Stress is a significant cause of mental illness today and although we can’t eradicate it, we can manage it. It is important to understand that not all stress is negative. Stress may occur prior to weddings, graduations, or even social gatherings, but no matter the source of stress, your bodies respond the same. Also, some stress is good for you in order to manage skills needed for survival such as fight or flight. Experts suggest a combination of physical, social, environmental, and psychological approaches to managing stress. When we are stressed, we encounter General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS). GAS is your complex physiological responses that happen as a result of the stress and has three phases. The first phase of GAS is the alarm phase. The alarm phase occurs when we sense there is a stressor present (Body doesn’t sense whether it is a good or bad stressor), everything becomes heightened and hormones respond. The seconds phase of GAS is called the resistance phase. During the resistance phase your body resists stress to get your it back to homeostasis. If you can’t rid the stress you move into exhaustion The last phase, exhaustion, occurs when your body is tired and can’t fight anymore to get it back to homeostasis. Physical or emotional tension is often a good indicator of stress. Below is a short list of symptoms from stress.
Tension and irritability
Fear and anxiety about the future
Difficulty making decisions
Being numb to one’s feelings
Loss of interest in normal activities
Loss of appetite
And many more.
We all experience some level of stress on a regular basis but as I mentioned before, too much can be harmful to your body. Below I have listed ways in which you can deal with and reduce stress levels.
1. Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself seems self-explanatory for many but as we enter the exhaustion phase our attention to self-care begins to decline. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, treat yourself, and maintain your normal routine.
2. Stay Active
It is often said that exercise is the most underused stress reliever and this is 100% true. Working out forces you to take your mind off of the stressors and focus on what you are doing and nothing else. Get in a gym or go for a run to lower your stress levels.
3. Social Support
Being able to talk to someone during stressful times is very important. Connect with a friend or family member that you will listen to what you want to get off your mind. This can be very helpful for stress reduction.
4. Avoid Alcohol or Drugs
People often turn to drugs and alcohol in times of stress but fail to realize they only provide temporary relief. Once your “high” or “buzz” wears off, you will more than likely feel worse than before. Alcohol and drugs add to stress and do not help to reduce its impact.
I hope this information helps you to recognize when you are stressed and how to handle it. Stress is a serious issue that we tend to overlook. Stress is usually a catalyst for other illnesses such as anxiety to occur. For this reason, be mindful of your stressors and take relief from your daily burdens.