Stress: the good, the bad & in-between
According to Mental Health Foundation, "Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure."
Stress is how a person's body and mind reacts to pressures from exterior sources. When your body senses danger or a predicament (real or imagined) its defenses kick into high gear to help you deal with the situation. Something like an in-built defence mechanism. In some cases, this stress response can help you rise to face and conquer challenges. But after a certain point, stress stops being helpful, it begins to harm you causing damage to your health, mood, behaviour and quality of life.
3rd November is Stress Awareness Day.
It is a great chance to step back and ask yourself,
What’s stressing me out? so you can assess your stress level.
If you frequently find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it is time to take action to bring your nervous system back into balance. You can protect yourself and improve how you think and feel by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
Here are some important signs of stress to help you evaluate your current state:
If you have been feeling tension or pain in your muscles it may be time to take a break or ease out on your daily tasks. Your body shows you signs and it is best to listen early on. Set goals for your work day, finish them and learn to decline or say 'no' to new tasks if you feel like it is too much to take on. Be mindful and appreciate yourself for all you accomplish in a day over what you are not able to do.
Bouts of sadness, low self-esteem and constant anxiety are signs of stress. Be observant of your body's response to stress. Do not suppress your feelings or your symptoms. If you need to, take some time off. Tell your close ones how you feel. Talk to your healthcare provider till you feel better and incorporate regularly exercise into your day, even if it is just walking for 30 minutes, as it can help boost your mood significantly.
Feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated or unfocused can also be considered as signs of stress. If these are mild symptoms, try incorporating a relaxing activity at the end of your day to deal with them; like meditation and breathing exercises. It may also do you good to start journaling as it will help you focus on the 'now' and keep track of your progress. If you still find it difficult to deal with these feelings, ask for help from your healthcare professional.
Withdrawing from social activities and declining opportunities to be with other people are signs that you are stressed. Sometimes all you need is a little space. And that's completely okay. But it is important to remember that you are not alone. You do not have to be around a bunch of people all the time, but you should always keep in touch with people who can provide you emotional support and offer practical help. Asking for help from your healthcare provider, family and friends can reduce your stress and allow people who care for you to be with you when it really counts.
If you have thoughts of self-harm, are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol more frequently as a result of stress, you should seek help right away. Your doctor will be able to provide a better solution. You are not alone and asking for help is the right thing to do.
Stress is inevitable. It happens to all of us. But its symptoms vary from person to person. We all have different reactions to stressful situations.
Which is why it is important to know the difference between good and bad stress:
Good Stress is short-term. It gets you excited, it motivates you and inspires you to perform better. Some examples of when people experience Eustress are: travelling, starting a new hobby or life changes like marriage, new relationships, changing residences etc.
Bad Stress is chronic. It wears you out, leaves you feeling overwhelmed and is harmful to your health. This stress has different levels of intensity, depends on situations and varies from person to person.
So, Stress Less and use these tips to find an in-between,
Practice mindfulness, be observant of your body and its response to stressful situations.
Eliminate stressors, say 'no' when you can and manage your time more efficiently.
Accept that certain events are beyond your control, worrying causes stress. Let life take its course.
Think positively, you are strong and you are growing. Give yourself credit.
Exercise daily. Eat well. Sleep well.
Make an effort to reduce your stress. Positive thoughts and activities promote good stress. Surround yourself with people who care about you and make you feel better. Help others who you may know are in similar situations to the best of your ability. Create a balance to your life, by dealing in a healthy way with bad stress and using good stress as a stepping stone to success.
Ruth is the Content Writer & Media Executive at Social Donut 101 based in India.
A design, writing and pizza enthusiast that has a hard time resisting cake.