STRESS AND US
Everyone feels stress at one time or the other; sometimes life happens and we feel so overwhelmed that it is almost choking. When we are stressed, we feel weary, angry, and reluctant and a number of different emotions depending on what are causing the stress. It can also affect the way we relate with people around us. Stress affects both our mental and physical health.
But what is Stress?
According to the Mental Health Foundation website Stress “can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are manageable.” Research has shown that stress put us in the “Flight or Fight” mode which means that it makes us what to either run from what is causing us the stress or fight the cause of the stress.
It also activates our immune system and spurs us to act quickly in dangerous situations. Take for instance, your boss at work keeps giving you more than your workload, forcing you to meet an impossible deadline and bullying you. You might either decide to quit the job or stand up to your boss.
Stress can either be long-term or short-term depending on the nature of what causing you stress. Say you want to do a presentation in front your boss and some clients, you might feel momentarily feel stressed because you are afraid that you might botch it and lose your job; that is a short term stress, it exist for a short period of time. If on the hand, you are have a lot of debts and bills to pay and you are broke, it is very natural to feel pressured which can be considered as long-term stress.
What causes Stress?
Different things make different people stressed. Especially as the corona virus pandemic continues to spread, people are living in angst and are stressed. Aside from the recent issues bothering the world, a host of other things can cause stress. Maybe a bad divorce, a bad debt that you can seem to pay back or the fact that your girlfriend is cheating on you or that your dad is sick and is in the hospital, they are a lot of things that can make you feel unable to breathe.
But the causes of stress are not always bad, they can also be things we perceive to be good for us. For instance, you move into a new house, it is a good thing but the idea of unpacking and arranging everything to your taste might not hold a lot of appeal to you because of the work that it is involved.
We live in a world that constantly evolving and it seem we always have to be move. Sometimes even ordinary things like the traffic jam you meet on your way to and back from work can stress you out even if the stress is short-lived.
Often times, long-term stress is caused by the things are dear to us, the things that affect our daily lives and seem like they are out of our control. They put us in the “Flight or Fight” mode for a long time, leaving us struggling to cope and feeling weighed down.
What are the Signs of Stress?
Stress affects every aspect of our lives. When we experience stress, we tend to feel a myriad of emotions like sadness, angst, fear, anger, weak, reluctance; most of these emotions are unpleasant. Stress also has a huge effect on our mental health; it can lead to various mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress or bipolar disorder. It can also lead to depression or even suicide.
Stress can also make us feel withdrawn and lonely.
We become weepy, irritable and indecisive; which leads to insomniacs overnight and prefers to drown in ourselves, May crave the bottle to numb the pain? We crave sex more or crave it less, smoke and also become more aggressive, which affects the way we relate with friends and family.
Stress doesn’t only affect our mental health but also our physical health. Just imagine being stuck in traffic jam for two hours from on your way back from work, a headache is bound to develop. We breathe faster, have heart palpitations and feel different kinds of aches. On a long run, we may experience change in eating and sleep habits. Research has also proven that long-term can also lead gastro-intestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or stomach ulcers as well as diseases like cardiovascular disease.
Can Stress be good for us?
Research has shown that sometimes stress can be good in fact beneficial to us. This is because when the pressure that comes out from stressing, can help us make it through difficult situation like a job interview or taking part in a competition. After we have made it out of these situations, we will return to our normal selves without any bad effects to our overall health. Stress is however beneficial in short-term situations, when the cause of stress turns long-term it becomes overwhelming.
What is stressing you?
Find out the cause of the stress and try to reduce or totally remove it from your life. Identify everything makes you feel overwhelmed and try to reduce its effect on your well-being
- Check your Lifestyle
Check your sleeping habits and eating habits, your interactions with people, and every part of your life and resolve to work on not being stressed. Organize and prioritize your activities, and reduce the workload on your shoulders. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, take out time away from your usual routine, try to sleep well and try to relax your mind. All these will help relieve stress.
- Have a support group
As my dad always says, “No man is an island.” Surround yourself with people who are willing to help you in any way they can when you need it. Avoid people who are leeches and are toxic to your well-being. Have friends and family that you can talk to when the need arises. Have a strong circle of positive people.
- Stop Drinking and Smoking and Pills
Reduce and stop habits like drinking, smoking, pill consumption and any other addiction that is harmful to your health. The answer is not in the bottle or the ecstasy, addictions give. On the other hand, these addictions make things worse; research has shown that alcohol and caffeine increase anxiety which is a symptom of stress.
- Take easy on yourself
Life happens, don’t kill yourself over it. Take it easy on yourself, relax your mind, you can make it through. Write down the thing that you have achieved or that makes you feel satisfied, these things will help you through it.
If you feel you can’t control your emotions and situations, you need to get help. Seeking help doesn’t mean you are incapable of taking care of you but it means that you are taking responsibility for yourself and recognizing help when you need it hereby getting the help u need. Seek professional help too.
Stress though can be good sometimes has the tendency to disrupt your life and also cause permanent damage to your life.
Try to avoid to be too stressed and when you are, try as much as possible to take care of yourself and relieve stress.