What is stress and how can we manage it?
Stressed? Let us breathe first!
So what is stress and how can we manage it? It is normal for everyone to experience stress in their life.
- Have you ever experienced butterflies in your stomach?
- Have you ever felt your to-do list is too long and the hours in the day are not enough?
What is stress?
Stress is a normal response to emotional or mental pressure. Stress is a short-term response to a known trigger which activates our defence mechanism.
Stress typically is shown in a physical response such as sweating, butterflies in our stomach, not feeling hungry or a lack of sleep.
We need to remember stress affects everyone differently.
Stress can be helpful and isn’t always bad!
How does stress differ from anxiety?
Stress is an immediate and short response to a trigger.
Whereas anxiety is when we constantly activate our stress mechanism too much. We use our mechanism for a long period of time which causes long term effects which can be dangerous to our mind and body.
Using our defence mechanisms too much may cause us difficulties to identify what triggers our anxiety as we may feel everything or most things make us anxious.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Stress can affect us physically, emotionally, mentally and behaviourally.
- Physical → high blood pressure, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, dizzy, headaches or catching the flu.
- Behavioural → not organised, not socialising with others, drinking or smoking more.
- Mental → rigid thinking, negatively thinking, memory problems, overload, not concentrating.
- Emotional → depressed, easy become emotional, cry, snappy, feel lonely.
Stress levels can change depending on external and internal risk factors.
External factors may include major life events such as death, losing your job, not socialising with friends or family, financial problems, divorce.
Internal factors may include lack of sleep, not having a balanced diet, being a perfectionist. or having unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking or drinking too much.
Stress can present itself differently which means people will react differently to it.
Thankfully we can reduce our stress using different techniques, therapies or changes in our lifestyle.
a. Breathing can be a highly effective way to relax and prepare ourselves to combat the signs and symptoms of stress before it gets too much, and we break down.
b. Step away from the stressful activity. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and release for 4 seconds. Repeat when you feel like you have got control and can face the stressor in a new light.
a. It is important to keep track of what may trigger your stress to be able to overcome it. This is a great way to understand your own stress and can help you when seeking professional help if stress becomes overwhelming.
b. Being able to identify what triggers your stress is the first step into creating a solution to beat stress so it does not affect you long term.
Healthy diet and exercise
a. Stress can result into one indulging in unhealthy lifestyle.
b. When stressing we can become demotivated which results into becoming lazy and losing track of other activities such as eating, sleeping and doing some daily exercise.
c. It has been proven exercise can relieve stress. Ensuring you have a balanced healthy diet can give you the energy to work without feeling fatigued etc.
4. Therapies → if you feel like your stress is affecting your daily life, specialised services and mental health services can provide therapies to combat unhealthy stress.
Let us become warriors and not worriers!
If you are feeling pressured or need someone to speak to, contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat about how we may be able to help.
We have support tailor-made for adults, teenagers, children, families, and couples so do not hesitate to get in touch to see how we can support you.
You can contact the My Family Psychologist Offices between 8 am and 8 pm to book an appointment.