Stress is a feeling we have when under pressure. It can be caused by stressors (stressors are agent or stimulus that causes stress) such as, noise, unpleasant people, a speeding car, working conditions.
Stress within your comfort zone can help you perform under pressure, motivate you to do your best, even keep you safe when danger looms. However, it can damage a person’s mood, relationships, and lead to hosts of serious mental and physical health problems when it becomes overwhelming.
You find it difficult to sleep (heightened state of alertness)
Complications that may arise as a result of stress
Depression and anxiety
Auto immune diseases
Skin conditions, such as eczema
Pain of any kind
Cognitive and memory problems
Signs and symptoms of stress
Frequent headache, jaw clenching or pain
Gritting, grinding teeth
Stuttering or stammering
Tremors, trembling of lips, hands
Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms
Light headedness, faintness, dizziness
Ringing, buzzing or “popping sounds
Frequent blushing, sweating
Cold or sweaty hands, feet
Dry mouth, problems swallowing
Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores
Rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”
Unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks
Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea
Excess belching, flatulence
Constipation, diarrhea, loss of control
Difficulty breathing, frequent sighing
Sudden attacks of life threatening panic
Chest pain, palpitations, rapid pulse
Diminished sexual desire or performance
Excess anxiety, worry, guilt, nervousness
Increased anger, frustration, hostility
Depression, frequent or wild mood swings
Increased or decreased appetite
Insomnia, nightmares or disturbing dreams
Difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts
Trouble learning new information
Forgetfulness, disorganization, confusion
Difficulty in making decisions
Feeling overloaded or overwhelmed
Frequent crying spells or suicidal thoughts
Feelings of loneliness or worthlessness
Little interest in appearance, punctuality
Nervous habits, fidgeting, feet tapping
Increased frustration, irritability, edginess
Overreaction to petty annoyances
Increased number of minor accidents
Obsessive or compulsive behavior
Reduced work efficiency or productivity
Lies or excuses covering up poor work
Rapid or mumbled speech
Excessive defensiveness or suspiciousness
Problems in communication, sharing
Social withdrawal and isolation
Constant tiredness, weakness, fatigue
Frequent use of over-the-counter drugs
Weight gain or loss without diet
Increased smoking, alcohol or drug use
Excessive gambling or impulse buying
How to tolerate and manage stress
Stress management is all about taking charge of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. Effective stress management relies on a tested, comprehensive approach that includes awareness of stress and general lifestyle changes. The following points can help you manage or tolerate stress;
Physical activity– Regular physical activity or exercise can serve as a distraction to your worries, by lifting your mood. It also allows you to find some quiet time and break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress and anxiety.
Division of labor– try to share your responsibilities at home and work.
Engage your senses– Engaging one or more of your senses such as sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement will help you to find the sensory input that works for you. For example, does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or petting an animal makes you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently.
Assertiveness – You should not always yes to everything. If you can’t do something well, or if something is not your responsibility, try to seek ways of not agreeing to do them.
Get enough rest– Getting enough sleep makes you feel less stressed, more productive and emotionally balanced.
Alcohol and drugs– You should cut down on them, or stop consuming them completely.
Caffeine– Reduce your consumption of coffee and other drinks which contain caffeine.
Nutrition– eat healthy and balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Time– Set a ‘me time’ each day for yourself. Use that time to organize your life, relax, and pursue your own interests.
Breathing– some effective breathing techniques can slow down your system and help you relax.
Connect with others– Be helpful and friendly to others, talk to your family, friends, work colleagues and your boss. Share or express your thoughts and worries.
Seek professional help– if the stress is affecting the way you function; go and see your doctor. Heightened stress for prolonged periods can be bad for your physical and mental health.
Set aside relaxation time- Relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, or yogaare known to reduce the effect of stress.
Stress management therapy such as aromatherapy, or reflexology, may have a beneficial effect.
Stress management techniques can be gained if you read self-help books, or attend a stress management course.
Doctors will not usually prescribe medications for coping with stress, unless the patient has an underlying illness, such as depression or some type of anxiety.
We advise you see a doctor if you are stressed, and seek the help of a counselor or psychotherapist for personal development or therapy sessions.
Article by: eDokita Team.
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The American Institute of Stress. ‘Stress’. http://www.stress.org/stress-effects/