Stress affects all of us.You might be belonging to any age group, living in any part of the city, the world, the country, you might be coming from different backgrounds and cultures. Stress is a part of our life, and we need to accept the fact. Let’s talk about ways of handling stress better.
- What is stress
- Understanding what stress is all about
- Causes of stress
- Types of stress
- Effects of stress
- Cycle of stress
- People and stress
- Individual stressors, checking out vulnerabilities to stress in different situations
- Vulnerability test to stress
- Techniques to control stress
What is Stress
Stress means different things to different people. By definition: “Stress can be defined as our mental, physical, emotional and behavioral reaction to any perceived demands or threats.”
We stress out because of two reasons. When we have a situation or a circumstance on us, where in our body feels its threatfull, painful, difficult and our mind, body doesn’t have the resources to cope up with that stress. That is what is stress all about.
Understanding What Stress is All About
Understanding basic facts and concepts about stress.
- Stress is defined as how the body reacts to demands
- Stressors are the causes of stress
- Stress is a part of our life
- It is not possible to live in a stress-free environment
- Managing stress in positive ways prepare us for increasing life challenges
Causes of Stress
There are different reasons and different causes of stress. Same situation two people, one get affected one might not get affected by stress. let’s understand what are these causes of stress.
|Internal Causes||External Causes|
|Chronic worry||Major life changes|
|Pessimism||Work or college|
|Rigid Thinking||Broken relationships|
|Negative self talk||Financial problems|
|Unrealistic expectations||Stress in your family|
|All or nothing attitude||Being too busy|
There are some people who make it a habit to worry, until and unless they don’t worry, they feel something is really missing from their lives. That is chronic habit of stress.
Always thinking negative, any situation you are in firstly you think negative about that situation, which can lead to a stress.
Not being very flexible by nature, always thinking “Yes I need to think in this particular manner and that’s it”, that’s not a good habit.
let’s not expect too much out of us. Ultimately we are human beings, we are not robots, let’s do as much as we can, let’s not have too much expectation on us.
All or Nothing Attitude
Major Life Changes
Some of the external causes are major life changes. There might be a marriage on the card, there might be a change of city, change of country or even a job change. These are major life changes, which can affect you in your stress.
Work or College
You might be working or you might be in college, and that might be also stressful.
Again a big cause of stress. You might be undergoing a marriage, might be having a kind of a divorce, separation which also can be stressful.
A major cause of stress in today’s lifestyle.
Stress in your family
Any member of your family might be stressed out because of which you get affected and that’s an external cause of stress.
Being too Busy
To much of having things to do, being involved in too much of things and not being able to manage your time properly, might also be an external cause of stress.
Types of Stress
There are four types of stress:
Let’s understand these a little better.
When you feel threatened, your body feels threatened, either physically or emotionally that is threat type of stress.
Being frustrated for something which is beyond your control is a frustration type of stress
There are different kinds of pressures. Time pressure, pressure of performing well in your studies, pressure of really undergoing a major surgery or operation etc. are pressure type of stress.
Being involved with in a conflicting situation, wherein you feel that there’s something negative out of it, or you might feel that there is a change of expression, or change of thoughts and opinions with other people is a conflict type of stress.
Effects of Stress
Stress affects us:
- Health in general
let’s see what these effects of stress are.
Physical Effects of Stress
- Tight or sore muscles
- Shaky hands
- Stomach ache
- Rapid breathing
Psychically Effects of Stress
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Short tempered
- Feeling overwhelmed
Because of stress we might feel a lot of mood swings happening to us, at some times we might be really happy, sometimes we might be really sad, so there are lot of extreme mood swings which happen because of stress.
Lack of Enthusiasm
When we feel very demotivated, lack of energy, lack of passion, which is again an emotional effect of stress.
We might suffer from shortterm memory loss again an emotional side effect.
Excessive Amount of Worrying
We might lose our temper very quickly with some people, we might really snap at people, so, emotional of effect of stress.
Also one of the cause or the effect of stress.
Health in General
Stress affects our health in a very major fashion, and no need not say here how. let’s still understand what are the health issues when we are stressed out.
- Depresion and anxiety
- Weight problems
- Hearth diseases
- Digestive problems
- Cognitive and memory problems
- Skin problems
Depression and Anxiety
Well we might suffer from depression or anxiety. 80% of the population today is suffering from depression, they might not say it but they are depressed and anxious.
Either we might have fluctuating weight problems, we might lose a lot of weight, or we might gain a lot of weight because of stress also.
We are suffering from heart attacks, heart diseases, strokes, so much is happening today it’s time seriously understand, it is affecting us in a very major fashion.
Any stomach problems may be related with stress.
Cognitive and Memory Problems
Perception and memory loss.
Eczema might be effect of stress.
Well these emotional physical and health problems are because of stress and there are not good signs, we need to take measures to completely eradicate stress from our life.
Cycle of Stress
let’s see what is the cycle of stress. Stress goes through different phases and cycles and let’s understand each of these phrases.
- Reaction to stress
- Wear and tear of the body
- Reduced optimum health
- Increased sensitivity to stress
- Fight or flight
There is a stressor or trigger which helps to initiate stress, which causes negative reactions in our body, because of which we react to stress either in a positive fashion or in a negative fashion, which will help us to understand if there is a negative we will understand wear and tear of the body. If we react to stress in a negative manner, we are having wear and tear of the body, because of which there is reduced optimum health and that affects our health if we are reacting negatively to stress, because of which there is increased sensitivity to stress and which helps us evaluate whether we want to fight the stress or we want to flight.
Now what we are really trying to understand is, do you want to fight the stress remove the stress, the causes of stress from your life, or you want to flight, meaning you want to take of, meaning you want to let go and remove the stress from your life completely.
This is an individual decision whether you want to fight it or you want to run away of flight from the situation. There is no right or wrong answer in this, it depends upon individual to individual, what you would want to do with that stress.
People and Stress
Here is some research data are some statistics, and some figures which have come in terms of stress.
|Type of People||%|
Research says that 4% of people are stress producers, 16% of people are actually semi stress producers. So, if you are falling under the 4% or the 16% it basically says you’ll love to produce stress wherever you are whichever situation and with whomever you are. 36% of the people are neutral, so they are not really stress producers or non stress producers, they’re just neutral. 31% of people are happiness producers, so wherever they are in whichever situation they are they love to produce happiness, love and care. Then, there are 13% of people who are permanently stress free. Looking at the statistics and data you would love to be in 31% or among the 13% of people, who are actually stress free. Which part you are in is which you have to decide yourself.
Individual Stressors, Checking Out Vulnerabilities to Stress in Different Situations
Again, a research saying that individual stress out for different reasons.
|Relationship with partner||Apperance||Spiritual / Religious issues|
|Relationship with family||Physical health||Major / Career decisions|
|Relationship with friends||Not “fitting in”||Attitudes / Thoughts|
|Trauma||Getting married||Buying a house|
|Change in residence||Change to new school||Change in amount of recreation|
|Change in amount|
of social activities
|Change in eating habits||Death of friend / Family member|
Different people stress out because of different reasons. You might stress out because of physical health, finances, studying classes, even getting married for some people can be a really stressful situation, buying a house which is actually a very nice feeling, but ultimately also leads to stress in to some people.
Let’s try this, write down these questions:
- What are your individual stressors? (Identify what really worries you or causes tension to you)
- Whether you are able to control any aspect of the stress? (Aspects of the stress which are beyond your control)
- Is the stress caused by your own thoughts, your own decisions, your own body, or something from the environment has caused the stress to you.
When you write down this, in a very categorical manner, you are able to identify and remove the stress.
Vulnerability Test to Stress
Test a venerability to stress, to determine whether you are really affected by stress or not. This you will do with the help of a questionnaire.
This questions and answers is a test wherein you have to read all these questions on your left hand side, and you have to tick in which condition you falling to. You have to read up the questions and pick mark in the correct box whichever you feel like. So, read up all these questions very carefully. It’s your own self assessment and be really be honest about it.
|Points per answer||0||1||2||3||4|
|1) I eat at least one hot, balanced meal a day|
|2) I get 7-8 hours of sleep, at least 4 nights a week|
|3) I give and receive affection regularly|
|4) I have at least 1 relative within 50 miles on whom I can rely|
|5) I exercise to the point of perspiration at least twice a week|
|6) I smoke less that half a pack of cigarettes a day (non-smokers – almost always)|
|7) I drink fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks a week. (non-drinkers almost always)|
|8) I am the appropriate weight for my height|
|9) I have an income adequate to meet my basic needs|
|10) I get strength from my religious/spiritual beliefs|
|11) I regularly attend club or social activities|
|12) I have a network of friends and acquaintances|
|13) I have at least 1 friend in whom ! confide about personal matters|
|14) I am in good health (including eyesight, hearing, teeth, etc.)|
|15) I am able to speak openly about my feelings when angry or worried|
|16) I have regular conversations with my housemates about domestic problems|
|17) I do something fun at least once a week|
|18) I am able to organize my time effectively|
|19) I drink fewer than 3 caffeine drinks a day|
|20) I take quiet time for myself during the day|
What Your Score Means
|0 – 10||You have excellent resistance to stress|
|11 – 29||Little vulnerability to stress|
|30 – 49||Some vulnerability to stress|
|50 – 74||Serious vulnerability|
|75 – 80||Extreme vulnerability|
Techniques to Control Stress
Well, we have understood a lot of things about stress, but what ultimately will help you is how to control the stress or learn how to manage stress. Because we have understood, stress is a part of our life, so, we need to accept it and learn to live with it.
Get your shoes on, go for a jog, go for a walk, hit the gym, go for swimming, play any kind of sport. Whatever will keep you physically active will help you to reduce stress. When you are physically active, there are lot of hormones, which are positive hormones in your body which helps you to decrease your level of stress.
Connect to Others
Secondly, try to connect with others as much as you can, try and form a group of people, or your best friend, your closest friend, your family members, your sister brother, anybody whom you can share your daytoday activities with. That helps you to reduce stress.
Set Aside Relaxation Time
Thirdly, relax your self as much as you can. Find at least 30 minutes of the day which helps you to relax. Relaxation can be anything, you can really do meditation, try and do some yoga or you can also just listen to music and just relax.
Eating a healthy diet
We are living in a very environment which is lots of junk food everywhere, and we get tempted and attracted by junk food, but really, try and avoid junk food as much as you can or restrict it only to weekend’s. Try healthy diet, fruits and vegetables as much as you can.
Get Your Rest
Lastly, it is very important to get your eight hours of sleep. In today’s time it’s difficult to do, but that try and at least hit the bed for six to seven hours a day. Regenerate yourself and be prepared for the next day challenges.
Lastly, to conclude with a quotation.
“Problems will always be there, the greatest ability to fight against stress is choosing one thought over the other.”
Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing that it has to carry all the burden of a worry. Worrying will lead to stress, happiness is a choice. Learn how to be happy and be stress free.