Stress is something you experience as you go about your day-to-day life. It is your body's way of reacting to danger and demands you struggling to cope with.
When you are stressed, your body gets flooded with hormones and you become more active and alert. Your body is prepared for action. Imagine the state of your body after almost getting hit by a car. Yep, that's stress for you.
The above example is the physical manifestation of stress. Stress can also affect you psychologically. Worrying over a sick family member can cause the same symptoms as almost getting hit by a car.
Stress is part of our life. We can't do without it. A little stress every now and then is good. It can be a huge motivator. Stress can make you work harder so you can meet deadlines or make students study longer so they can pass their tests.
Too much stress is harmful to your health and it is important you find a way to deal with it. Also, it is important to identify the situation/person causing the stress.
Causes of Stress
Any situation that causes stress is called a 'stressor'. Almost anything can cause stress. Getting stuck in traffic can trigger stress in some people. However, what causes stress for one person may not do the same for another person. However, there are a number of life events that can trigger stress. They include:
• Financial crisis
• Loss of a family member
• Job loss or retirement
Symptoms of Stress
Stress can affect every aspect of your life and the symptoms you see is dependent on whether it's affecting your behavior, mental or physical health. Below are some of the symptoms of stress:
• Diarrhea and constipation
• Erectile dysfunction
• Aches, pains, and tense muscles.
• Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
• Low self-esteem
• Substance abuse
• Loss of appetite
Health Implications of Stress
While we have established that small doses of stress can be beneficial, persisting stress, on the other hand, can cause a number of health problems. Such health conditions include:
• High blood pressure
• Menstrual problems
• Premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction in men
• Heart attack and diseases
Management of Stress
It's very easy to get used to stress. Many people don't know they have stress until they reach their breaking point. It's therefore important you check yourself for signs and symptoms of stress and take steps to prevent stress from becoming too much. Below are ways of managing stress:
• Human Interaction: This is one of the best ways to manage stress. The hormones responsible for stress are reduced when you are having a nice time with your friends and family. The warmth of human company is exactly what you need to keep stress in check.
• Relaxation Techniques: Yoga and meditation will help calm you down and reduce stress. Learn various relaxation techniques and practice them.
• Sleep: A good night rest will do wonders for your body and health. You also need to rest and sleep well after strenuous events so your body can recover.
• Exercise: Exercise takes your mind off whatever is bothering you. Also, you get tired after working out which will make you sleep better.
• Stay away from alcohol and drugs: Stress can make you behave compulsively and make you take drugs or abuse alcohol. Taking drugs or alcohol doesn't help you deal with stress. Instead, they create another problem for you.
• Seek professional help by consulting a psychologist or mental health expert on healthy ways to manage stress.
Stress is a normal part of life. A little stress is beneficial but too much stress becomes a problem. It's therefore important you take conscious effort to keep stress in check and prevent it from accumulating to dangerous levels.