Stress and stress management

Exposure to stressful situations is one of the most common human experiences.  These situations can range from daily annoyances and the consequences of overstretched, time-pressured lifestyles, to unexpected events such as illness, loss, natural disasters, and the dramatic effects caused by war-torn environments with ever-present uncertainty and armed conflict.

Stress can be defined as the inability to cope with a perceived threat (real or imagined) to one’s mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, which results in a series of physiological responses and adaptations and also exhausts your energy supplies and actually leads to impaired performance over time.” Examples include financial, marital, work-and health-related stress.

 Effects of stress on ones body

  • Relationships, especially the more intimate ones, tend to suffer when the demands of work or life become too much to handle.
  • Mood shifts occur when there is chronic stress, especially if it is inescapable, for example, in a challenging economic situation.
  • Stress also causes behavioural changes that can affect sleep patterns. You cannot fall asleep or stay asleep due to a busy mind, or you’re waking in the early hours and unable to return to sleep.  You may find you are unable to get going without excessive stimulants like sugar.  Stress can also cause you to sleep too much, often as an escape from having to deal with your reality.

Causes of stress

  • Fear and uncertainty: When you regularly hear about the threats or things that scare you, or mostly bad news.  It can cause you to feel stressed, especially because you feel like you have no control over those events.  Fears can also hit closer to home, such as being worried that you won’t finish a project at work or won’t have enough money to pay your bills this month.
  • Attitudes and perceptions.  How you view the world or a particular situation can determine whether it causes stress.  For example, if your child has to go through an operation which causes large sum of money, when you have that amount the stress will be less since you will just be thinking about a successful operation and your child getting well soon, but if you don’t have that amount the rate of stress will go high.
  • Unrealistic expectations: No one is perfect. If you expect to do everything right all the time, you’re destined to feel stressed when things don’t go as expected.
  • Change:  Any major life change can be stressful—even a happy event like a wedding or a job promotion.  More unpleasant events, such as a divorce, major financial setback, or death in the family can be significant sources of stress.

How to manage stress

  • We know that exercise helps release those feel-good endorphins, so it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular ways to try and deal with stress. Researchers say that exercise may be an important way to promote cardiovascular health in chronically stressed individuals.
  • Learn to say: “no”when you have too many activities in your schedule. Saying no when you are reaching your limit can be very empowering. People will respect your boundaries and be more appreciative of your time when you do agree to take on a favour or additional responsibility. Be firm but polite. Practice saying “no” in the mirror to gain confidence.
  • Drink waterThis may surprise you, but keeping your body hydrated will help you feel better, improve your mood and ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs! Your body produces the hormone, cortisol, in response to stress.
  • Eat well: In addition to drinking water, pay attention to what you eat. Diets high in fiber and low in saturated fat have a positive effect on overall mood, eat well and stay healthy.

 

Beauty & Lifestyle with Nikki Boa-Amponsem

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