There are times in our lives when stress gets its grip on us, disturbs our peace of mind, throws us out of gear and impairs our lifestyle. But, then, there are ways by which we can keep stress under control.
Let me introduce you to our guest author Mark, who has graduated from college about a year ago. Having been through some stressful periods there, especially during the finals, he wants to raise awareness about stress and how to handle it. In this post, Mark tells us about stress, how it manifests, the different types of stress, and finally how to deal with it.
What is stress?
Stress is a natural reaction of our body to a demanding situation. When stressed, the body prepares itself for a quick response and switches to a “fight or flight” mode, In the process, it releases stress hormones and chemicals that prepare the body to cope with the perceived threat. This results in a number of reactions and changes in the body functions, such as an increase in heartbeat, palpitation, nausea, or increase in blood pressure. It is a natural process which explains why we feel different when we are in stressful situations.
Causes of Stress
Situations that cause stress are called stressors. Stressors can be things as simple as a disruption in your routine, to more complicated things like relocation, financial problems, demands in the work environment, illness, troubled relationships, loss of job, the loss of a loved one, or the lack of social interaction.
Not every stress is bad though. Sometimes, mild bouts of stress actually enhance and improve cognitive brain function. Such stress is called ‘good stress’ or ‘Eustress.’ It manifests itself for a short period and provides the motivation to work towards a goal or to overcome a challenge.
How can you tell if you are too stressed?
Some of the most common symptoms of bad stress are frustration, alienation from friends and family, eating too much (or too little), irritability, fighting with others for no reason, low concentration and inability to focus or even to think straight. Each of these symptoms prevents you from giving your 100% to anything that you do.
There are people who are more resilient to stress than others. However, when a prolonged build-up of stress is not addressed or relieved, it can lead to a breakdown of both physical and mental health, thus decreasing the quality of life.
Also Read: Break the Worry before it breaks you
Stress Management: Good Stress vs Bad Stress
The moment you are feeling jumpy, nervous or anxious you know that you are under stress. Once you understand the kind of stress that you are experiencing it becomes easier to fight stress.
But it is not always easy to tell apart good stress from bad stress.
Since every human being is different, the reaction one has to the stress is different. Meeting new people, going to new places, trying out new things or speaking in a public forum might be interesting and exciting for one person but these could be extremely stressful for another. Similarly, an activity that appears interesting at one point to a person may appear stressful at some other time to the same person.
If an activity or maybe a deadline makes you feel enthused, focussed and motivated, it is probably good stress. If it makes you feel tired, worn out it is probably bad stress. The key is to eliminate bad stress as much as possible.
Here are some of the things you can do to lower your level of bad stress.
Coping with Stress
- Try to organize your day (or even two) in advance so you will have control on your time and you will feel better.
- Find some activities which can relax you. Sports are the most common anti-stress therapies because you spend negative energy. Exercise also helps to reduce stress hormones, improve mood and boost energy.
- If you are not a fan of sports or exercise, you can try out relaxation techniques like yoga, breathing exercises, meditation or visualization.
- Find a good book to read or movie to watch, or listen to music, anything that can keep your focus away from the problem.
- Spend time with your friends and family. I know that it doesn’t seem like a good idea when you are stressed, but it is exactly what you have to do. Reach out to your friends, hang out with them, enjoy a good cup of tea, grab a beer and play on the foosball table. Remember all the crazy things you did when you were in college and I promise you, you will have a good laugh… It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are having fun and you are not alone with your thoughts.
- When you are already feeling tense or overwhelmed, you may want to avoid certain social situations or people that will further increase your stress levels,
Remember, stress is around us and we can’t do much by ignoring it, but we can do a lot by releasing stress through different methods which will instantly make you feel better.
Finally, I have summed it up this infographic :
This post and infographic about stress have been contributed by Mark, who writes on Foosball Zone.
Do check out his site.
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