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Making a happy life with simple stress management
Stress is a very common human trait. For stress is defined as a condition of mental or bodily unrest caused by any emotional, chemical or physical factor. It’s natural for anyone to feel anger, pain, irritation, frustration as a part of a normal day’s work.
However, when such mental and physical responses turn into prolonged rage, depression, fear, anxiety or grief it can turn into a constant state of being. This is a condition that has to be dealt with in order to avoid serious disruption to the balance and stability of normal bodily functions.
Difference between good and bad stress
Stress occurs for all sorts of reasons. Most physical and chemically induced pressure is unavoidable, especially when the factors include infections, illnesses, injuries, toxin intake or physical trauma of any sort. Emotional pressure too occurs due to varied reasons.
The fine line between stress being bad or good depends on the extent to which the outcomes disrupt body functions and balance. Stress, within marginal levels, is supposed to be advantageous in certain cases.
For example, mild pressure when undertaking an important project, before performing in public or any other task that call for energetic involvement will do more good by compelling the person to be better focused and achieve greater results.
Tension during exercise pumps out adrenaline and it leads to temporary pressure and this is beneficial for certain body functions.
However, stress becomes unfavorable when it crosses the line to the point of being overwhelming. This is when a person starts to experience many negative body and mind after effects. Stress management gains significance at this point.
The important aspect is to understand that you cannot eliminate the pressure in total from your life. In fact, absolute stress busters are unrealistic.
Stress management has more to do with controlling pressure through a number of relaxation techniques that are geared towards improving overall physical and mental health.
When to know if you are on stress overload
Stress is common to all ages. But each person experiences this pressure on different levels and the impact varies accordingly. Some are more forthright with their emotional disruptions such as showing anger by taking it out on another person/s.
Then there are those who internalize feelings hiding hurt, fear, frustration from the world. This type of tension manifests into other physical and psychological disorders such as craving for sweets, anorexia, skin rashes, and other substance abuse issues.
Stress overload can critically impact on people with chronic illness as many of the symptoms are prone to flare up under extreme pressure or tension.
Signs of extreme stress
- Sudden panic attacks, constant state of anxiety
- Feeling sad and depressed about everything in life
- Feeling pressured or hassled at work, home
- Lack of confidence and self-esteem
- Sleeping problems
- Physical symptoms may occur in the form of headaches, chest pain, stomach problems, respiratory issues or even asthma
- Allergic skin reactions like rashes, eczema
- Excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, drugs
- Eating disorders like total loss of appetite or overeating
Everyday stresses like juggling your office work, looking after the kids, managing personal finances and running domestic chores all in a busy day’s work are not big problems. However, even mild stress should not be ignored.
If you had trouble sleeping for a couple of days, if you feel irritable than usual or if you feel any pressure signs, however, mildly it is time for you to take some personal time to steady your inner self, to slow down the pace of your lifestyle, to gather strength and to rejuvenate.
Simple stress management strategies
- Be realistic about your schedule, goals and plans – While perfectionism is a healthy motto trying too hard and too fast is just pointless. Pace out your goals in a realistic manner so that you work at achieving them minus the added pressure. Ask help when you need it since no one is perfect!
- Don’t take on more than you can handle – Whether at work, play or studies if you are feeling pressured with too many things to do at one time, prioritize your work and consider cutting down the less important activities.
- Take some alone time – Every person needs some ‘me time’ in their busy schedules. Whether it is pampering you at a spa, kicking up your feet on a couch with a favorite book or singing loudly in the shower…just do it simply for the sheer pleasure it brings just for you.
- All in a good night’s sleep – Too much or too little sleep, both are harmful not just for stress inducement, but continually disrupted sleep can jeopardize your health critically. To be blunt, we all do need our beauty sleep. Getting adequate sleep means your body and mind is well conditioned and rested to deal with all the negative stresses of everyday life.
- Stay active – Regular exercise is a strong and natural antidote to stress. However, it is important to energize your body in moderate levels unless you are preparing for the next marathon or 1500 meters swim meet. Whereas compulsive exercising contributes to negative pressure a healthy dose of adrenaline rush in the body helps clear out the boredom and keep you alert.
- Relaxation is key – The opposite of stress is to relax. As much as you may feel it is unrealistic to relax with all the stress, there are many ways to trigger automatic relaxation responses from your body. Simple deep breathing, taking a bit longer in the bath, spend time with your pet, reading a good book, go for a walk or just do something that brings pleasure to you even when you are caught up in a stressful situation.
- Be firm about healthy eating – Eating good food is not a chore. Its’ just a matter of changing your perceptions about food. Grabbing fast food on the run, eating junk food because you don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal while staying on schedule will only result in adding pressure to next day’s stress factor. You can continue this until the body simply collapses due to lack of vitamins and minerals. Your body needs vital nourishment to combat pressure.
- Watch what you drink – Many people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of temporally easing stress. Constant reliance on alcohol leads to perpetual pressure, loss of focus and erodes the immune responses.
- Finally, learn to take life in your stride – Solve the little everyday problems because the few problems at the end of the day are always a happy outcome. Big or small, solving a problem puts you in control and ready to take on the next challenge. Whereas piled up unresolved issues will just keep niggling at you making you feel constantly overwhelmed. Complain less and start believing in yourself. Let the little stresses in everyday life encourage you to take positive action in reaching your goals.
However, there may be times when you simply don’t want to face even the most normal everyday chores, when you feel depressed, lethargic or suffer from stress symptoms at the mere thought of just stepping out of your home.
The pressure that goes beyond everyday tension needs immediate attention and rectification. This type of stress can result from various difficult life situations.
The death of a loved one, a critical sickness, family conflict, severe financial issues, divorce, intense emotions… these are stress factors that need careful management and need time to resolve.
Yet a person, who have gained coping skills and ability to control mild stress through above described stress buster practices have a better chance of coping with extreme stress inducing conditions. The ability to cope with everyday stress through healthy lifestyle choices makes you stronger to face difficult life situation even if you don’t realize it.
One of the most important aspects of stress management is to seek guidance, support on a professional level especially when stress occurs due to difficult life situations or when you are at risk of stress overload. For serious stress is not like everyday tension.
Don’t ignore the signs, be kind to yourself and seek guidance to help you cope, adapt to or resolve your precise condition.