination can lead you to act reactively, leaving you scrambling to catch up. This can cause stress, which negatively affects your health and sleep quality .
Get in the habit of making a to-do list organized by priority. Give yourself realistic deadlines and work your way down the list.
Work on the things that need to get done today and give yourself chunks of uninterrupted time, as switching between tasks or multitasking can be stressful itself.
Prioritize what needs to get done and make time for it. Staying on top of your to-do list can help ward off procrastination-related stress.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups.
While yoga styles differ, most share a common goal to join your body and mind.
Yoga primarily does this by increasing body and breath awareness.
Some studies have examined yogas effect on mental health. Overall, research has found that yoga can enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety .
However, many of these studies are limited, and there are still questions about how yoga works to achieve stress reduction.
In general, the benefit of yoga for stress and anxiety seems to be related to its effect on your nervous system and stress response.
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Make Time For Fun And Relaxation
It is important to include time for fun and relaxation in your schedule. These are important for helping you to feel good generally, and that in turn reduces stress, and keeps you healthy. Looking forward to doing things that you enjoy, and that give you pleasure, helps when you have to cope with less pleasant aspects of life. Whats more, laughter has huge positive benefits for both mental and physical health.
If you are working hard, and are conscientious, however, it can feel wrong to take time out to relax and have fun.
It is therefore important to remember that you and your health are important. You should not ignore your physical or mental health in favour of more urgent activities.
If you consciously put relaxing or fun activities into your diary, and think of this as a way to keep yourself healthy and able to work, you are likely to feel much more positive. This, in turn, will mean that you feel less guilty, and therefore stressed, about doing it.
Map Your Social Network
During times of high stress we have a tendency to retreat. We cancel social plans and focus on the work, money crisis or trauma that is our source of stress. But friends and social support are among the best forms of therapy to help you escape stress for brief periods of time. Friends can also make you feel better about yourself, and that mountain of stress in your life wont look so steep.
When Dr. Southwick, Yale Medical School psychiatrist, co-wrote his book on resilience, he interviewed a number of people who had shown resilience against all odds, including former prisoners of war and people who had survived trauma. One thing they had in common was social support.
The resilient people we interviewed actively reached out for support, said Dr. Southwick. They dont sit around and wait.
Even POWs held in isolation devised a tapping method of communication with their fellow prisoners. Most, if not all, said it was life-saving to know they werent alone and they were cared for, said Dr. Southwick.
When Dr. Southwick, a psychiatrist, meets with a new patient, one of the first things he does is construct a diagram of the patients social network. Sometimes they just talk about it some patients want to map it out on paper. Who is in your life? Who can you count on? asks Dr. Southwick. Make your own list of your social network and keep it handy when you need to call on someone for support.
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Make Time For Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be a wonderful way to relieve stress. Yet, many people feel as though their lives are too busy for hobbies, games, or extra fun.
But building time for leisure into your schedule could be key to helping you feel your best. And when you feel better, you’ll perform better, which means leisure time may make your work time more efficient.
Whether you find joy in caring for a garden or you like making quilts, hobbies and leisure are key to living your best life.
How To Control Stress Top 15 Ways To Control Stress
Juggling work commitments, dealing with professional hara-kiri and trying to keep an organized personal life is like being caught in a whirlpool. It is overwhelming and can have a direct impact on the physical, mental and emotional health of a person.
What a person needs at this point in time is to find ways and means to control stress so that he can manage to keep it at bay and find the necessary balance and stability in life. One of the best ways to lead a healthy and happy life is by dealing with the stress factor positively.
Remember that you are in charge of your life and you can as easily combat stress as anything else in this world. Find your inner strength and make changes in your thought process, actions, lifestyle, and behavior so that you can relieve the pressure.
Maintain your positive attitude even in the face of adverse conditions and become assertive while describing your opinions and feelings instead of becoming angry or aggressive.
Your entire well-being depends upon your emotional and mental equilibrium hence find the balance that will help you to enhance your ability to think, function and act effectively.
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How Can You Help Yourself
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.37 It is therefore important that we manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to our bodies and minds.
Not Sure What To Do Next
If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirects Symptom Checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
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Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.