Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. It is a normal part of life as we all need a certain amount of stress to energize and motivate us to take action. However, stress can become a problem when it is overwhelming and we’re exposed to it for a prolonged period of time. Coping with stress effectively is all about finding a balance and keeping it at manageable levels.
Causes of stress
According to the Silver Cloud digital mental health, when we feel we are in danger, our mind tells our body to get ready to fight, flee or freeze. This can happen when we feel overwhelmed by what is being asked of us and feel under-resourced for coping with these demands. We can perceive this as being a threat to our physical or psychological well-being.
There are two main types of stress:
- Acute stress. This is short-term stress that goes away quickly. You feel it when you slam on the brakes, have a fight with your partner, or ski down a steep slope. It helps you manage dangerous situations. It also occurs when you do something new or exciting. Everyone has acute stress at one time or another.
- 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 goes on for weeks or months is chronic stress. You can become so used to chronic stress that you don’t realize it is a problem. When you have chronic stress, your body stays alert, even though there is no danger. If you don’t find ways to manage stress, it may lead to health problems.
How to manage stress
Below are healthy ways with which you can manage stress more effectively
- Limit unnecessary stress
- Learn how to say no
- Cut down your to-do list
- Limit the time you spend with toxic people
- Take control of the situation
- Alter the situation.
- Make your feelings known, don’t bottle it up inside: If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment can build and the situation will likely remain the same.
- Improve your time management.
- Change your attitude: if it’s not possible to change the situation, try changing your approach to it
- Delegate/postpone task to others, this can help to free up your space.
- Self-care – when stressed, make sure to make time to do the things that make you feel better: they are not luxury, they are essentials!
- Reframe problems – Try to view stressful situations from a different perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to relax and enjoy some alone time.
- Look at the bigger picture – Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself in the grand scheme of things how important is this issue? Will you remember it in a week or months’ time? If the answer is no then focus your energy on important things.
- Adjust your expectations – Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
- Focus on the positive – When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.
- Accept the things you cannot change
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable – Many things in life are beyond our control—particularly the behavior of other people.
- Look at the flipside – As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, it can be helpful to try to see how they may also be opportunities for personal growth.
- Open up, talk to someone. The simple act of expressing what you’re going through can be very therapeutic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
So, the next time you are experiencing stress take a step back, assess the cause to see whether the situation is within your control or not. Then you will be able to choose an appropriate coping strategy