Stressed?

Good day dear reader and welcome back to Aglow Blog. Today we are dealing on stress.

Stress is an unavoidably important topic in today’s world. It affects everyone, whether you sit in an air conditioned office five days a week or you hawk in the traffic seven days a week. Stress means different things to different people, it also comes in various ways, it is inevitable but manageable.

Before I continue, let me define stress:

Stress is defined as a feeling of emotional or physical tension; it is the body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. Your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones. These hormones make your brain more alert, cause your muscles to tense, and increase your pulse. It is your body’s natural way of protecting itself.

Stress is a normal feeling and it affects everyone, it can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. You may notice symptoms of stress when disciplining your kids, during busy times at work, when managing your finances, or when coping with a challenging relationship. Stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it becomes harmful to health.

The first step to controlling stress is to know the symptoms of stress. But recognizing stress symptoms may be harder than you think. People react to stress differently, most of us are so used to being stressed, we often don’t know we are stressed until we are at the breaking point.

There are two major categories of stress;

  1. Acute Stress: This is short-term stress that goes away quickly. This is the type of stress you feel when we slam on the brakes while driving or have a fight with partners. It helps you manage dangerous situations, and it also occurs when you do something new or exciting. Everyone experiences acute stress at one time or another, even if you choose not to do something exciting, we would have to flee danger at some point.
  2. Chronic Stress: This type of stress lasts for a longer period of time. Chronic stress can come as a result of prolonged tension such as work troubles, money problems or unhappy marriage. Any type of stress that goes on for weeks or months is chronic stress. You can become so used to chronic stress that you don’t realize it is a problem. If you don’t find ways to manage stress, it may lead to health problems.

When you have chronic stress, your body stays alert, even though there is no danger. Over time, this puts you at risk for health problems like high blood pressure, if you already have a health condition, chronic stress can make it worse.

SYMPTOMS OF STRESS

Recognizing stress symptoms may be harder than you think. Most of us are so used to being stressed, we often don’t know we are stressed until we are at the breaking point. Stress affects all aspects of your life, including emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. Symptoms of stress vary because people handle stress differently. You may experience any of the following symptoms of stress.

  1. Emotional symptoms : This includes becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody, feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control, having difficulty relaxing , avoiding others ,low self-esteem and depression.
  2. Physical symptoms: This includes low energy, headaches, stomach upset, aches, pains, and tense muscles, chest pain and rapid heartbeat, insomnia, loss of sexual desire and/or ability, nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet.
  3. Cognitive symptoms: This includes constant worrying, racing thoughts, forgetfulness and disorganization, inability to focus, and being pessimistic.
  4. Behavioural symptoms: This includes changes in appetite – either not eating or eating too much, procrastinating and avoiding responsibilities, increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, exhibiting more nervous behaviours, such as onychophagia ,fidgeting, and pacing.

CAUSES OF STRESS

There’s no end to the things that can cause a person stress because they’re as varied as people are. Some typical causes of stress include:

  • Living through a natural or manmade disaster.
  • Living with chronic illness.
  • Surviving a life-threatening accident or illness.
  • Being the victim of a crime.
  • An unhappy or abusive marriage.
  • Caregiving for a loved one with a chronic illness like dementia.
  • Living in poverty or being homeless.
  • Working in a dangerous profession.
  • Having little work-life balance, working long hours, or having a job you hate.
  • Military deployment.
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STRESS MANAGEMENT

You cannot escape stress but there are many daily strategies can help you keep stress at bay:

The goal of stress management is not to get rid of it completely. It’s not only impossible, but as we mentioned, stress can be healthy in some situations.

In order to manage your stress, first you have to identify the things that cause you stress — or your triggers. Figure out which of these things can be avoided. Then, find ways to cope with those negative stressors that can’t be avoided.

Over time, managing your stress levels may help lower your risk for stress-related diseases. And it’ll help you feel better on a daily basis, too.

If you can’t manage your stress, or if it’s accompanied by anxiety or depression, see your doctor right away. These conditions can be managed with treatment, as long as you seek help. You might also consider consulting with a therapist or other mental health professionals.

  1. Have a positive attitude: Focus your mind on knowing the positive, think about the things that make you happy, hopeful, and motivated. Also be thankful for everything. Gratitude creates a positive feeling and energy that influence how you think and feel. Be thankful for even the smallest and simplest things.

  2. Acknowledge the things beyond your control: Wanting to get something makes you do everything to reach it. This is especially true if you are talking about your dreams. As you reach your dreams, there may be situations you cannot control. If you force yourself to it, it can lead to stress. At this point, practice your mind to accept the situation.

  3. Exercise regularly: Being physically active is always good for our overall health. It can help release tension, relax the mind and body, and help you think clearly. All of these are helpful in relieving stress levels. You can also perform breathing exercises to help you relax. Yoga is another good workout for stress. There is yoga for beginners you can try performing.

  4. Eat healthily: Your diet is also another way of combating stress. The nutrients you take from food are all healthy for the brain and body. Your meals should contain the right amounts of protein, healthy fats, carbs, and fibre. These are macronutrients that provide energy, keep you focused and alert, and boost your mood. It is also important to keep a healthy eating behaviour, this can significantly influence your health as well.

  5. Take a break and have fun: Scheduling time to have fun is healthy for your mental health. It can relieve stress, reduce tension and anxiety, and make you feel better. There are tons of things you can do to have fun: one is going to the beach with family or friends. 

  6. Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep can recharge your body and allow you to rest. You need to sleep 7-8 hours a day to completely re-energize. To achieve a good night’s sleep, you can do the following: listen to soft music, take an aromatic bath, write a journal or read a book.

We owe it to ourselves to take care of our health, it is our responsibility. I hope we are able to cut down stress levels in our lives, nobody deserves to be enslaved to stress. The second part of this post will be coming up soon, the part I’m majorly concerned about. There are inbound links for your further study if you wish to. Thanks for reading and see you soon.

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