Stress is a common part of our lives, but when it becomes too much, we need to learn how to deal with it before it grows over our heads and causes long-term problems.
What Is Stress?
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension that can come from any event or thought that makes you frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body's response to a challenge or demand. Stress can be positive in short doses, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts a long time, it can harm your health.
There are two main types of stress:
- Acute stress. This is short-term stress that quickly goes away. You feel it when you slam on the brakes, have a fight with your partner, or ski down a steep slope. It helps you cope with dangerous situations. It also occurs when you're doing something new or exciting.
- Chronic stress. This is stress that lasts for a longer period of time. You may have chronic stress if you have money problems, an unhappy marriage, or trouble at work. Any type of stress that lasts for weeks or months is chronic stress. You may get so used to chronic stress that you don't realize it's a problem.
Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. In fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and respond to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental reactions. Stress responses help your body adapt to new situations.
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder related to stress. It is defined as persistent difficulty with the onset, maintenance, consolidation, or quality of sleep that occurs despite adequate time and opportunity for sleep. People with insomnia experience excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, and other disturbances. Current estimates report 10-30% of adults have difficulty with insomnia.
Not everyone suffers from chronic insomnia due to constant stress, but those who suffer from anxiety disorder are at higher risk of experiencing symptoms of insomnia. Additionally, changes in sleep schedule that occur due to life events or changes can also lead to insomnia.
Once chronic insomnia sets in, people often experience anxiety about sleep and other aspects of their lives. This increases daily stress, which in turn worsens symptoms of insomnia.
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What Stresses Us Out the Most?
The causes of stress are different for everyone. You can have stress from both good and bad situations.
Common Sources of Stress:
- Wedding or divorce.
- Starting a new job.
- Death of a spouse or close family member.
- Birth of a child.
- Money problems.
- Serious illness.
- Work problems.
- Home problems.
How Do We React to Stress?
The autonomic nervous system controls your heart rate, breathing, and changes in vision. Its built-in response to stress, "fight or flight," helps the body cope with stressful situations. When a person has long-term (chronic) stress, the ongoing activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body. Physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms develop.
Stress can lead to emotional and mental symptoms such as:
- Anxiety or irritability.
- Panic attacks.
People with chronic stress often try to cope with it through unhealthy behaviors, including:
- Drinking alcohol.
- Overeating or developing an eating disorder.
- Using drugs.
What Impact Does Stress Have on the Body?
Stress can cause many types of physical and emotional symptoms. Sometimes you may not realize that these symptoms are caused by stress.
Here are some signs that stress may be affecting you:
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- Frequent aches and pains.
- Lack of energy or concentration.
- Sexual problems.
- Stiff jaw or neck.
- Sleep problems or too much sleep.
- Using alcohol or drugs to relax.
- Weight loss or gain.
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What Are the Symptoms of Stress on the Body?
Your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones. These hormones increase brain alertness, tense muscles, and accelerate heartbeat. In the short term, these reactions are good because they can help you cope with stressful situations.
When you have chronic stress, your body remains alert even when there is no danger. Over time, this exposes you to the risk of health problems, including:
- High blood pressure.
- Heart disease.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Skin problems such as acne or eczema.
- Menstrual problems.
If you already have a health problem, chronic stress can make it worse.
How to Get Rid of Short-term and Long-term or Chronic Stress?
You cannot avoid stress, but you can prevent it from paralyzing you by practicing some everyday routines.
Exercise when you feel stress symptoms appearing. Even a short walk can improve your mood. At the end of each day, take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved - not on what you have missed. Set goals for your day, week, and month. Narrowing your focus will help you have more control over the moment and long-term tasks. Consider talking to a therapist about your concerns.
Try relaxation activities such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises, and muscle relaxation. Programs are available online, in smart phone apps, and in gyms and community centers.
Eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep help your body cope with stress much better. Stay positive and accept the fact that you can't control everything. Find ways to eliminate worries about situations you can't change. Learn to say "no" to additional responsibilities when you are too busy or stressed. Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support, and help you.
Some people find relief from stress through cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of short-term therapy precisely identifies how your thoughts and beliefs influence your behavior and interaction with the surrounding world. By identifying irrational or inaccurate thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones, you may be able to change your behavior and overall perspective.
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Stress Free calms the mind and relaxes the body. This allows you to function fully even in difficult situations. The natural substances contained in the capsule improve mood and increase serotonin concentration - also known as the happiness hormone. Cocoa extract relaxes the body, and other substances hidden in the capsule help against feelings of nervousness. St. John's Wort and saffron increase neurotransmitter concentration in the brain.
What are the common causes of stress?
The common causes of stress can be personal, work-related, or environmental. Some examples include financial problems, job-related stress, relationship issues, health concerns, and major life changes such as a divorce, a move, or a new job.
How does stress affect my body?
Stress can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health. It can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. Chronic stress has also been linked to various health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Stress can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and stomach problems.
What are some effective ways to manage stress?
Some effective ways to manage stress include exercise, relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and practicing good time management. It's also important to prioritize self-care and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
When should I seek professional help for stress?
If you're experiencing significant symptoms of stress that are affecting your daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. This could include talking to your doctor or a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor. They can help you identify the underlying causes of your stress and develop an effective treatment plan to manage it.
What are the benefits of managing stress?
Managing stress effectively can have many benefits for your mental and physical health. It can help you feel more relaxed and focused, improve your sleep quality, reduce your risk of developing chronic health problems, and improve your overall quality of life. It can also improve your relationships and help you feel more productive and engaged in your daily activities.
What are some signs that I'm experiencing too much stress?
Some signs that you may be experiencing too much stress include feeling overwhelmed or anxious, having trouble sleeping, feeling irritable or easily angered, experiencing changes in appetite or weight, and having difficulty concentrating. You may also notice physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and digestive problems.
How can I manage stress at work?
Managing stress at work can be challenging, but there are several strategies you can try. These include prioritizing your workload, setting realistic goals and deadlines, practicing good time management, and taking regular breaks throughout the day. It's also important to communicate effectively with your coworkers and supervisors and seek support when needed.
What are some effective relaxation techniques for managing stress?
There are many different relaxation techniques you can try to help manage stress. These include deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and yoga. Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking or jogging, can also be an effective way to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
What role does diet play in managing stress?
Following a healthy, balanced diet can play an important role in managing stress. Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly and reduce stress levels. It's also important to limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, which can increase feelings of anxiety and stress.
What are some natural remedies for reducing stress?
There are several natural remedies that may help reduce stress, including herbal supplements such as valerian root, passionflower, and chamomile. Other natural remedies include aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, and spending time in nature. However, it's important to talk to your doctor before trying any natural remedies, especially if you are taking other medications.
Can exercise help reduce stress?
Yes, exercise can be a very effective way to reduce stress. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Exercise can also help you feel more relaxed and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some good types of exercise for reducing stress include yoga, walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling.
How can I use mindfulness to reduce stress?
Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can be an effective way to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Some mindfulness techniques you can try include deep breathing exercises, meditation, and body scans. Practicing mindfulness regularly can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and develop a more positive outlook on life.
Can social support help me manage stress?
Yes, having a strong social support network can be very helpful for managing stress. Talking to friends or family members about your stressors can help you feel more supported and less alone. It's also important to make time for social activities that you enjoy and connect with others who share your interests. Joining a support group or seeking counseling can also be helpful for managing stress.
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