Due to the busyness in our lives, in the last 50 years stress has become part of our lifestyle, affecting every aspect of it from health, personal relationships, eating and exercising habits, emotions… it’s essential to use techniques to manage it on a daily basis for our well-being.
According to Dr. Hans Selye, known as the “Father” of the field of stress research, stress is the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.
The body’s responses to stress can be physical, mental and emotional. And can be caused either for positive or negative events that happen in our lives.
It is important to be aware of the type of stress we live in, and the stress trigger(s) to be able to manage it/them properly with the techniques I share below.
Stress Types and Causes?
Stress can be caused for many reasons and it’ll affect your Being according to how you perceive the world.
Some of the main causes of stress are work, finances, personal relationships, parenting, media (news and social media), and busyness.
Acute Stress is the stress that shows unexpectedly for short periods of time,
Episodic acute stress, it’s when the acute stress happens frequently, like mini-crises. It can be caused by the same reasons in longer periods, and might
Chronic stress is the one that stays on a daily basis, year after year. It drains and crash the body to an unhealthy state of body, mind and spirit. It could be caused by serious situations in life such as a dysfunctional family, a bad long love relationship, financial problems, an overloading job, etc. This kind of stress might need professional assistance to be managed properly.
Luckily, there is also a type of stress that serves us for good.
Eustress is the beneficial stress. It keeps us excited and thrive us in life. Like riding a roller-coaster, getting a new job, having a baby, moving to a different city, launching a new program.
It leads us to challenges in which hope and motivation play a main role. And it’s the stress that makes our lives fun and interesting… it leads us to personal growth.
Stress symptoms might vary depending on the type of stress.
Stress symptoms in the body:
- Release of cortisol, which is the stress hormone
- Increase on heart rate
- Suppress partially the immunologic system
- Chronic inflammation
- Tension or pain in different parts of the body
- Fat storage
- Frequent Sickness
- Increase of cholesterol and glucose levels
- Hormonal imbalance
- High blood pressure
- Lack of energy
- Changes in libido
Emotional stress signs:
- Mood swings
- Food cravings
- Trouble focusing or concentration
- Lack of motivation
- Sadness or depression
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Compulsive behaviour
Techniques to manage stress
The effects of stress on your body and mind will depend a lot on how you react to situations in life.
Let’s say the same situation happens to 2 people, it depends on how they react to it, one can see it as an opportunity, while the other one can see it as a disgrace. For example, both got stuck in traffic, one whines about it, in contrast the other one takes the time to listen to a podcast or to her favourite music. So check out how’s your mindset on the first place 😉
Here are several techniques to manage stress:
- Pause the stressor: Even if it’s for 15 minutes. Take a break and walk away, breath deeply, try to clear your mind, focus on something else. The break might help you see the situation from another perspective and feel less overwhelmed.
- Meditate: Meditation is the queen of many things and the checkmate for stress due to all the benefits it provides. By doing this practice anxiety decreases, the body relaxes, it improves cardiovascular health, and more. Meditating regularly can help you be less reactive to stress.
Besides, meditation can be used to determine where in the body stress is taking place, by being totally present. Focus on that area and breath consciously on it to release tension or pain. Also, take the time to reflect on what are your stress triggers so you can deliberate on how to control them.
- Exercise: Do the type of work out you prefer, from yoga, running, cycling, walking, zumba, soccer… whatever it is that makes you move. Exercising relax the body and mind, besides it helps with creativity which could be the guide to get rid of the stress trigger.
- Eliminate caffeine and alcohol: One of the hormones caffeine increases is cortisol, the stress hormone. It boosts your energy levels, but it drops them down abruptly, which brings serious consequences to the body like straining the nervous system, loss of sleep and addiction. Coffee can be beneficial when consumed in controlled doses, but with high levels of stress it’s recommended to eliminate it.
Alcohol also increases cortisol in the body and alters the brain’s chemistry responding in an unusual way. It also impairs the hormone system to function correctly, causing health consequences. Therefore drink more water and tea.
- Talk to a friend: Someone you trust that you can share your feelings and concerns with to relieve some of that stress.
- Laugh: Laughter brings benefits to the whole Being. It lightens the mind, serves as a mood booster; oxygenates and relaxes the body, relieves pain and face tension. It lowers stress hormones, prevents heart disease, boosts immunity and promotes longevity.
Humour helps us see life with optimism and joy. It also improves our relationships, and the best, laughter is contagious!
- Avoid Processed foods: This kind of foods do not provide the necessary nutrients to the body to take care of its natural functions, on the contrary, they are full of processed sugars, chemicals, fat, salt, and trans fats. Ingredients the body is not able to process, therefore they cause stress in the organism.
Feed your body with plant-based foods. Some of the anti-stress foods that help produce dopamine, a chemical substance that functions as a neurotransmitter and helps regulate emotional responses, learning, movement, attention, are chucrut, kiwi, blackberries, bananas, turmeric and tea (source Origenes Primarios). Other foods that cope with stress are avocados, asparagus, blueberries, pistachios, leafy greens, wild-caught salmon, oatmeal and red peppers. You can find further details on this article: 10 Anti Stress Foods That Are Good For You.
- Learn to say NO: Prioritize what is important for you, and based on that make the decision on what activities you wish to participate with friends, family and co-workers. Saying no might release you from a lot of unnecessary stress. You have the right to say no and no it’s a full sentence.
In conclusion, stress is part of our modern lifestyle since is related to work, finances, personal relationships, etc. The stress type can vary depending on the cause, recurrence and intensity of it.
The consequences of stress on our health and well-being can be affected in many aspects. Reason why it’s important to determine the stress trigger, find a solution to solve it (if possible) and use the techniques mentioned above to manage it and have a more balanced life.
What is the cause(s) of your stress and the symptoms you have? Do you use some of the techniques named to manage it or are you planning to use any?
Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ve learned as much as I did.
Share this article to someone you know it might need it.
Have a great day.