Complicated and stressful situations can consume you little by little if you don’t know how to deal with them. Therefore, it is important to learn how to manage stress.
Stress management is complicated and can become a vicious circle that, paradoxically, creates even more stress. While a certain level of stress is considered beneficial because it can help overcome difficult situations, such as an exam or job responsibilities, stress can be harmful if not kept under control. Fortunately, there are techniques and habits that show you how to cope with stress and prevent it from paralyzing you, causing uncontrolled reactions, anxiety and even physical illness.
Each of us felt stress, experienced negative emotions and the sensation of knot in the stomach, tense or restless. Stress is often seen as something new outside: “X situation stresses me” and very often we do not realize that stress is something very personal and subjective.
Stress involves discomfort, negative emotions, but also changes in the way our body works. These changes appear to help us cope with situations we need to adapt to, may be difficult, painful or important to us.
We want to get rid of stress ?
It depends on the type of stress. At one point I heard the comparison between stress and the strings of a violin. If they are too low it sounds ugly, if they are too wide it is possible to break, it must be to a certain degree stretched for the violin to sound good. The same with stress, if it is too little, we are apathetic, unmotivated, inefficient, if it is too much we are agitated, disorganized and irritable. If stress is at an optimal level and if we evaluate stress as a state that helps us function efficiently, it can stimulate us to gather the resources we need to successfully meet the challenges.
So, when it comes to acute stress related to situations that inevitably occur in our life, it is more efficient to accept it and to see it as something beneficial that can motivate us. But if we talk about chronic stress it is important to eliminate it. And the difficulty is that precisely this type of stress is more difficult to control, because often people do not notice it anymore, they get complacent in the situation and feel only their physical and emotional effects. There are those who have health problems, they go to the doctors trying to identify the causes without realizing that their daily life is full of factors that shorten their life.
How to cope with stress
Stress is the normal reaction of the body to complicated situations. Dr. Hans Selye has identified three stages of stress that define the different states we experience when we are exposed to stressful situations:
This is the immediate response to a dangerous or difficult situation. Heart rate increases, hormones such as cortisol are released, and your body receives an adrenaline boost that helps you react.
After the initial impact, it is normal for the body to relax and return to its normal state. However, if you do not overcome the stress-generating situation, your body will still be alert and will get used to the high blood pressure and modified hormone levels
Stress becomes chronic and the body depletes its reserves to fight it. At this point, emotional and physical effects, such as:
- Psychic collapse
- Weakening of the immune system
- Gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disorders
Sometimes stressful situations are inevitable. But, if you find a way to manage them, many of the negative consequences of stress can be avoided or at least mitigated.
How to cope with stress successfully
The American Psychological Association (APA) argues that there are several types of stress and that each person must find their own way of managing this problem.
Therefore, each person should discover the causes of stress in their case to eliminate as much as possible the situations that produce it.
Stay away from the stressful situation at least temporarily
Once you’ve identified the stressful situation, get away from it as much as you can. It is not about avoiding a problem you must solve, but about taking a mental break from it.
How to cope with stress through exercise
Physical exercises regulate the physiological processes that are affected by stress and anxiety. A study of more than 10 years by 288 families showed that those who exercise physically had less anxiety and went through the initial stages of stress much faster than those who do not do any physical activity. This is the result of several reactions that exercise causes in the body:
During exercise, endorphins are secreted into the body. Endorphin is a natural painkiller that relieves stress. Hormonal activity decreases during exercise, which means that the body will secrete less cortisol, considered the stress hormone.
Also, physical activity helps you sleep better, which means that your mind and body will be more rested.
A daily exercise routine such as walking, dancing or biking can help you get rid of stress.
Yoga is one of the best ways to manage stress. In addition to the benefits of the physical exercises discussed above, studies have shown that yoga acts as an antidepressant and anxiolytic and relaxes the mind.
In addition, yoga supports concentration, so it helps to separate yourself mentally from stressor. Find the right place and spend several minutes a day practicing yoga.
Meditation helps to relax the body and mind. Focusing only on the breath or the environment around you will force you to separate yourself now from the stressful problem and give you a new perspective.
It has been shown that natural herbal teas such as valerian, green tea and lemon balm reduce stress.
Get involved in fun activities with people who make you feel good
Socialization is a powerful tool to eliminate anxiety when used properly.
After all, any activity that helps clear your mind will help you manage stress. If you focus your attention on something other than your problems, you will have a calmer mood. If the activity you choose is also fun, this will be even more useful, as laughter helps relieve stress.
You can also undertake other activities that give the mind and body a break. Listening to music, visiting new places in a good company, practicing a hobby such as painting, writing or crafting are excellent options. Doing different and fun things will distract you from stressful situations.
If none of these things work, it is a good idea to seek the help of a specialist in the field. Therapists are ready to help you manage stress and guide you on the best way to overcome it.
Coping with stress can be akin to towing a large tonnage container. With a powerful truck you could handle it over long distances without problems, but not with a car.
If you try to do this even for a short distance, you risk destroying the car’s engine. The same thing can happen with your “engine” if you get “overloaded” due to stress.
Is the situation without a way out? Certainly not! To avoid overwork, you will need to ease your “load” or increase the power of the “engine”.