What Is Stress?
Stress is something that can be nearly impossible to avoid. It’s the body’s natural response (known as a fight or flight response) to immediate physical threats or demands on tasks that need to be met. However, when you’re in a constant state of demand and emergency - the constant stress (also known as Chronic Stress) you may experience can turn into something much more serious while amplifying anxiety symptoms as well.
What Causes Stress?
There can be many contributing factors to stress. Heavy work loads and busy schedules, finances, education course loads, family responsibilities, the loss of a loved one, stressful or demanding relationships...the list can go on and on. Everyone faces a time or two where they feel overwhelmed by the circumstances surrounding them, the important thing to remember is recognizing when you are feeling overwhelmed and taking a step back to regroup and recenter yourself so that you can tackle those demands better when you’re not so stressed.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?
Here is a very short list of the most common ways stress can show itself such as the following;
- Increased anxiousness / anxiety
- Muscle aches / Tension
- Problems concentrating / losing focus
- Insomnia / Difficulty Sleeping
- Frequent illness
- Unexplained rashes
- Chest tightness or rapid heartbeat
- Loss or increase of appetite
How Can Stress Be Good For You?
Not all stress is bad. Sometimes stress can actually work in your favor, for example, when you are working on an important project. Our fight or flight response is also extremely useful in protecting us from dangerous situations or even avoiding accidents. But dealing with chronic stress isn’t beneficial and can do much more harm than good. It’s knowing the difference between what’s normal stress and what’s not, that can be the game changer.
How Can Stress Affect You?
The symptoms of stress alone is enough to cause some major psychological and physical discomfort. However, prolonged periods being stuck in ‘fight or flight mode’ can cause anxiety to take over and create a bigger and often debilitating problem.
How Can I Get Rid Of Stress?
First, while there are some simple ways to help reduce stress, if it’s become intolerable, it is recommended to seek the help of loved ones or a doctor as soon as possible.
Here are a few ways you can reduce or relieve some stress
Techniques to Relieve Stress:
- Exercise: This is often the first suggestion but it is a very good one. Sometimes a workout that works up a good hard sweat can help relieve stress and boost serotonin levels in the brain which help bring on a happier and more positive mood.
- Take a Deep Breath: Sit in a comfortable position, generally with your back nice and straight, sitting up tall so that you can really open up your lungs. You can sit either inside or outside depending on where you are, but if you can take advantage of some nice weather and enjoy some peaceful scenery, do it! Inhale deeply through your nose slowly, and exhale forcefully, focusing your mind in releasing negative energy and anxiety.
- Meditate: Practicing meditation can be difficult if you feel as though it’s hard to quiet your brain, however - you don’t have to sit in complete silence while you practice. Try guided meditation and mindfulness, as it’s a much easier way to help keep you focused on your goal towards relaxation.
- Focus on Releasing Tension: As you slow your breathing to a normal pace, focus on tensing and relaxing the muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders - aiming to leave them relaxed.
- Visualize: Take a moment and visualize a place that brings you peace and makes you feel the most at ease and safe. This will help you to ease tension and rest your focus on getting back to that relaxed feeling so you are better able to make decisions and handle the stresses daily life can put on you.