What is stress?
Stress is any demand, pressure, tension, or strain experienced internally or externally by an individual as a result of change or any and unpleasant or pleasant outcome.
It can also be defined as a state of mental or emotional tension resulting from a challenging situation or circumstance.
Stress causes or stressors.
-Emotional problems such as depression,
-Loss of a job or unemployment.
-Work and school deadlines
-Poor financial situations like being unable to pay debts.
-Death of a loved one.
-Overload of work
-A chronic illness or injury.
-Family or relationships problems such as divorce or separation.
-Being unable to cope with life situations, For instance, having negative attitudes towards others.
-Inability to deal with emotional problems.
-Wedding or a family reunion
Symptoms of stress.
You can easily identify some symptoms of stress. Though some symptoms may be difficult to notice,you can observe some portrayed in an individual’s behavior or actions.
These symptoms may include,
lack of appetite
Fatigue or feeling tired most of the time.
An increase in alcohol or drug use
Feeling of hopelessness
Lack of interest on things you used to like.
Lack of or poor appetite
Muscle tension or aches.
Stress is inevitable in life; any situation can cause tension or change in your lifestyle. It doesn’t matter how much pressure you have in your life, what matters is how you manage or cope with it.
It is good to learn and know when stress becomes a distraction and when it is there to inspire or motivate you.
Understand that not all situations in life are meant to make your life miserable but they can sometimes act as catalysts to make you achieve something or make you more productive. For instance, School or work deadlines are not meant to punish or stress you but Instead, are intended to make us protective .
Some stressors can produce feelings of satisfaction or happiness while others can make you depressed or exhausted.
Learning different ways to manage and adapt to life stressors positively and healthily is vital to keeping your health in balance.
1. Identify the cause of your stress .
Being able to identify the cause of stress in your life can help you walk through its demands or pressures. Knowing the source of a problem can help you find a solution that works best.
White in her book The Stress Management workbook, suggests that, you list or write down everything that you think could be causing your stress. Once you have known the stressors, plan effective ways to tackle or eliminate them individually.
Knowing the cause of the stress you are dealing with and how to deal with it can make a big difference in your life. In my opinion I think, it is easy to adapt to or deal with a situation whose cause you know than dealing with or trying to find a solution to a problem whose origin is unknown.
Do not just identify the stressor and ignore it because this may turn out to be more problematic and unhealthy. For example, you can’t just ignore and remain in an abusive relationship just because you do not want to hurt your partner’s feelings. The association may turn out to a nightmare,make hay while the sun shines my dear.Do not wait for things to get worse.
2. Talk to a friend or a counselor.
Sharing your feelings, frustrations or having an inspiring talk with a friend you trust can help you unload the stressors in your life. Talking to a person you believe in and trust can help you find a solution to a problem.
You may learn different ideas of handling a situation from different perspectives. Find genuine friends who can help you find working solutions to your problems, do not go for naysayers.
3. Take time to sleep and rest.
A Good night’s sleep and rest are essential because they rejuvenate the body. Feeling tired and denying yourself the opportunity to rest will only hurt your health and increase your stress levels.
Though stress can interrupt your sleep pattern and prevent you from sleeping, it is advisable to try and relax.
You can try different tactics such as; diffusing essential oils or getting a relaxing body massage using essential oils such as lavender or holy basil, drink some chamomile tea. Add calming or soothing colors in your bedroom to make the room look more relaxing and peaceful or listen to some soothing and relaxing music. If your room is cluttered, learn to declutter and make it conducive for rest.
Do not rely too much on medication for sleep, some of these drugs are addictive and can have adverse side effects. Avoid drinking caffeine before going to bed or watching TV until very late in the night. These tend to interfere with sleep and keep you awake.
Eat three to four hour before you retire to bed and eat a light meal.Eating late in the night can slow your metabolism rate. Go to bed at regular times so that your body as well as your mind get used to the pattern or routine.Try to have enough sleep for at least seven hours each night.
4. Learn to say no to anything that puts you under pressure.
Say no to any requests or demands that put you under pressure or compromise your behavior. Set a limit or create some boundaries about behaviors you can entertain and what you can do. In addition to creating boundaries, let others know them, so they do not cross or overlook them.
Dr Henry Cloud and John Townsend in their book,Boundaries: When To Say Yes,”When To Say No Take control of Your life,teaches that ,you need to speak up,let your feelings be known and set your boundaries clear without feeling guilty.Remember that when feelings are not expressed,they can lead to anger or resentments.
Learn to say no to request that can put you in compromising situations or creates stress in your life.
5. Avoid junk food.
It is common to see people who are stressed crave for junk foods, high in fat, salt and sugar. Most people go for comfort foods such as chocolate, chips, ice cream or drink too much Coffee when they are stressed.
Stress can also make you prone to emotional eating. You eat even when you’re not hungry because these junk foods tend to give some comfort and make you feel happy.
Unfortunately eating junk foods can impact your health negatively by aggravating the stress symptoms. They can lead to poor health, lower your immunity and make you susceptible to weight gain.
Avoid junk food at all cost but instead, eat foods that can help relieve your stress symptoms. Eat a healthy balanced diet.
Experts recommend eating simple plants plant-based diet full of whole grains, Green leafy vegetable, fruits, and nuts when you are stressed. These foods can increase your energy levels, and your ability to endure pressure.
6. Have regular exercises.
Exercising helps you to stay fit. Exercises help your body to produce endorphins. These are the feel-good hormones which protect your body against stress symptoms.
Doing preferably outdoor exercises for at least 30 minutes like working, running or hiking can help your body recover from stress. Regular exercise can help you burn excess adrenaline and other stress hormones from your body.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Exercise will not only improve your physical condition but can also help your body fight diseases, reduce fatigue, improve your concentration and enhance your cognitive function. ” This will, in turn, improve your sleep patterns.
7. Avoid over multitasking or trying to fit so many tasks within a short period.
Fixing so many things at the same time or over multitasking can cause stress. I believe you, and I do this often , and in most cases you end up feeling stressed when you fail to accomplish what you wanted to finish.
People tend to waste their precious time on unimportant things like spending time on social media and not on essential activities. As a result, we end up stressing ourselves trying to keep up with or complete important tasks like school work or family commitments.
Trying to be a jack-of-all-trades at the same time can be Very stressful. You may feel pressured to complete a task, and because you’re stressed, you end up doing a lousy job.
Majority of people get involved in road accidents in most cases because they try to multitask. You will realize that most of those involved were trying to keep up with chatting or sexting on social media while driving at the same time.Avoid over multi-tasking ,it only hurts you.
Planning and organizing your work while taking into consideration the time it will take you to accomplish it before you begin another one can be helpful in relieving stress.
Try to do and accomplish one task at a time. You will be more productive and useful than when you are doing so many jobs at the same time.
8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and other Harmful drugs.
Too much alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine or any stimulant drugs can elevate levels of cortisol in the body.
When cortisol levels are high, your moods tend to be elevated but when the effect wears off your spirit plummets, and your body starts to crave for more. To satisfy your cravings, you give in to your body’s demands, and this develops into a habit which can be very difficult to control.
Excessive intake of alcohol, cigarette, caffeine, and drugs can impact your health negatively. They can interfere with your sleep Quality and possibly lead to insomnia.
These substances can also lead to financial problems especially when one is addicted to them but can’t afford to have them. In addition to that,sometimes addiction to drug substances can make one incur unnecessary debt which can be stressful to pay.
It is advisable to take some of these substances such as coffee and prescription drugs in moderation and if possible Quit from taking them.
9. Learn to accept what you cannot change.
As human beings, it’s sometimes very had to cope with changes that take place in our lives.
Unpleasant situations in life such as death of a loved one,divorce or separation can make an individual feel overwhelmed and stressed. Sometimes it’s good to learn to accept that there are certain aspects in life that you cannot change but learn to accept and live with.
Learning to accept and cope with the unchangeable circumstances in life can have some benefits such as relieving you of worrying and stress, having a more positive attitude towards life and being able to embrace changes that take place.
Find different ways to cope with changes that take place in your life such as feeling empty and lonely after the loss of a loved one . Let go of your past, set new goals, and learn different coping skills .Find comfort by reading Raymond Mitch book’s,Grieving the loss of someone you love.You will find encouragement,reassurance and a lot of advise on how to cope.
9. Have a positive mental attitude.
Did you know that too much worrying may not solve your problem, but instead can make you more stressed? Instead of worrying about the solution to a problem, see the issue as a challenge that is meant to grow and develop you as a person.
Some problems can give you an opportunity to learn. You get to be yourself and understand yourself better. Though some issues can appear to be more difficult to handle, you should not let them chalk you. View the problem with a positive mindset; it will look less intimidating or stressful.
See them as a challenge and not as a problem. Dwelling on your problems too much can cause more stress.
10. Recognize the symptoms early and see a specialist or a counselor.
If you feel your stress symptoms are getting out of hand and you’re not able to manage them personally, then it’s time to consult a specialist. Seek treatment with a professional trained in stress management.
Don’t overlook or ignore symptoms when they’re getting worse. Do not wait until it is too late, too much stress can lead to depression or mental illnesses.
11. Spend time with positive people.
Most people who are stressed are often lonely and sad. Spending Time With Friends can help lift spirits. Being in the company of friends can help improve your mood.
Good friends will help you feel better, help you cope and overcome stressful situations in your life. Your friends can make you laugh and feel happy when you are sad. Laughter is good because it helps to improve our world view and at the same time reduce stress levels.
12. Avoid too many life-changing events.
Major Life-changing events such as a job promotion, weddings, or a divorce can cause stress. Try to avoid or limit too many life-changing events in your life if you can. For example, instead of filing for a divorce after a few years of marriage try to Consult a marriage counselor and see if you can solve your marital differences.
Make planned changes by allocating enough time for each.Schedule to do only what you can handle;over planning can cause stress.Break large duties into small manageable tasks as much as possible.This will give you ample time to do and finish with less stress.
13. Learn to forgive.
Being Unforgiving and resentful can lead to stress. Being overcome with the urge to avenge wrong doings can cause more problems rather than bring Solutions. You may end up being more disappointed and frustrated.
The spirit of Resentment and an unforgiving heart is not healthy for you, let go of them. Forgiving is fit for you and your overall well-being.
14. Listen to an inspiring talk.
Sometimes when you are feeling low, it is good to listen to some inspiring talk. These talks can motivate and lift your Spirit. You can watch an inspiring TV show, listen to a podcast, read an inspiring book or listen to some uplifting music.
I like listening to Inspire Nation podcast by Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee,not only when I am feeling low but also whenever I get a chance. They have inspirational talks on health, career, spirituality, and meditation. These talks lift my spirit.
Most of these talks are meant to inspire and teach. They can help get you out of your frustrations and problems.
15. Take supplement.
Because stress is coming these days and almost everybody has some related stress-induced health issues; researchers have discovered some natural supplements to be useful in the treatment of anxiety.
Natural supplements such as; ashwagandha,and vitamin B complex are good at relieving symptoms of anxiety.
Consult your primary physician before taking these supplements.
16. Trust in God and nurture your spiritual well-being.
Trust in God and put all your confidence in him. There are times when all things seem not to be working out. Do not give up but commit everything in God’s hands and allow him to act on your behalf according to his will.
Pray more and if possible find a prayer partner to pray with often. Your spiritual health can heal your frustrations and emotions.
Try to these strategies and tricks to relieve stress and let me know how they work for you.
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