What is Stress Management? Different techniques to handle stressproudhr
What Is Stress?
Table of Contents
Stress has become a cliché nowadays. Everyone from kids to adults feel stressed out. These days everyone from children to adults complain that they are stressed out.
Stress means any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action.
Everyone experiences stress to some degree. We face stressful situation on an everyday basis. The way you respond to stress, however, makes a big difference to your overall well-being and in life.
Stress management consists of making changes to your life to alleviate stress, preventing stress by practicing self-care and relaxation and managing your response to stressful situations when they occur.
What makes us Stressed-out?
There are many things that can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.
Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, getting a promotion or even going on holiday can be a cause of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.
What are the signs of stress?
These are some of the symptoms of Stress: –
How you might feel?
You may feel:
- Angry or aggressive
These feelings can sometimes produce physical symptoms, making you feel even worse.
How your body might react?
If you’re stressed, you may experience:
- Shallow breathing or hyperventilating
- Heart palpitations
- Aches and pains.
- Sudden gain or loss in weight
If the stress is long-lasting, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits change, or you feel less inclined to exercise.
Some research has also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or stomach ulcers, as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease.
Who is affected by stress?
We all can probably recognise some of the feelings described above. Some people seem to be more affected by stress than others. Reaching office in time each morning can be a very stressful experience, whereas others may be less affected with a great deal of pressure.
Some people are more likely to experience stressful situations than others. Some examples of factors of stress are as follows: –
- People with a lot of debt or financial insecurity are more likely to be stressed about money
- People from minority ethnic groups or who are LGBTIQ+ are more likely to be stressed about bias or stigma associated with their gender
- People with disabilities or long-term medical health conditions are more likely to be stressed about their health or about stigma associated with their condition.
Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. More than 8 2% of Indians are stressed out today. The rising stress levels even made India earn the title of being the most depressed country in the world, some years back.
Chronic Stress, Inflammation, and Mindfulness
We often feel stressed out. However, when we these feelings become long lasting it is known as Chronic Stress. It is a prolonged and continuous feeling of stress that can have an adverse effect on your health if it goes untreated. It affects every system of the body. It can be caused by the everyday pressures of family and work or by traumatic situations.
The effects of chronic stress are insidious and reflected in our lifestyle choices: we toss and turn each night struggling to sleep; we use tea or coffee to ensure we are alert throughout the day; avoid naps by having junk food and then numb and soothe ourselves at night with, alcohol, social media, or medication.
Inflammation is the body’s response to a threat: physical threat e.g., bacteria virus, cancer or mental threat. In our body, all types of stress lead to one destination: inflammation—that “fire” in our cells.
The effects of negative emotions like anger, fear, frustration, guilt, sadness and shame can cause inflammation in the upper body. If uncontrolled or prolonged, this inflammation can turn into persistent pain too. This explains the reason why people with unresolved anger or grief can often get unexplained headaches or body aches
Chronic Stress can lead to:
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Weakened Immune System
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Skin Rashes
- Lung Problems
- Alzheimer’s disease.
Some of the simple techniques to handle stress
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. Putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise.
Few reasons behind this are: –
- Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as feel-good factors
- Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
- Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga. Activities — such as walking or jogging — that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
2. Reduce your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. Consumption of high dose of caffeine can increase anxiety. It is a central nervous system stimulant. i.e.it increases your alertness. You’ll feel more awake and less tired. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you anxious, consider cutting back. Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.
3. Journaling (Thought Blogging)
One way to handle stress is to write things down. While recording what you’re stressed about is one approach, another is jotting down what you’re grateful for. Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life.
4. Chew gum
A super easy and quick stress reliever is to try chewing a stick of gum. One of the studies indicated that people who chewed gum had a greater sense of wellbeing and lower level of stress. One possible explanation is that chewing gum causes brain waves similar to those of relaxed people. Another is that chewing gum promotes blood flow to your brain. When chewed over a relatively long period of time, chewing gum has been found to reduce self-reported, naturally occurring stress
5. Spend quality time with friends and family
Social support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times. Being a part of a group or community gives you a sense of belonging and self-worth, which can help you in tough times. Spending time with friends and children helps release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
However, both men and women benefit from friendship. Another study found that men and women with the fewest social connections were more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
Stop taking life so seriously. Laughing is good for your health, and there are a few ways it may help manage stress
- Relieving your stress response.
- Relieving tension by relaxing your muscles.
Additionally, laughter can also help improve your immune system and make you feel better
E.g., Try watching a funny movie or stand- up comedy or hanging out with friends who make you laugh.
7.Learn to say no
We cannot control our situations but we can control our response to it. Identify the factors causing stress in your life and take control over the parts of your life that you can change and are causing you stress. One effective way to do this may be to say “no” more often. This is especially true if you find yourself taking on more than you can handle, as taking up many responsibilities may leave you feeling tired and overwhelmed.
Yoga has become a popular method of stress relief and exercise among all age groups. The word Yoga has been derived from the Sanskrit word “Yuji,” meaning union. It is an ancient practice that brings together mind and body. Yoga primarily does this by increasing awareness of our body and mind by focusing on our breath.
Yoga can reduce stress, enhance mood and may even be as effective as antidepressant drugs at treating depression and anxiety.
9. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness describes the practice of being in the present moment. It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking. Mindfulness techniques are often incorporated into other practices, such as yoga or meditation. It helps us to be aware of the present moment and helps us to accept things the way they are.
10. Deep breathing
Stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signalling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode. During this reaction, stress hormones are released and we experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, headache, nausea, anxiety etc.
When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.
The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises.
This helps slow your heart rate, allowing you to feel more relaxed.
Mental health and stress management
It is a holistic term and refers to the combination of cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being. It is about how people think, feel, and behave. Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, work and physical health.
It also works in the other direction. Factors in people’s lives such as issues in relationships or health issues can all contribute to mental health disruptions.
Taking care of mental health can preserve a person’s ability to enjoy life. It involves reaching a balance between life activities, responsibilities, and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.
Conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect mental health and disrupt a person’s routine.
Various mental health clinics have been set up to alleviate stress. Therapists and counsellors use many types of treatment to help people cope with stress in healthy ways. However, treatment needs to be continued for a minimum six months to a year to see visible results. Many times, people stop counselling the moment they start feeling better. However, counselling has to be continued to find out root cause of the problem and eradicate it.
How does Exercise help in Stress management?
We have heard it several times that exercise is beneficial for our physical health. However, it has numerous benefits for our mental health. Literary any form of exercise, from dancing to yoga, can reduce stress. Even if you are overweight or not physically fit, you can still do a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. E.g., Regular Aerobic exercise will improve your rate of metabolism, your heart as well as your spirits.
- Exercise releases feel good hormones known as endorphins. It can improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed.
- It reduces the negative effects of stress. It allows our body and most importantly our muscles to move, encourages blood to flow and helps us feel better
- It helps us to breathe deeper which triggers the body’s relaxation response.
- It helps you to forget everyday stressors.
- It improves your confidence level and thus improves your self-esteem.
- It helps you to get better sleep
How can you help yourself for stress management?
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
A moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in everyday situations, but too much or prolonged stress can lead to both physical and mental issues. Be ware of how you feel on an everyday basis. If you feel, you are stressed out try to find out the reason for the same. The reason can vary from pressure at job to relationship issues. Whatever is causing stress, try to find out methods to reduce stress
Remember to seek help and support when you need it
Its okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local psychologist or counsellor. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
When we discuss stress management, we should understand that this is not the exhaustive list of the causes of stress and various techniques to manage it
Stress can be confronted and reduced if and only we understand ourselves better, analysis the behaviour and identify the stressors. The stress management technique will work if we are honest with ourselves and adopt the techniques in their fullest spirit.
Stress management can help reduce the stress and make you feel healthier. We have to remember that we can not change the view of others but prepare ourselves to respond to difficult people and situations. No one is perfect so do not underestimate yourself.
Always try to practice different relaxation techniques. Meditation is a technique I have personally found to be extremely effective.
Are you looking for Emotional Wellbeing partner for your organization?
Proud HR Services provides holistic training related to stress management, emotional wellbeing and happiness at work. It also provides Employee Assistance Programs for ensuring emotional well-being of employees. It also has a panel of counsellors, psychologists and soft skill trainers who can provide support regarding employee wellness programs. For more information, pls get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org .