How Do You Cope With Long Term Stress?
Stress is a natural part of life and, in some instances, can be prove to be a positive element of our everyday living. Too much stress, however, can put a strain on our well-being and affect our health. So how do we cope with it, to get through life?
It is a well known fact that our bodies are equipped to cope with stress. Stress is a natural part of life and, in some instances, can be prove to be a positive element of our everyday living.
We tend to get butterflies in our stomach when we are excited or nervous. We get a thrill from extreme sports. For some people, this 'positive' stress can lead to heightened awareness and improves one's focus.
Long-term stress, however, is another matter entirely.
Affects of Stress
Long-term stress can be experienced from pressure at work, at home or at school. Surprisingly, we can also experience stress in social environments, especially when we feel uncomfortable in other people's company.
Stress can zap our energy, leaving us feeling drained and ill-prepared to deal with basic issues. It can make us feel run down and unable to cope in normal circumstances. It can affect us physically as well as mentally, if we don't tackle it head-on.
How your body reacts to stress
When faced with a situation that makes you feel stressed, your body releases chemicals which invoke 'fight or flight' feelings to help us deal with each situation.
A build-up of these chemicals can increase our blood pressure and heart rate and can affect the level of perspiration we experience. Cortisol, in particular, prevents our immune system from functioning properly and releases fat and sugar into our blood stream.
Long-term stress can have a serious impact on our overall health. Learning how to manage stress is essential to living a happy and successful life.
Spot the warning signs
If you manage to spot the warning signs the body gives out - excess sweating, excess flushing, nervous and sickly feelings, you can act at an early stage and combat the effects of such stress and improve your well-being.
Constant pressure, which isn't recognised or dealt with, can induce symptoms of anxiety, depression, comfort eating, regular sleeping patterns, lack of concentration and stomach cramps and headaches, to name but a few.
We even stress about being stressed, which does not tackle the problem. It is essential to take preventative action to deal with stressful situations, which in turn will alleviate its symptoms.
Changing your attitude to stress
It is important to first of all understand what causes us stress and anxiety, before we are able to deal with it in a positive way.
If you, like me, often feel anxious about deadlines and worry about what people may think of you (especially if you blush easily and physically show your nervousness), you need to learn to ignore these negative signs and focus on what you are trying to achieve and think positive. Does it really matter that you are flushed? Does it really matter that some people will just look at the physical signs of your disposition and not what you are actually communicating?
So, when you are next in a stressful situation, don't feel concerned with the physical elements of your persona, but instead find and focus on your inner strength to communicate confidently.
On holiday recently, whilst on a boat trip, I came across a woman who had a badly disfigured burn scar on her face. She was a lovely lady, with a bubbly outgoing personality, and enjoyed laughing and chatting to strangers aboard. Her persona was of a confident individual who loved life and didn't care what people thought of her. You should do the same - act confidently and you will sail through life.
Is it time to change your circumstances?
Be honest with yourself - would you be happier leaving your job for something more interesting and satisfying? Would you prefer to live somewhere more suitable for your circumstances? Could your partner help more around the house to ease the pressure? Question your circumstances and, where possible, make the necessary changes to suit you.
Putting things in perspective
No matter how you may be feeling, never lose sight of what is important in your life. We have all suffered, at some time or other, the sad loss of someone close. It is at times like this that we re-assess our lives and realise that things that may have caused us stress or concern in the past, are not as important as we once thought. We need to put things in perspective and realise that, to worry and become anxious about circumstances we can not control, is fruitless and only causes us unnecessary stress.
So go ahead - be silly - throw away your anxieties and be care-free! Life is for living. Live it well, be happy and enjoy your time on this earth. You only get one shout at it - so make it a good one! You deserve it!
I hope this has put a smile on your face and made you feel more positive and confident.
By Christina Fields
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