Stress, a growing problem.
With the hustle and bustle of today’s world, the excess of information, and the natural demand for personal and economic growth, it is essential that each one of us learn measures to manage and reduce stress.
So what is stress exactly?
It is basically a term defined as a set of signals from the organism, feelings of emotional or physical tension that arises during events where you feel angry or frustrated, which is basically your body reaction to a demanding situation or a challenge.
Stress is understood as the physiological and behavioral response to a certain event, leading the person to feel threatened and interfering with their balance. Faced with situations of the threat of danger, the human organism naturally activates an automatic response considered a survival mechanism called “fight-flight-freeze” which is basically the body’s natural reaction to danger that helps you react to perceived threats and life-threatening situations. This response instantly causes hormonal and physiological changes.
This is a natural process that has adaptive characteristics, however, in some cases, the experience of Stress ceases to be lived only as a natural and immediate response to situations of danger, lasting for long periods of time, and may become painful and result in extreme difficulty in managing and experiencing day-to-day life.
Stress is a determinant of quality of life and one of the main causes of occupational disease, as well as one of the main promoters of Burnout, with direct implications both for the health of individuals and their professional results.
As a rule, the person suffering from Stress feels that he/she cannot control his/her time or manage all the tasks he/she is in charge of and resents the pressure of trying to balance work and his/her personal responsibilities, causing a direct impact both on his/her personal life, as well as a professional performance.
Currently, we can say that we live in a vicious cycle of stress, characterized by anxious and depressive states and chronic fatigue, which gives rise to poor quality of life.
There are several strategies that facilitate stress management, however, I don’t believe there’s a formula as it shouldn’t be seen as “a size fits all”. It always depends on the individual’s personality and the potential stressors for that particular person.
There are several sources of stress, and they are usually situations that can be felt as being out of the person’s control such as family illness or death of someone close; loss of a job, money troubles, etc. They are usually situations that require change, and adaptation requires resilience and tailored skills to deal with a stressful situation.
Nevertheless, there are some precautions we can take in order to manage stress. Stress is not, in itself, a negative thing. It all depends on the circumstance and how we manage it. Anxiety helps us to be more alert to what surrounds us, but it can be harmful if it jeopardizes our well-being.
There are ways to avoid stress that are worth knowing, in order to better manage this reaction of our body. Therefore I would like to share with you 7 precautions to take, in order to manage stress:
Identify the source of stress
Before controlling stress, it is necessary to be able to identify its origin, that it is, what are the situations and/or the people that cause it.
For this, it is important that you establish a relationship between the episodes of stress and the situations you were experiencing at that time and/or the individuals you were with. Whenever possible, you should avoid stressors.
Stress can be triggered by a problem that may seem impossible on the surface. Learning how to find solutions to your problems will help you feel more in control, thereby lowering your stress level. A problem-solving technique involves writing down the problem and creating as many solutions as possible. Decide the good and bad points of each and select the best solution. Write down each step you need to take as part of the solution: what will be done, how it will be done when it will be done, who is involved, and where it will be done. Be the protagonist!
Learn to say “no”
A common cause of stress is having too much to do and too little time to do it. And yet, in this situation, many people still agree to take on additional responsibilities. Learning to say “no” to additional or unimportant requests will help to reduce your stress level.
I understand that sometimes, we subject ourselves to situations that are too uncomfortable and unpleasant for us, just because we can’t say “no”.
The thing is, to learn to say “no”, you need to understand why you find it difficult. Many people find it difficult to say “no” because they want to help and are trying to be kind and pleasant. For others, it is a fear of conflict, rejection, or missed opportunities. Remember that these barriers to saying “no” are all self-created.
However, it is necessary to know when something is really mandatory or when it is we who are unable to deny an invitation. This is a basic principle that you must follow, as it is a way of respecting yourself and making others respect you as well.
Live a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercise regularly
These two aspects are very important in controlling day-to-day stress.
It is important to have a healthy diet, based on fruits, vegetables, fiber, and vitamins and to avoid fats, sugar, coffee, alcohol, and tobacco.
You should also try to avoid or reduce your intake of refined sugars – they are contained in many manufactured foods. In general, try to eat a healthy, balanced, and nutritious diet.
Avoid, or at least reduce, your consumption of nicotine and any beverage that contains caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and thus increase your stress level, instead of reducing it. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities, but acts as a stimulant in smaller quantities. Therefore, using alcohol as a way to relieve stress is not helpful.
Swap caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and stay hydrated, as this will allow your body to cope better with stress.
Regular physical exercise contributes to the production of endorphins by our body, which increases the feeling of well-being. Therefore, you should do physical activity daily, for at least 30 minutes. It is important that it is an activity that you enjoy.
Share what you feel
Whether with family, friends, or an expert, it is important to share your feelings and emotions. Failing to externalize these tensions can cause physical and psychological disturbances. Talking about what bothers you is really a therapeutic way to reduce stress levels.
Talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. Talking can work, either by distracting you from your stressful thoughts or by releasing some of the accumulated tension by discussing it.
Stress can obscure your judgment and prevent you from seeing things clearly. Talking to a qualified professional like a psychologist can help you find solutions to your stress and put your problems in perspective
It is essential to manage the various aspects of your life and find time for work, family, leisure, etc. For this, it is important to define priorities and objectives and not have the ambition to want to do everything.
How often do we feel overwhelmed with our to-do list? Well, this is a very common cause of stress. Accept that you can’t do everything at once and start prioritizing your tasks.
Make a list of all the things you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do in person and what can be delegated to others to do.
By editing what may have started as an overwhelming and unmanageable task list, you can break it down into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks spread over a long period of time, with some tasks removed from the list entirely through delegation.
Also, remember to create time off to deal with unexpected and emergency tasks and include time for your own relaxation and well-being.
Adopt an optimistic attitude
Being more positive, confident, and flexible can even help to increase resistance and fight stress. A negative posture further accentuates the state of stress.
In situations of a lot of pressure or stress, thinking about something positive that happened in your day or week can be a good way to relax.
Research suggests that good thoughts can be a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and illness. Previous studies have found that people with strong positive emotions have lower levels of chemicals associated with stress. In addition, by adopting a positive attitude, the person may even be able to undo some of the physical damage caused by stress.
Learning to relax your muscles and mind is an excellent way to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. This is a very effective way to prevent or counter anxiety and stress.
Every day, try to relax with a stress-reduction technique. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress, so try a few and see what works best for you. For example, try meditation, which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk or in the car.
If you’re not feeling well it is ok to stop and have a break. A short rest period will allow the body and the mind to recover quickly.
Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and that improves with practice.
Hope you find these strategies helpful and manage to reduce and manage stress in your life.
Getting some self-knowledge will help us to understand our strengths and those in which we feel most vulnerable and thus gain skills that allow us to respond to stress and its effects.
And if you liked this content, I invite you to leave a comment, telling me what you think and what you do to manage your stress, to share it on your social networks, and to continue following us.