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The old saying that “Prevention is better than cure” certainly holds true for stress management. Regarded as a clinical problem, stress is experienced by almost every individual in varying forms and degrees every day. This is primarily due to the hassles, demands and frustrations of daily life. Besides this, you would also be surprised to find out that much of your stress is also due to a disorganized, and cluttered lifestyle. In small doses, stress can definitely help motivate and stimulate you to get things done. But, if the level of pressure gets too high, it might affect your mental and physical functioning. Here are a few ways in which you can reduce and eliminate stress…
What is stress?
Stress is regarded as a normal physical response that is experienced when there is an imbalance between demands imposed on us and our ability to cope with them. Contrary to what most people believe, stress is not necessarily harmful. For many people, stress acts as a motivation to help them perform better.
However, when the level of stress surpasses our ability to cope with it, we often feel hassled and drained. Also, it is vital to understand that the same amount of stress may be different for different people. Tasks that are easy for you to handle might be quite stressful for a second individual. Hence, identifying our stress level is as important as recognizing the triggering factors.
Stress Response: The stress response is your body’s way of protecting you during conditions of emergency or extremely stressful situations. This theory dictates how an individual reacts to situations that are challenging – both physically and mentally. Whenever your body senses any kind of danger, it immediately triggers a rapid, automatic process called the “fight or flight” response or the stress response. This mechanism involves releasing hormones and glucose into your blood-stream to provide alertness and extra energy.
Major Causes of Stress or Stressors:
- One of the biggest causes of present day stress is financial problems. Lack of money can lead to many unwanted situations like piling up of debts, credit card payments and other such conditions. In fact, financial stress tops the list of stressors as it takes a heavy toll on your mind and body.
- Another major cause of stress is issues in the workplace like conflicts with colleagues, working for excessive hours or extra work pressure.
- Sometimes, stress may also arise due to relationship hassles or conflicts with spouses, children and relatives.
- Stress may also occur due to health concerns. Conditions like heart disease, hypertension or eye problems may become a major cause of life stress for many individuals.
Tips to Control Stress: In order to lead a healthy and stress-free life, it is vital to follow certain guidelines or steps. They will help you get a better control over life and alter the way you view stress or its trigger factors.
- Regular Exercise: Not surprisingly, exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress. A regular 20-30 minutes of physical activity every day is vital to decrease stress hormones like cortisol and increase your body’s feel good chemicals called endorphins. Besides this, certain forms of exercise like martial arts or boxing can act as an outlet for releasing all your vent-up emotions and frustrations.
- Relaxation Techniques: This not only involves taking time to relax everyday but also employing certain basic relaxation techniques. This involves deep breathing techniques, meditation and practicing different yoga postures to relax your body muscles.
- Balanced Diet: What you put inside your body also determines your ability to cope with stress or anxiety. A balanced diet comprising fresh fruits and vegetables is a must to reverse the negative impacts of stress and lead a healthy life.
- Avoid Stressful Situations: As far as possible, ensure that you avoid unnecessary arguments, conflicts or any other stressful situation. Try to keep yourself calm in every way and avoid indulging in unnecessary situations.
- Sleep: Finally, a regular 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is also important to relax your mind and body. If you face any difficulty in sleep, you can also make use of relaxation techniques like listening to music or reading a book.
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