Stress is one word which comes across the life of every single living being in this world. It is an inevitable part of life. How many times have you heard the health advice of “avoid stress, it’s killing you”? Stress was apparently holding a very bad reputation as one of the major risk factors of heart diseases, depression and many other diseases. But, new researches have shown that Stress can be good. What really matters is how we interpret the stress response. There is no way you can avoid or reduce stress, but what you can actually do is embrace it.
What is Stress?
Stress is your reaction to any change that requires you to adjust or respond. According to the dictionary, Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Every person responds to stressful events that they face in different ways and they do have the power to control how they respond to a stressful situation. A person can thus learn to control stress
The two main types of stress are :
- Eustress (positive or good stress)
What causes Stress?
The causes of stress differs from person to person. Some of the common life events or situations which causes stress to a common man includes : Death, Accident, Marriage, Pregnancy, Illness, Job change, Arguments, Confrontation, Deadlines, and Money problems.
There are warning signs of stress that can help a person identify whether he is under stress or not. Understanding these warning signs is important as it can help a person find out how his body reacts to the stress. These warning signs can be grouped under three headings.
Emotional signs : Anxiety, Inability to concentrate, sleeplessness, anger, frequent mood swings
Physical : Weight gain or weight loss, sweaty palm, unexplained aches, pains
Behavioural : Over-reacting, adopting alcoholism or smoking or narcotic drugs, acting on impulse
Do keep in mind the fact that these signs are not specific to stressful situations alone.
What can I do to reduce Stress?
We can only wish for a gear to adjust the amount of stress that we deal with in our daily life. It is impossible to avoid stress altogether. Stressful situations are here to stay. One has to learn how to cope with it and not hide away from it. Here are some tips to deal with stress in a better way:
- Accept and Embrace Stress
- Physical exercise
- Practise Yoga or other meditation methods.
- Always keep a positive attitude in life.
- Look at life with a bit of humour. Smiling and laughing does help.
- Stick on to a proper healthy diet.
- Avoid smoking, and drinking.
Is Stress Good or Bad?
Actually stress has both the qualities. At times it proves to be beneficial to us, like for example in a crisis situation it helps us to perform better in the short term courtesy of the anxiety. The result however is not sustained as we get exhausted quickly due to our response during the crisis situation. The hormones epinephrin and nor-epinephrin which are released during sympathetic arousal have a very wide spectrum of action. It causes a sudden rise in heart beat, blood pressure, re-routing of blood to the brain and so on.
It was shown that persons who believed that stress was a toxic condition and that it was bad for their health were the ones at a higher risk than the other group who accepted stress response as an essential phenomenon.
The thing to understand is that, it is not stress as such which is harmful or toxic. It is the people’s belief that stress is bad and harmful that is dangerous.
American health psychologist Kelly McGonigal used to believe stress was toxic and led to an early grave. Not any more. New research findings have shown that stress has two sides to it. The good news is that it’s always not so toxic. In her new book – The Upside of Stress, the Stanford University lecturer examines a growing body of science that explains how embracing stress is good for you .
According to the new studies, Stress Response helps should be embraced as a normal body mechanism which is produced to help the person deal with the specific situation. Regardless of whatever symptoms are being experienced by the person, one should consider stress response as an Energy.
Understanding the fact that you are not alone is also very essential. This thought of loneliness makes Stress more toxic to our bodies. Connecting with persons who are in stress or who have experienced a similar situation was also found to be helpful.
Stress should be viewed as an opportunity to grow. It makes a person more resilient. Thinking of stress this way is more beneficial to the person.
Now it is up to you to decide whether to embrace stress or fear it. If you liked this article, share it with the others in distress and help them.
Image Credit – Celestine Chua