Stress is a standard physical response to events that threaten or upset your balance in some way. When danger is sensed - whether real or imagined - the body's defense system switches to action mode in a rapid, automatic process known as the "fight-or-flight" reaction.
The stress response is the body's way of protecting you. When working at its optimum capacity, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can in fact save your life - giving you additional strength to protect yourself or spurring you on to act.
The stress response also helps you to rise above yourself and meet unforeseen challenges. Stress keeps you on your toes, sharpens your concentration or drives you to prepare for a battle ahead.
But beyond a certain point, when stress becomes your constant companion, it stops being helpful and starts causing major health anomalies, so much so that, your mood, productivity, relationships and quality of life are all on the line.
Common stress reactions include tension, irritability, inability to concentrate, and a variety of physical symptoms that include headache and a fast heartbeat. Yet, it is almost impossible to live without some stress as it adds spice and excitement to life.
How to seek stress relief?
Seeking relief from stress starts with identifying the each and every source of stress. Most sources aren't always obvious and could very much be a part of us like stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. There are many healthy ways to seek relief from stress, but they all require change. Either the situation needs to be changed or the reaction. So the best motto would be to adhere to the four A's: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
- Avoid unnecessary stress
- Learn how to say 'no'
- Avoid people who stress you out
- Take control of your environment
- Avoid hot-button topics
- Pare down your to-do list
- Alter the situation
- Express your feelings instead of bottling them up
- Be willing to compromise
- Be more assertive
- Manage your time better
- Adapt to the stressor
- Reframe problems
- Look at the big picture
- Adjust your standards
- Focus on the positive
- Accept the things you can't change
- Don't try to control the uncontrollable
- Look for the upside
- Share your feelings
- Learn to forgive
- Make time for fun and relaxation
- Set aside relaxation time
- Connect with others
- Do something you enjoy every day
- Keep your sense of humor
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce caffeine and sugar
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
- Get enough sleep
What is stress management?
Stress management includes techniques that endow a person with effective coping mechanisms for dealing with psychological stress. This emotional stress is defined as a person’s physiological response to an internal or external stimulus that triggers the fight-or-flight response. Stress management is effectual when a person makes the most of strategies to cope with or alter stressful situations.
While unchecked stress is incontestably damaging, there are many things that can be done to reduce the impact of stress and cope with the resultant symptoms.
Although, most of the times it may seem as if the stress in our lives is out of our control, but, with some thought and management response to the stress can be controlled to a great extent. Taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, environment and the way you deal with problems is really all about stress management. You should be in a position to change the stressful situation when you can and change your reaction when you can't, saving yourself from a stressful situation and making time for rest and relaxation.
However difficult it may be to alter your levels of stress, but making that much deserved change can save you from falling in the grip of stress. In fact, the simple realization that you have the ability to be in control of your life is the very foundation of stress management. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun - as well as - the resilience to stay upright under pressure and meet the challenges head on.
What is stress treatment?
Here are some ways you can help yourself to deal better with stress:
- Regular exercise regimen for 30 minutes every day can be a very effective stress buster
- Share responsibilities at work and don't make yourself indispensable at work
- Be more assertive and don't agree to things that are beyond your responsibility domain
- Drink in moderation so that you can cope better
- Drink caffeine in moderation
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables
- Organise yourself
- Spend time with yourself
- Practice healthy breathing techniques
- Interact with your friends or family
If stress is causing physical symptoms and making normal functioning a difficult proposition, then see your doctor because prolonged or heightened stress can be harmful and needs stress treatment.