In other words, stress is an omnipresent part of life. A stressful event can trigger the “fight-or-flight” response, causing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to surge through the body. A little bit of stress, known as “acute stress”, can be exciting as it keeps us active and alert. But long-term, or “chronic stress” can have detrimental effects on our health.
CAUSES OF STRESS:
Common external causes of stress
- Major life changes
- Work or school
- Relationship difficulties
- Financial problems
- Being too busy
- Children and family
- Distance From work
Common internal causes of stress
- Chronic worry
- Negative self-talk
- Unrealistic expectations/Perfectionism
- Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
- All-or-nothing attitude
EFFECTS OF STRESS:
MYTHS AND FACTS
- Stress is inevitable.
- Stress is a part of our daily lives.
- Stress is not in our control.
- Body is designed to deal with deadline stress, as it is essential for survival.
- All other kinds of stress cause degeneration in the body, and can be worked on neurologically through simple mind exercises & can be reduced.
TYPES OF STRESS
1. Acute Stress
Acute stress is the body’s immediate reaction to a new challenge, event, or demand: the fight or flight response. Acute stress isn’t always caused by negative stress; it’s also the experience you have when riding a roller coaster or having a person jump out at you in a haunted house. Isolated episodes of acute stress should not have any lingering health effects. In fact, they might actually be healthy for you as these stressful situations give your body and brain practice in developing the best response to future stressful situations.
Severe acute stress such as stress suffered as the victim of a crime or life-threatening situation can lead to mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or acute stress disorder.
2. Chronic Stress
If acute stress isn’t resolved and begins to increase or last for long periods of time, it becomes chronic stress. Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health, as it can contribute to several serious diseases or health risks, such as heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.
3. Intermittent Stress
Contrary to popular belief that stress is bad,some amount of stress is important for survival. Stress hormone activation is needed for some simple and common daily habits like waking up from the bed in the morning. So occasional stress (deadline stress) is not bad, it is in fact essential for survival and good for us. But intermittent stress is harmful. To understand the reason for it, let us understand the stress mechanism. Stress can broadly be classified into deadline stress and intermittent stress. A person can be stressed during major occasions (needed for survival). Examples of deadline stress are meeting deadline, playing a match to win, being chased by a tiger etc. Examples of intermittent stress are anger at a traffic jam, anger at a colleague, carbohydrate shocks, stress while doing activities that one does not like. When a person is stressed, either during meeting a deadline or anger due to traffic jam, the same stress mechanism comes into play – the nervous system is activated, hormones are pumped into blood and the muscles are charged with energy. Deadlines last for a limited period during which muscles are used and energy is consumed, after which life becomes normal. But in-case of a traffic jam or other forms of intermittent stress, the body plans for action through the hormones and nervous system activation, however there is no related action thereafter. The consequence is that muscles are loaded with energy and most importantly this intermittent stress cycle is repetitive, causing long-term damage to the body. The excessive amounts of energy cause the body to pump more than required insulin into the blood causing “insulin resistance” and therefore the LSDs. Additionally, other organs cannot use energy stored in the muscle. It has to be used by moving the muscles.
Explore stress management strategies, such as:
- Physical activity
- Relaxation techniques
- Tai chi
Ways to relax your mind:
It may help to write about things that are bothering you. Write for 10 to 15 minutes a day about stressful events and how they made you feel. Or think about tracking your stress. This helps you find out what is causing your stress and how much stress you feel. After you know, you can find better ways to cope.
Let your feelings out
Express your feelings. Talking with friends, family, a counselor, or a member of the clergy about your feelings is a healthy way to relieve stress.
Do something you enjoy
Make time to engage in activities you enjoy. It might also help you get more done in other areas of your life. Try:
- Develop a hobby, such as gardening
- A creative activity, such as writing, crafts, or art.
- Playing with and caring for pets.
- Volunteer work
Focus on the present
Meditate. When you meditate, you focus your attention on things that are happening right now. Paying attention to your breathing is one way to focus.
And be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet, and avoid tobacco use, excess caffeine and alcohol intake.
The goal isn’t to get rid of stress completely, which would be entirely impossible, and not completely healthy. The goal of stress management is to identify one’s stressors and things that cause the most problems or demand the most energy and find ways to overcome the negative stress those things normally induce.