What exactly is stress?
Stress is a state of strain, whether it be mental or physical. It is the body’s response to events that requires attention or actions that are often pronounced when one is frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is what keeps us alert, motivated, and primed to respond to danger. However, chronic or sustained stress alters biological and chemical processes in the body often leading to depression. It elevates cortisol referred to as “stress hormone” and reduces serotonin and neuro-transmitters like dopamine which regulates sleep, appetite, energy, and normal moods and emotions.
How to cope up with stress then?
Everyone has a different way of coping with stress. While some might help us lessen them others are likely to ramp up its toxic effects. If it is getting difficult for you to manage stress, we’d suggest you to take a depression test.
It is known to produce chemicals in the body that boosts our mind including endorphins that reduces stress.
2. Building, strong supportive relationship
Sharing our stress with people who we can confide in helps us to lessen it to a greater extent.
3. Yoga, meditation, prayer, and psychotherapy
They target stress by lifting our mood, allowing for increased mindfulness, and by increasing self-compassion.
4. Healthy lifestyle
Proper sleep, indulging in physical activity like running, sports, taking a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption is known to prevent and reduce stress.
5. Making time for yourself
Taking time off to pursue creative pursuits or hobbies helps to rejuvenate our senses and keep stress overload at bay.
There are few things we need to avoid during stressful circumstances.
Rather than delaying the work at hand, we should focus on completing it. It not only keeps us distracted but the feeling of accomplishment surely relieves some of our stress.
2. Isolate yourself
Loneliness can affect an individual’s physical, mental and cognitive health with adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function, and impaired immunity.
As much as one should avoid staying idle and dwelling too much over a stressful event, it is equally important to not exhaust yourself physically and mentally and take time to relax and recollect your thoughts.
4. Let yourself go
Giving up taking care of yourself, neglecting basic hygiene, and drowning in alcohol to forget your problems momentarily will lessen your ability to cope up with stress.
5. Dwell on it all night
It might be too tempting to lay in bed worrying all night long but sleep deprivation is known to interfere with ones’ ability to think clearly, preventing us from finding solutions to our problems.
Approaches to dealing with stress
1. Grounding ourselves
It is a process of balancing our physical, emotional, mental, and energy states and reconnecting them, often driven by our values.
Being more engaged and staying focused on fulfilling our responsibilities is what prevents our feelings and emotions from making us distracted from the work at hand.
Thoughts of past events, weaknesses and insecurities, uncertainty about the future are some of the things we are hooked upon.
They often lead us to get involved in arguments, withdraw from our loved ones and waste time lying in bed, none of which are useful in getting rid of those thoughts in long term. Pinpointing the exact reason, refocusing on the task at hand, engaging yourself, and paying full attention in completing it is how we can unhook ourselves.
3. Acting on our values
Goals are what we want to achieve in life whereas values define who we are. Our actions influence the world around us; people and situations we encounter every day.
Being kind, generous, helpful, forgiving, loyal are some of the values we are expected to abide by. They help us stayed focused in life and lead to ultimate satisfaction.
Ways of coping with a difficult situation while sticking to our values.
- Leave – To avoid conflicts or getting the situation out of hand
- Change what can be changed and accept what isn’t in your hands
4. Being kind
We often get hooked by unkind thoughts during stressful situations leading us to become too harsh on ourselves or others.
Failure to achieve something makes us miserable and we constantly blame our incompetence. But the correct way to handle the situation is to accept and learning from our mistakes thereby deferring such circumstances in the future.
Even if we cannot take away someone’s pain we can lessen it through our kind words and gestures. It is rightly said, “We win by kindness and conquer by forgiveness.”
5. Making room
Not everything happens as we planned. Change is inevitable. Life is full of ups and downs, successes and failures. Distracting ourselves isn’t the solution to our problems. Making room for overwhelming thoughts and feelings, analyzing them, and letting them pass will help us concentrate our energy on important tasks and engage and focus on the world around us.