Tips to Manage Different Types of Stress

Stress

Stress is a feeling of emotional and physical tension that occurs through an event that makes you feel angry, nervous, or frustrated. According to a medlineplus article, stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. Stress can be positive and its power can be harnessed to meet a deadline or avoid danger. However, if stress lasts for a long time, it can cause serious health issues.

There are different types of stress and techniques to manage the condition. These techniques will work for some people but may not be effective for others. There are two reasons why these techniques may not work, according to www.verywellmind.com:

  • The techniques do not match the person’s personality, or
  • They are not suitable for the situation

There many stress relieving techniques to suit different personalities and situations. Finding and following the one that will help you can help you manage stress effectively.

Here are the different types of stress and the techniques to manage them:

Acute stress: This is the most common type of stress. It usually occurs from demands and pressures of the recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. Acute stress comes on quickly and sometimes unexpectedly. It is short term and doesn’t last too long, but needs a response. Fortunately, the symptoms of this stress are easily identified by most people. It is usually triggered when something goes wrong in the person’s life, such as, the loss of an important work contract, problems their child is facing at school, and so on. Your body’s stress response is triggered with acute stress. The following relaxation tips can reverse stress and help you get back to your routine:

  • Do breathing exercises
  • Cognitive reframing – this means changing the way you look at a situation
  • Spend 5 minutes doing meditation
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation – this reduces overall body tension and psychological stress, and helps you calm down.

Chronic stress: This is the grinding stress that wears people away day after day, year after year. If it is not effectively managed, chronic stress can destroy a person’s life, body, and mind. When the stress response is triggered in the body and it is not bought back to its relaxed state before the next wave of stress hits, the body will stay triggered indefinitely. For instance, a person with a chronically ill loved one may feel stress more often in their daily life. Over time, this can develop into chronic stress and eventually lead to several physical and mental problems. It can lead to diseases such as, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal issues, depression, anxiety, and many other conditions. Due to these reasons, it is very crucial that chronic stress is to be managed.

Managing chronic stress requires a combination approach of some short-term stress relievers (like those for acute stress) and long-term habits that relieve overall stress. Emotion-focused and solution-focused coping techniques are also important to manage this type of stress.
Long-term stress relief habits are:

  • Regular exercise can help you stay physically and mentally fit
  • Eating healthy foods can bring down stress levels by helping your entire system function well.
  • Listening to music is a wonderful way to reduce stress.
  • Meditation can help you get relief from acute stress. If practised regularly, meditation will help build your overall resilience to stress.
  • Cultivating supportive relationships can help as having a solid support system can help you better cope with stress.

Emotional stress: This can hit harder than some other types of stress. For instance, the stress that comes from a broken relationship may bring a greater physical reaction and a stronger sense of distress than the stress due to overwork. With continuing emotional stress, a person might lose or gain weight. Symptoms of emotional stress include anxiety, memory lapses, mood swings, avoiding friends and family, etc. Here are some effective ways to manage type of stress:

  • Try to talk to a friend or someone you are comfortable with
  • Talk to a therapist
  • Listen to music
  • Practice mindfulness: it can help you become rooted in the present moment
  • Keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions

Episodic Acute Stress: This type of stress refers to frequent bouts of acute stress. People who have this stress type will sometimes take more responsibilities than they can manage. They may seem like they are disorganized. This stress type is the result of unrealistic expectations of themselves, for example, the person misses a deadline at work and suddenly starts having an outsized reaction. Even if his boss is not too angry, he starts thinking that he will lose his job, become homeless, and die on the streets. This panic is a reasonable reaction to the situation and can end up harming the person.

Strategies to deal with this type of stress:

  • Lifestyle changes (therapists may recommend a job change, starting a physical exercise routine, etc)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help people react to triggers healthily
  • Medication

At times, stress can help you to avoid danger and accomplish tasks more efficiently, but if it lasts for long time, it can harm your overall health. Even if it’s good stress or bad stress, learning to manage it is important to maintain your overall health.

Top Strategies for Keeping Stress in Check

StressEveryone experiences stress in some point in life. Stress could be caused due to physical or emotional causes. While it is quite normal to feel stressed sometimes, anxiety that persists can have negative consequences. If not managed properly, stress can affect your health and mental wellbeing. Chronic stress can lead the body to produce stress hormones that cause conditions like increasing heart rate, constricting blood levels, chest pain, elevated cholesterol levels, a weakened immune system, and depression. Learning how to manage stress is crucial to reduce risks of these serious conditions. Here are some strategies to keep stress in check:

  • Proper sleep: Getting a good night sleep – at least 6-8 hours – is very important to de-stress and recharge your system. Before going to bed, take a warm bath, turn off the TV, and dim the lights or read a calming book to relax your mind and body.
  • Engage in a relaxation technique that works for you: Meditation, tai chi, yoga, and deep breathing are widely recommended relaxation techniques. Find a quiet place and spend time to clear the mind, body, and soul. Experts say that deep breathing offsets the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
  • Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms: Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, smoking and drugs. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can actually increase stress levels. Alcohol can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. So when stressed, avoid these stimulants or at least, reduce consumption.
  • Exercise: When you are feeling stressed, take a brisk walk in fresh air. This can reduces stress levels. Make exercise a part of your daily routine as it can keep your body healthy and is also a great stress reliever. Activities like walking, swimming and yoga are some good options to de-stress.
  • Eat healthy: A well-nourished body can better cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Balanced, nourished meals are important to keep your energy levels up and your mind clear throughout the day. Avoid caffeine and sugary foods and drinks. Drinking distilled water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fresh juices will keep you hydrated and help you cope with stress.
  • Laugh: Studies say that laughing releases “happiness hormones” which decreases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and reduces the level of stress hormones.
  • Avoid or manage the stressors: Identify the sources of stress in your life and avoid or manage it. If it’s a person who stresses you out, try to limit the time you spend with that person. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it or adapt to it.
  • Express your feelings instead of suppressing them: Be more assertive and communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. Suppressing your feelings can cause resentment to build and elevate anxiety.

Engaging in activities that bring you joy is a great way to de-stress. Whether it’s reading, listening to music, going to the movies or drawing, try to find time for a hobby that will relax your mind and body.

Simple Tips to Cope With Stress

Cope With StressMost people experience stress on a routine basis, be it in the workplace, home, college or school. But if you ignore stress, it can lead to anxiety and depression as well as many other health issues. If you have a chronic disease, stress can worsen your condition. We can’t altogether avoid stress, but we can deal with. Here are some simple tips that can prevent stress from getting the better of you.

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can increase stress levels. Alcohol can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. So when stressed, try to avoid these stimulants or at least, reduce consumption. Drinking distilled water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fresh juices will keep you hydrated and help you to cope with stress.
  • Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep could be the reason for your stress. If you are looking to handle your stress, getting a good night sleep is very important. Try taking a warm bath, turn off the TV, and either dim your lights and relax before going bed by read a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your mind and body. Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night so that you wake up feeling fresh and energetic.
  • Engage in physical activity: To keep yourself fit and healthy, make exercise a part of your daily routine. A brisk walk in the fresh air when you are feeling stressed is a good method to manage the condition. Activities like walking, swimming and yoga are also good options to deal stress.
  • Maintain a positive attitude: Try to focus on things that you can do well and make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. There are some things that you cannot change, so learn how to respond in the right way.
  • Appreciate yourself: Do your best and be proud of your achievements. Don’t worry about perfection-if you have not reached the perfection you wanted, be happy with the closest you can accomplish.
  • Breathe deeply and relax: One of the best ways to reduce your stress levels is by doing breathing exercises. This will help relax your body and mind. Inhale and exhale slowly when you are feeling stressed out. Experts say that deep breathing offsets the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
  • Talk openly to someone whom you trust: Confiding in someone you can trust can relieve your stress. Discussing your problems can release some of the built-up tension and distract you from your stressful thoughts.
  • Humor is important: Studies say that laughing releases “happiness hormones” which decreases cortisol and adrenaline levels, and reduces the level of stress hormones.

Stress Accelerates Aging

StressGenetics is generally considered the major factor responsible for speeding up the aging process. Everyone is exposed to stress at some point in their life. However, various studies have found that increase in stress levels can add years to the appearance of your face. A study released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported that stressful environmental factors such as divorce, abnormal weight fluctuations and the use of antidepressants make people age faster.

The researchers examined 186 pairs of identical twins to see how stress affected their aging process. Here are the findings:

  • Twins who had been divorced looked about two years older than their identical siblings who were married, widowed or single
  • People who used antidepressants had sagging skin and appeared older than they actually were
  • Those who lost abnormal amounts of weight also appeared older as this had a harmful effect on their health and appearance
  • In a group of twins younger than 40, the heavier twin appeared older, though in a set of twins over 40, the heavier twin appeared younger. The researchers noted that stress was a common factor in those who appeared older

“A person’s heritage may initially dictate how they age – but if you introduce certain factors into your life, you will certainly age faster. Likewise, if you avoid those factors, you can slow down the hands of time,” said the lead author.

In an American Psychological Foundation (APA) survey, 42 percent of adults in the United States said their stress level has increased over the past five years. Even teens reported higher stress than adults.

Aging does not happen overnight, but develops slowly over a period of time, due to many factors including stress. Recent research even suggests that chronic stress damage starts before conception and affects our very cells. Several studies have linked stress with shorter telomeres, a chromosome component that affects how we age. Shorter telomeres are associated with cellular aging and risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

The key to slowing down the aging process obviously lies in stress management. This is about being in control of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and learning to deal with problems and cope with stress. Maintain a positive outlook and find time for rest and relaxation with family and friends. If you are concerned about facial aging, you can go in for cosmetic surgical treatment to enhance your looks and boost your confidence.

Protect Yourself against Stress Induced Health Problems

Stress Induced Health ProblemsMost people experience stress at some point in their lives. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines stress as the way the brain reacts to certain situations or events. While sometimes stress can motivate you to perform better, it can overwhelm you and cause serious health issues. Recognizing the symptoms of stress is the first step to dealing with the condition.

A recent report in Medical News Today discusses the annual “Stress in America” Survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), which assesses the attitudes and perceptions of stress and identifies its primary causes among the general public. The primary causes of stress among Americans were identified as money problems, work, economy, family responsibilities, relationships, and personal health concerns. The APA notes that though stress levels were lower compared to 2007, the present levels are still much higher than the average rating that is considered healthy.

CEO and executive vice president of the APA Norman B. Anderson says, “All Americans, and particularly those groups that are most affected by stress – which include women, younger adults and those with lower incomes – need to address this issue sooner than later in order to better their health and well-being.”

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), stress can influence behaviors that have negative implications for heart health. Likewise, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that women with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – a condition triggered by very distressing events – were more likely to develop diabetes than those without PTSD. A study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that for seniors with mild cognitive impairment, anxiety could speed up progression toward Alzheimer’s. Many studies have linked emotional stress to infertility in both men and women.

So how do you recognize the symptoms of stress? These vary among people and usually include

  • fatigue
  • difficulty sleeping
  • inability to concentrate
  • headache and body ache
  • changes in appetite
  • feelings of depression, anger or irritability
  • Drinking or smoking more than usual
  • Engaging in drug abuse

Once you identify the symptom of stress, you need to make a deliberate effort to improve the way you respond to stress and try to avoid or change the situations that are responsible for creating the negative stress. Experts recommend simple but effective strategies for managing stress:

  • Positive self-talk can do wonders in turning negative thoughts into positive ones. This will helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that cause you stress. For instance, instead of “I can’t do it” say, “I’ll do the best I can”.
  • Dealing with things like poor communication, too much work and hassles like standing in line on a daily basis can be stressful. Try emergency stress stoppers. When you are faced with a stressful situation, take a few deep breaths, count to ten, or walk away and say you will deal with it later. Emergency stress stoppers help prevent the situation from reaching the next level.
  • Activities that have a soothing effect such as getting together with friends, hobbies, sports, or anything else that you do in a natural way will make you feel good and help fight stress.
  • Daily relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga and tai chi are an effective way of handling stress. Join a class to learn a relaxation technique and make it a part of your daily routine.