Everybody needs a balanced life in terms of personal, social and professional field and to attain this, everyone work and plan accordingly but when things didn’t work out as planned then there arise emotional and physical tensions which in general term we called as Stress.
So stress is a normal human reaction to the unplanned and sudden events, situations or we can say changes like death of a loved one, financial crisis, life threatening incidents, misunderstanding or disagreement at home or workplace, too much work load or responsibilities, no growth in career, failing in the exams or poor results and the reactions to these events are both mental as well as physical. So the way our body responds during stress helps us to adjust in the changing environment. Stress can be positive or negative for the body, for example if you have an exam or some important event to attend, stress helps to motivate you and you prepare to give your best. But when stressors (i.e. stress causing events) lasts for very long without any relaxation period and are very demanding it could lead to restlessness, exhaustion both mentally and physically.
How Our Body Respond to Stress
Whenever we are in stress, our body’s sympathetic nervous system gets activated and releases certain chemicals such as adrenaline also known as “fight and flight hormone” and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and nor-epinephrine increase in the quantity due to which certain physiological changes occur in the body such as rapid heartbeat, higher blood pressure, weak immune system. When left untreated for longer time stress can leads to serious health problems like stroke, stomach ulcers and heart diseases.
Stress causes tensioning of muscles which can cause severe headaches and migraines. The tensioning of the muscles also disturbs the digestive system of the body by affecting the nutrients we need to absorb, the smooth movement of food and can affect the quantity of food we eat. So some people ended up eating too much during high periods of stress and some ended up eating less than the quantity they used to eat during stress. Also disturbing natural digestive system can leads to acid reflux, vomiting, constipation, nausea, heartburn and diarrhea.
Along with these physiological problems, stress also leads to emotional and behavioral disorders like anxiety, phobias and panic attacks. Stress causes a lot of other problems like decision-making capability of a person, the memory to remember things get weakened, impatience, poor performance and irritability which ultimately affects personal, professional and social life of an individual.
So if there is anything that is causing so much dysfunction in our body we must take some serious steps to manage it because life’s events are uncertain and we have to go through them even if they are not in our favor. So we must know and practice how we can control our body and brain to respond in those situations triggering stress and related problems.
- Heaviness in chest
- Pain in neck and shoulder
- Tensed muscles
- Upset stomach or improper bowel movement
- Frequent headaches
- Disturbed sleep pattern
- Frequent unhappy mood
- Difficulty in focusing and remembering things.
- Blaming others
Stress Management Techniques
Engage and Focus
Whenever we are in stress we keep thinking about stressors again and again and stressing ourselves more and more so to overcome this, we must learn to engage and focus. Engaging and focusing mean paying full attention to the activity we are doing and observing minute details of it so that our mind could divert from those stressors. For example: if you are making a tea or coffee, engage yourself in the process like observe the changing color of tea leaves or coffee beans, the temperature, aroma and try to feel the warmth when you touch the mug filled with tea/coffee, taste as you gulp it down your throat and kind of satisfaction it provides to your mind. All these tiny details when make habits will help miraculously in overcoming the stress. You can choose the activity of your choice and practice accordingly.
But in cases when stress is very high and you are incapable to focus then what would you do?? For situations like this you need to ground yourself and for this you must follow the steps given below:
1. Notice how you are feeling and what are you thinking.
2. Slow down and connect with your body. Focus on your breathing and slow it down. Slowly inhale the air and fill your lungs and then exhale slowly and completely and repeat this for at least 6-8 times or you can simply stretch your arms or hold them tightly for a while or you can try touching the ground with your naked feet.
3. The last step is to refocus or reengaging with world by activating your senses, try to touch the different surfaces around you like soft, hard, rough, smooth; try to name the things around you that you can see, focus on the sounds.
Doing this will connect you with the immediate world around you and help your body to cope with the stress.
Exercise and Eat Healthy
It’s very important to stick to the healthy diet and exercise regularly even if you are not in stress. Even a small walk or just changing the environment for a while or even a short break can help you magically. Avoid refined sugar and oils, excess of caffeine in your diet. Never take any substance or drugs to overcome the stress because these substances never reduce your stress they just postponed it for a while and make your conditions worse than before. Take a proper 6-8 hours of sound sleep.
Building a Positive Environment
Build a positive world around you, talk to people whom you trust and feel secure around, the real ones that show empathy and are your support system in every situation. Sometimes you don’t need solution to your problems from others but you need yourself to be heard and wanted to share the emotional trauma you are going through, so be strong enough to say what you feel and take responsibility of your emotions. Learn to say no to the people and situations that can cause the possible distress because your health is your first priority. Try figuring out the possible causes for your stress and make a plan to make things work and if needed take professional help.