What Is Stress & How To Manage Stress?
Thank you for reaching here! Now that you’ve chosen to read about stress, let me suggest you not to feel stressed. Relax your forehead, soften your eyes and with a gentle smile, imagine you are going to learn, even if a little bit about something inevitable that we all experience – Stress. Not only that this blog aims at educating about meaning of stress rather it would also educate management of stress.
We all normally know what stress is because we all experience it irrespective of different personalities, age group, gender, cultures, environment, beliefs, financial status, education, family structure, supports and the list goes on. The fact is we all experience stress and we all manage or cope with it in some way or the other. Stress is a normal human reaction. If an individual copes with it by managing the challenge or everyday pressure, it promotes their mental health or mental wellness. But not everyone is equipped with strong coping mechanisms. The everyday pressures when not handled effectively can pile up into something big. Thus hindering, slowing or even blocking the normal functioning mentally and physically. For the convenience of readers, There are two types of stress that every individual may face: Eustress and Distress.
Types of Stress
- Eustress is a stress that arises out of positive situations like buying a new house, delivering a baby, stress for performing well, to name a few. The result of which is probably going to leave a positive impact in our life. This is positive stress or I call it “happy stress”. The other one occurs out of negative situations- like losing a loved one, losing a job, broken relationships, failure in business, getting into a legal trouble, witnessing violence, divorce, infertility and many more. During distressful situation, flight or fight responses are activated. To make it simple, either an individual strategizes to “fight” with the situation like by dealing with it or by ‘flight’ response that means by fleeing away or avoiding the situation. There’s another new category discovered as “freeze” response- that means not be able to respond or cope with stressful situation and get stuck to respond. In all cases, an individual uses their reflexes that they assume to be best suited in a given situation.
- Distress or commonly just called as Stress have plethora effects on human brain, mind and body. If not handled properly, it leads to many complications. Stress activates all bodily functions to command a response like in respiratory system, musculoskeletal system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, reproductive system and endocrine system. And all these systems experience some effect which we notice sometimes immediately or at times later like heart racing or shortness of breath, muscular tension, abdominal discomforts, dizziness, anxiety, depression, mood fluctuations, frequent urination, low energy, fatigues, headaches and many more. Stress hormone or cortisol hormones that tend to elevate during stress, while reduced serotonin (the mood stabilizer) and other neurotransmitters in brain lead to more difficulties. These have been directly linked to depression. A variety of herbs and supplements have been researched that help maintain this balance. Please consult your doctor before consideration.
On a positive note, stress is manageable and treatable. There are abundance of resources and researches available online to start working on. Some individuals try them out and the key to their success is consistency and trust in following those skills. In chronic and severe cases, it is highly recommended to seek professional advice and not make a self-diagnosis on basis of few readings. There are some simple and useful tips to self-help:
Identify your stressors: Often just identifying what triggers stress and then working on it, helps reduce stress.
Mindfulness: Being mindful of your reactions, their impacts and consequences can also help reduce stress
Strong relationships: Building strong relationships and seeking help from them acts as a huge support system for any individual. It helps tremendously in reducing stress by communicating or what we call “venting out” our frustrations.
Channelize: Instead of using your energy in an anger outburst, try physical exercise like walking, jogging, running, biking, hiking, doing yoga, having good sleep, resting your mind or indulging in a hobby.
Professional help: If you continue to feel overwhelmed, it is always advised to seek professional help starting from your general practitioner, or a psychologist.
Stress is unavoidable given the current circumstances but seeking help or helping yourself is possible. So, what are you waiting for? Try and understand yourself, your stressors and start working on them. Probably you can become a game changer in someone else’s life. Your story can inspire at least one person and that is huge. Thank you for reading, take good care of your “SELF”, spread smiles and stay healthy!
CCPC Global Certified Solution Focused Therapist (CSFT)
Rupika is a Certified Solution-Focused Therapist (CSFT) by CCPC Global, Toronto and Member of Ontario Association of Mental Health Professionals (OAMHP) in good standing.
Being client centered therapist, she uses integrative approaches like Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness Meditation Techniques, Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Psychodynamic approaches, Narrative therapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques. With her most recent experience working with Distress Centres of Greater Toronto, she is confident in handling crisis, anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, adjustment disorders, relationship issues and trauma. She works compassionately and ethically with clients and offer non-judgmental, empathetic and confidential services.
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