Are you feeling stressed due to final exams, financial problems, conflict in the relationship or work deadlines? Well, you’re not alone. Most people dealt with stress, at one point or another. It’s a normal part of everyday life
Stress is your body’s natural response to any change that requires an adjustment. When faced with a problem, the body produces stress hormones that increase heart rate, boosts energy, and prepares you to deal with the situation.
In a medical context, stress is usually associated with the feeling of frustration, overworked, confusion, fear and other negative (or even positive) changes in life.
According to a survey published this year by the Global Organization for Stress, 75% of Americans are reported to experience moderate to high levels of stress. An alarming 91% of Australians feel stress in some important areas of their lives while 86% of workers in China are affected by workplace stress. This report shows that the stress level of most people regardless of age and nationality continues to increase and most likely to stay.
Signs that you are stressed
Stress is normally associated with physical and emotional symptoms. Here are the common signs of stress:
- Acne breakouts – If you experience acne breakouts just before the final exam, it may possibly because of stress. While hormones and bacteria are the major causes of acne, being stressed can trigger the breakouts and aggravate your acne.
- Tension Headaches – Stress can cause pain and discomfort at the back of your head and neck or around the forehead. This is called a tension headache. Although it is usually bearable and won’t keep you from doing your daily tasks, the pain is still disturbing.
- Body pain – Studies have discovered that chronic muscle pain is correlated with high levels of psychological or physical stress. The more stressed you are, the tenser your muscles will be. Causing it to become strained and inefficient over time.
- Frequent illness – Chronic stress weakens your immune system. When you are stressed, your body’s production of white blood cells called lymphocytes decreases, making you more susceptible to infections like common colds and flu.
- Insomnia – Overthinking during stressful days usually results in disrupted sleep.
- Depression and Anxiety – While depression and anxiety differ from each other, both are proven to be triggered by prolonged stress.
- Grumpiness – A person under stress is more easily irritated and angered.
- Low sexual desire – According to a study, stress can not just affect a woman’s reproductive system but it can also lower down her libido and desire to be intimate.
- Poor concentration and memory – Are you having trouble with concentration? Do you keep on forgetting things that need to be done? Those are symptoms that you are stress.
- Mood swings – Premenstrual and hormonal imbalance are the common causes of mood swings. However, stress and frustrations can also lead to sudden dramatic shifts of emotion.
Is stress a mental illness?
Stress is a typical reaction when things or situation changes. Despite being dreadful, stress in itself is actually not an illness. However, psychologists advised that stress, when prolonged, can cause mental health problems like anxiety, depression or even PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).
There are three types of stress according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
Acute stress is usual and most common. This is a normal response influenced by reactive thinking like when you’re preparing for a job interview or choosing an outfit for a first date. Acute stress usually doesn’t last that long. In fact, riding a roller coaster or watching a horror film can result in an acute stress. Both will make your heart beat fast and give you tensed muscles but will subside afterward. This kind of stress doesn’t pose any health concerns.
Episodic acute stress
If you frequently suffer acute stress, you possibly have episodic acute stress. People with this kind of stress are constantly in a rush. They always feel pressured and tend to worry about everything, causing them to be anxious, irritable and hot-tempered. This often results in negative health issues like anxiety and depression.
Prolonged acute stress eventually evolved into chronic stress. This is the most dangerous type of stress. A dysfunctional family, an unhappy relationship or poverty can cause serious chronic stress. People with chronic stress usually feel hopeless and tired of seeking for a solution. If this kind of stress left untreated, it can be detrimental and pose serious mental and physical health problems.
How to manage your stress?
People respond to stress differently. Regardless of how you are coping up, managing stress is crucial to stay healthy.
Check out these 6 techniques to reduce your stress!
Daily meditation for about five to ten minutes can help ease your stress. You don’t need to attend a yoga class to meditate. You just need to sit down comfortably, with hands-on your belly and eyes closed. Take a deep breath in and breathe out through your mouth. Wear an aromatherapy shoulder and neck wrap for a more relaxed feeling. Let all the negative thoughts out of your body.
Turn on the music
Music can do wonders! It can calm the heart and soothe the soul. Create a playlist of relaxing songs or nature’s natural sound. A therapeutic face mask with soothing music while lying on your bed will surely relieve your stress and headache!
A good massage can loosen up tensed muscles and improves your blood circulation. Use a back and body massage tool to give yourself a self-massage if you don’t have time to visit a pro.
Laugh out loud
A good belly laugh can lower cortisol which is your body’s stress hormones. So, go and watch your favorite sitcom or movie with pillows on your feet to lighten up your mood.
Call a friend
Managing stress should not always by yourself. Talk to a friend (preferably someone with a positive outlook in life), share your circumstances and get a new perspective.
Get a journal and list down all your blessings and things that you’re thankful for. You’ll be surprised by how countless they are!
It’s easy to be stressed with today’s fast-paced life. However, feeling stress isn’t always bad. With minimal doses, it can motivate you to do better and increased productivity. Learn to manage stress and reduce your mental and physical health risk.
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