This is a guest post by Ramya Karamsetti.
Stress – a boogieman that shows up often, needs no introduction. We encounter stressful situations at work, at home, within our friend circle, or even at those times when we’re caught in a traffic jam. Stress is part and parcel of our day-to-day activities, and we can’t possibly avoid or run away from it. In fact, stress is an essential factor in life. It can help motivate you and keep you going. It also makes things much more challenging, the lack of which might result in a sense of monotony and boredom.
However, just like everything else, too much of something can turn out to be a bad thing, and the same holds true for stress as well. Stress has been a significant contributor to several diseases and ailments. It is essential to know what stress is, what the causal factors can be, and how you can manage stress, mainly if you’re dealing with too much of it. If you or someone you know seems to be dealing with a massive amount of stress, then keep reading!
- Why does the human body create the feeling of stress?
- What Causes Stress?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?
- How to Deal With Stress?
Why does the human body create the feeling of stress?
In the face of perceived threat or danger, your body begins to create a natural defense, or in other words; it causes your body to feel stressed. When you experience stress, your body essentially begins to release certain resources, which in turn sets things in motion for you to either face or confront the perceived threat, or for you to run away from the perceived threat. This response to a particularly threatening situation due to stress is known as the flight or fight response. Although we say that stress is how you react to a perceived threat or danger, it can also be your reaction to an uncomfortable situation and certain fears.
The resources we mentioned resulting from the stress response include significant hormonal and chemical releases of epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. All of these chemicals and hormones play an essential role in helping with your physical response to stress, such as sudden alertness, an increase in your blood pressure, sweating, and heightened preparedness of your muscles. These responses prep you to either confront or even challenge a situation.
What Causes Stress?
Stress can be caused due to numerous factors, and in most cases, it can be subjective. Each one of us tends to respond differently to particular stressors. What may be stressful for you might not be so for another person. For example, you may get particularly anxious and stressed when your work deadlines are nearing. On the other hand, some people work better as their deadlines approach. Since the causes of stress are so subjective, it can be challenging to narrow down on them.
However, the most common factors that are responsible for stress include certain significant life events such as losing a job, financial problems, death of a loved one, family issues, divorce, physical abuse, relationship problems, illness, miscarriages, abortions, pregnancy, road traffic, accidents, pollution, and conflict with friends and colleagues, to name a few.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stress?
We know for a fact that stress is a normal part of life, and in moderation, it can play an imperative role in your day-to-day activities. However, if you’ve been noticing the following symptoms, the chances are that you are overly stressed:
- Excessive sweating, even if you are not indulging in physical activity or experiencing hot climatic conditions.
- Dull pain in your chest or back
- Constant or recurring headaches
- Twitches or involuntary movements
- Unexplained dizziness or fainting
- A feeling of pins and needles
- Issues with concentration and attention
- A feeling of irritability
- Fatigue, even if you haven’t physically exerted yourself
- An increase in appetite
- A decrease in appetite
- Unexplained weight gain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant biting of nails
- A feeling of insecurity
- Memory issues or forgetfulness
- Lack of interest in social activities
- Sadness and a frequent need to cry
Chronic stress can also result in the following:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Ailments
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Digestive Problems
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Loss of libido
- Compromised immunity
How to Deal With Stress?
Now that we know what exactly stress is and what’s causing it, let’s look at ways to deal with stress for the betterment of our health:
1. Make An Effort To Understand It
Like all problems in life, it is crucial to get down to the root cause. Try to understand what exactly is causing you all that stress. Is it your job? Was it the loss of a loved one? Or maybe you have an ongoing conflict with your spouse. Whatever be the case, you need to identify it, understand it, and make an effort to work your way through it.
2. Communicate Your Woes
It’s true that communication and confiding in someone you trust about your ongoing problems will make you feel better. What’s more, you might even find a solution to your concerns when you do this! Talking to a friend, your parents, or your spouse can help you in numerous ways. They will reassure you, provide the moral support you need, and handhold you through the tough times.
3. Exercise Your Way Through It
There’s a good reason why exercise is directly tied up with good health. It doesn’t just help you keep in shape; exercise can also help kick stress to the curb. It doesn’t matter how long you exercise each day – it could be a ten-minute quick desk workout or a hardcore thirty-minute cardio. Whatever it is, just make sure you incorporate it into your daily routine!
4. Maintain A Healthy Diet
When you make it a point to follow a well-balanced, healthy diet, you keep yourself at optimal health and strengthen your immune system as well. As we had mentioned before, your immune system takes a hit when you’re under stress, but this can be managed with good nutrition. Additionally, a poor diet can actually contribute to stress. When stressed, most people reach out for processed foods or snacks that are high in sugar. It’s called stress-eating. Refrain from this and opt for healthy food options like fruit or salad instead.
5. Organize Your Day
It helps to have a structure to your day so that you can do things in a better way and complete tasks that are pending in a systematic manner. Maintain a daily to-do list and arrange them according to priority. Finish the important tasks at first, and then work on the others. This way, you won’t have to worry about pushing deadlines or not meeting them. Organizing your day right at the start will also help you identify if you’ve got too much on your plate. You should be able to incorporate time for your meals and a good exercise routine alongside your busy work schedule.
6. Laugh Your Worries Away
They weren’t lying when they said that laughter is the best medicine. When you laugh, your body tends to release certain chemicals or hormones such as endorphins, which can perk you up and decrease the stress hormones like cortisol as well. You could maybe watch a good show or read a funny book. Or call that one goofy friend of yours and have a good laugh!
7. Get Enough Sleep
Ever noticed how cranky you can get if you’ve not had enough sleep the previous night? It’s simply because your brain and your body need sleep. There’s a good reason why we humans spend one-third of our lives sleeping – just like eating food, sleeping is an integral part of life and its functions. It is required for your body to function well, be able to think clearly, and manage stress.
8. Yoga And Meditation
Yoga targets the three fundamental aspects of your life – your body, mind, and breathing. Since it is a combination of techniques that promotes relaxation, yoga can be an excellent stress-buster. The poses help relax your muscles, the pranayamas or regulation of breath can help with your breathing, and the combination of both can help clear your mind.
9. Take A Deep Breath
This might sound like the most cliche thing to say, but taking deep breaths amidst all those stressful situations can actually work wonders. When you deeply inhale, you oxygenate the blood in your body. It can calm you down and help clear your head a little. Similar to meditation, although not entirely, taking deep breaths can have a relaxing effect on you.
10. Refrain From Stress-Associated Behaviors
Sometimes when stressed, you tend to reach out for certain stress-associated behaviors such as smoking or drinking. Although the idea of consuming alcohol or smoking tobacco is linked to feeling less stressed, the truth is that it can contribute to stress. It can mess with your health and create an addiction, all of which can add to the already existing stress that you have to deal with.
Stress isn’t something that any one of us can avoid. But with the proper understanding of how to deal with it, you can prevent it from affecting your health, relationships, and life in general. Make sure you consult a doctor if you notice that stress has been taking a toll on your physical and mental health. Have you been stressed lately? How do you deal with stress? Let us know!
WebMD. (n.d.). Stress – why it happens and common causes. WebMD. Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/what-is-stress.
NHS. (n.d.). NHS choices. Retrieved October 1, 2021, from https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/feelings-and-symptoms/stress/.
Ramya Karamsetti is a contributor to StyleCraze. She loves writing articles on beauty, health, and wellness and advocates using natural remedies to solve everyday skin and hair issues. When she is not writing, she loves traveling and going on adventure trips.