Coping with Stress

Stress photo
Photo by Sari Montag

Do you feel like the world is sitting on your shoulders? Does it seem like everything you do requires additional effort and brings with it an extra worry to your already overwhelmed mind?

Whilst our everyday lives involve a certain amount of pressure the times when we feel that it becomes to much to bear, or it is lasting for an unending period is when we can be defined as living with stress.

Being under a limited amount of pressure can be beneficial to us. It can help us work towards and achieve certain goals, keep us motivated in what were doing, to complete those challenges.

But when the pressure is relentless the stress can be damaging to both our physical and mental states.

We need to be aware of the symptoms of stress, to know and to understand, the moments when it can become debilitating to our wellbeing. It has been proven that prolonged and severe stress will have an impact on our health.

Many occasions will bring with it an amount of stress. The loss of a loved one, losing your job, a long term illness or financial worries can all lead to stress. Sometimes there is no particular cause but a combination of several. However, do you know when the stress is having a severe impact to both your physical and emotional wellbeing.

The Symptoms of Stress:
When we experience stress our bodies react by producing increased levels of the chemicals, Adrenaline, Noradrenaline and Cortisol. In the short term our bodies are able to cope with these differences, but the in the long term it can lead to physical and mental health problems. The diagnosis of stress is likely is you suffer from any or more of the following.

The commons signs for stress are:
* Becoming more irritable
* More sensitive to criticism
* Changes to sleeping patters (difficulty in going to sleep and awakening earlier)
* Difficulty in concentrating
* Nausea
* Decrease in appetite
* Headaches
* Indigestion
* Increase in alcohol consumption and smoking
* Nervousness (nail biting and sweating)
* Dizziness and fainting
* Restlessness
* Depression

Continued high levels of stress over a period of time can also lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, impotence and the risk of strokes.

Stress anxiety:
The pressure of stressful life events often lead to anxiety. Anxiety can affect how we think, feel and behave and have adverse effect in our daily lives. It is what we feel when our bodies react to a particular threat or experience, in this particular case, severe stress. Without a reduction in stress the unpleasant feelings of apprehension and fear can stop us from participating in things we want to. Severe anxiety can lead to the avoidance of situations, like going outside or seeing people, because if you avoid them the symptoms become less. This can lead to a vicious circle whereby on the one hand you hate yourself for not doing something, but the anxiety is so severe it stops you from doing them in the first place.

Stress Management:
The first important step is to try to minimize or remove, if possible, some of the causes of the stress. When things become to much we need to take time out in order to relax or our performance will undoubtedly decline. Do not be afraid to ask for help, even on a professional level. It does not mean that you are a failure of any sorts, but are willing to accept guidance. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can take steps to alleviate the stress.

Methods of coping with stress:
*Accept practical help (advice and assistance with activities
*Undertake on task at a time (too many tasks increase the stress)
*Find someone to talk to and share any problems (other people may have advice)
*Be prepared to walk away from stressful situations
*Find a way to let off steam that will cause no harm to anyone
*Learn to perform and receive relaxation techniques (like regulated breathing or massage therapy)
*Participation in activities that you do enjoy (this makes us happy and reduces the stress)
*Healthy living (eating right to help our bodies)

One of the responses to stress is that of anger. It may be helpful to seek professional help in anger management.

Work-related stress:
Stress in the workplace is a big occupational health problem. If there are problems people do not like to seek out help because they do not want to be seen as unable to cope.

Situations like poor relationships with colleagues, seemingly impossible deadlines or insecurity and a poor work environment can all lead to stress.

Measures should be taken such a talking to a trustworthy person or making it a comfortable environment with all your needs addressed. Be prepared to confront any harassment or unacceptable behavior in the workplace checking the companies policies and seeing what steps you can take.

Managing your stress is about taking control of the way you deal with your problems. It is better to take hold of the stress before it takes a hold of you. Do not be too hard on yourself. Everyone has those ‘bad days,’ but it is how we manage them that can make all the difference to our lives.

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