To deal with stress is part of what it means to be human. You can’t have one without the other. Stress is an intricate part of our existence and our society. It is a physical and psychological response to stimuli that in many cases can help drive you to get things done. Even high levels of stress derived from illness, job loss, a loss in the family, or a distressing life experience can be a common part of living. It helps us cope and come face to face with these new realities.
The value of managing stress
If you’re experiencing unusual levels of stress, you’re placing your well-being at risk. More than 77 percent of individuals undergoing stress have physical consequences because of it. 73 percent of them also experience severe mental distress. Stress leads to depression, mood swings, coronary issues, insomnia, and dozens of other tangible physical problems. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional stability, as well as your bodily well-being. It limits your capacity to reason clearly, function productively, and appreciate life. It may seem overwhelming like there’s nothing you can do about it. The bills stack up; your responsibilities swamp you; there’s never enough time in the day; you hardly sleep; your life has become too demanding.
There are ways to control stress with simple life changes and tips.
Adequate stress control helps you cut the ties stress has on your life — you can be happier, better, and more fruitful. The ultimate goal of stress management is to lead a balanced life; one where work, relationships, relaxation, fun, and responsibilities don’t crash into one another. A life where we are resilient enough to hold under pressure and meet all challenges with gusto.
Are you stressed?
Stress is the physical manifestation of being under abnormal pressure. This overwhelming pressure comes from the rigors and tribulations of everyday life.
Stress is a common reaction to different aspects of our lives, our work, our relationships, our societal responsibilities. Everyone experiences stress. Our bodies have been, after years of evolution, carefully tweaked to handle certain amounts of stress, in normal manageable doses.
In small doses, stress isn’t all that bad. It is our body’s way of making us understand that we face an unusual situation, one that might be dangerous. Stress is intricately linked to our survival traits, it’s a vestigial response, one passed down by our ancestors, to threats. In situations, when we have to make a decision – to either face a threat or flee – our brains release hormones that instigate either our fight or flight response. Our pulse quickens, we begin to breathe faster, our muscles tense, our brain begins to use more oxygen than usual — all functions aimed at survival.
In non-life-threatening situations, stress can motivate people. Stress drives individuals to prepare for challenges — stress in small doses.
Nevertheless, TOO much stress may be life-threatening. It’s important to tackle stressful situations when you feel they are getting out of hand. It is critical to understand what are the symptoms of stress and comprehend when your stress response is affecting your overall well-being.
If you have any of these symptoms, this is a reason to seek medical help, at least from an online stress specialist:
- Feeling paranoid: constantly being worried.
- Feeling continually anxious.
- Always feeling overwhelmed.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Rapid mood swings.
- Short temper.
- Low self-esteem-
- Dermatological issues, like bouts of uncontrollable acne.
- difficulty relaxing
- Insomnia or changes in sleeping habits.
- Bowel problem.
- Muscle tension.
- Loss of sex drive.
- Overindulging in alcohol or illegal drugs to relax.
- Feelings of nausea or dizziness
Stress and our brains
Studies published in Molecular Psychiatry have found that chronic stress results in long-term brain changes. Over time, people with too much stress might develop mental disorders. Our brains create more myelin-producing cells, but fewer neurons than normal under stress. This negatively affects our brain’s capacity to communicate and interact with the world in a positive and normal manner.
Stress changes our brain’s structure
The brain is made of numerous cells that comprise what is called “the grey matter”. This grouping of cells is responsible for higher-order thinking — decision making, problem-solving, etc. The brain also contains another grouping of fatty cells known as “white matter.” White matter is critical for the way our brain communicates — it conducts electrical impulses/information between sections of our cerebellum. Stress creates imbalances between white and grey matter. Imbalances that over time might become permanent.
This in turn means that our brain might begin to shrink, our memory might be impaired, and a lot of our brain cells killed.
And these are just the way chronic stress hurts our brains.
How to reduce stress in our life — How to improve your mental health.
Physical activity can help improve your sleep cycle. It also helps with your mood by releasing several hormones like endorphins and endocannabinoids. People who exercise also tend to feel less anxious and more positive about themselves.
The benefits of eating healthy extend way beyond your looks and a slimmer belly. A healthy diet can improve your immune system, help your mood and lower your blood pressure. Sugar and fats have negative effects which trigger stress hormones.
If you struggle to fall asleep, you might be suffering from insomnia. A lack of sleep increases your stress level. Try to limit your alcohol intake, drink less caffeine, get out in the sunlight and soak up the vitamin D — don’t look at screens 30-60 minutes before bed, try to meditate and relax beefier at bedtime.
When to seek help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to understand that you are not alone in this fight. Every age group – Millennials, Boomers, Gen Xers, Matures – suffer from stress. 3 out of 4 Americans suffer from chronic stress.
Seek out professional help and schedule an appointment with a doctor and manage your stress levels today. Either contact a specialist and get in-patient care or seek out a Teletherapy service.