This is How You Deal With Stress!

Challenges in our environment. It is something that is part of normal life and experienced by everyone from time to time. Stress helps us cope with life’s challenges and is sometimes a healthy response. Long-term stress of course has the opposite effect, it can worsen your physical and mental health. Some people suffer so much from the stress that their quality of life is seriously affected. Stress management is an important consideration when it comes to good health. Being aware of what causes stress can increase your ability to avoid or cope with stress. Identifying stress factors is an important step in this. If you often experience stress, take the time to think about what causes this to happen to you.

Possible causes of stress

There are a number of things that can cause stress, think of the following:

  • Dealing with illness (yourself or someone you know)
  • Work-related conflicts (bullying, intimidation, high workload)
  • Life changes (marriage, divorce, retirement, having a child, moving)
  • Want to keep all balls in the air (fulfill multiple tasks/roles at the same time)
  • Financial problems
  • Worrying about what to do with your life (which way should I go)
  • Job loss/job insecurity
  • Planning events (birthdays, holidays)

It is important to take measures to deal with situations that are stressful for you. This allows you to continue to function well and lead a positive and productive life.

The stress response – what is stress?

Stressful situations trigger a physical response known as the ‘fight or flight response’ or stress response, it is your body’s emergency response system. The brain sends signals to the body. This tightens the muscles and the adrenal glands release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help prepare your body for a fight or flight to safety. Your organs are programmed to respond in certain ways to situations that are perceived as challenging or threatening. Your heart is pounding, your blood pressure rises, your breathing speeds up to get more oxygen into your blood, and your body releases sugars and fats into the blood for energy. 

In the short term, the stress response can help you deal with a difficult situation. But long-term stress can lead to physical damage and can cause high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, insomnia, heartburn, an increased risk of heart disease, and many other health problems.

Symptoms of stress

Some symptoms of stress are:

  • Have a headache often
  • Feeling irritated and cranky more quickly
  • Sore muscles
  • Bad sleeping
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • A sensitive/irritated stomach
  • Changes in appetite
  • Red patches on the skin/rash
  • Concentration problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased motivation
  • More sensitive to illness (colds, stomach flu)

Stress management strategies

There are many ways to deal with stress. Below a number of ways/tips.

  • Accept the things you cannot change. Did you know that we stress a lot about things that we cannot even change? If you realize that you are stressing about something that you cannot change, stop immediately.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress. Don’t say yes to everything, keep your own boundaries. This way you stack a hundred things that you have to do.
  • Change the things you can influence. Don’t think about it too long. Are you stressed about something you can do something about? Then do it right!
  • Learn what your triggers are, adjust your attitude, and focus on the positive. Learn about yourself that causes you stress. Adjust your attitude to this and try to keep seeing the positive side of the situation.
  • Make time to relax. Relaxing and doing fun things are very good for the body and mind. Restful activities can make a physical change such as: lowering your blood pressure and slowing your breathing, oxygen consumption, and stress hormones.
  • Choose a healthy lifestyle. Exercise releases all kinds of good and positive feelings. Try to eat as healthy as possible, go for balance. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. And get enough sleep.
  • Set goals for yourself. Setting goals for yourself gives you a sense of commitment, control, and optimism. Especially when the goals are also achieved.

The connection of body and mind

We may sometimes overlook the connection between physical and mental health because we live in a culture where we want quick fixes and we are mostly solution-oriented. For every problem (headache, weight loss, aging, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem) we are inundated with marketing claiming to provide the perfect solution (for a fee or recurring payment). Having good mental health is a process involving both physical and psychological approaches and where the connection between the body and mind cannot be overlooked. A healthy person is physically able to participate in daily life, can handle emotional ups and downs, and maintain healthy relationships with others. Poor physical health can lead to a higher risk of developing mental health problems. Mental illness has been shown to profoundly affect physical health. And this works the other way around, if you have many physical complaints, this will also affect your mental health.

Your mental health is related to:

  • The ability to learn
  • Involved in activities
  • The ability to form and maintain relationships
  • The ability to feel, express and handle positive and negative emotions.
  • Adaptability to changes and coping well with problems.

A healthy mind for less stress

If you are working on a healthy physical and mental health, the following things can be very helpful.

Physical activity. Exercise and exercise can greatly improve your mental well-being. Even a short ten-minute walk will make you more alert and positive. Exercise can release healthy endorphins in the body and increase your energy.

Diet and nutrition. Are essential for a healthy body and mind.

Sleep and relax. Often this is compromised if you suffer from a mental disorder. But sleep is essential for your body.

Communication and socialization. Meeting friends and family is good for a person. Even just being physically present in the company of others can have a positive effect.

Felix Tammi

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