“Stress” seems to be one of the most inevitable conditions most of us experience on a daily basis.
Adults are not the only ones seeking effective stress management techniques. Highly competitive environments at school also bring stress to kids. Online learning has undoubtedly limited the effectiveness of the learning experience, and kids need to deal with the brunt of it, too.
So yes, stress is a part of life and learning to handle it is now an essential skill.
Are There Any Pros to Stress?
Despite how intelligent the human race is, our nervous system is not great at differentiating between physical and emotional stressors.
Issues in your relationship for example, are treated in the same way as being held at gunpoint. But, contrary to popular belief, stress is not always a bad thing. When your body detects a threat, your stress response is activated. In other words, it is your body’s defense mechanism.
The good stress is what we call eustress, which helps you stay focused and on your toes. This is why you are able to focus more when your presentation is due soon, or you are able to slam the breaks in a split second if someone bypasses you on the road.
Stress can be turned into something useful, but when your body is continuously in the fight or flight mode, it dips into a state of chronic stress. Chronic stress can lead to a whole range of behavioral, physical, emotional, and cognitive issues.
What are the Common Symptoms of Stress?
Medicine does not define stress as any particular thing, and each definition you find can be quite subjective. However, the following are a few symptoms that an individual might face when stressed:
Physical symptoms may include:
- Body aches
- Stomach issues
- Falling sick frequently
Emotional symptoms may include:
- Sadness or Depression
- Mood swings
Behavioral symptoms may include:
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Activation of tics such as biting one’s nails, picking on scabs
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Neglecting duties
Cognitive symptoms may include:
- Weak memory
- Issues in focus and attention
- Constant bothering thoughts
- Decision fatigue
Ways to Beat Stress to Stay Mentally, Emotionally and Physically Fit
Chronic stress might seem overwhelming. It is, therefore, important to identify your source of stress and regain control over your body.
Here are a couple of ways you can relieve stress on your own.
Tip #1: Try a Workout You Enjoy
Physical activity boosts the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Being active also boosts levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin which play an important role in regulating your moods.
Doing something that you enjoy will help you engage better in the activity all the while making it enjoyable like dancing, yoga, going to the gym, etc.
Tip #2: Put Your 6 Senses to Play
Activating all your senses and doing something tactile can make your body and brain be more present and aware of your surroundings. It helps not just to calm oneself but also activate certain areas of the brain that are dormant.
Tip #3: Improve Your Quality of Sleep
Sleep deprivation can aggravate the symptoms of stress. It is crucial that one gets a minimum of seven hours of rest each day. A well-rested brain repairs and recharges the body. It is crucial as it helps regulate mood, improves concentration, sharpens judgment and decision making.
Tip #4: Practice Mindfulness
It is important to take a break and relax to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.
Rewind after a busy day with good music, books, movies, calming activities, meditation, or a hot shower. Take time out from your regular schedule to build some “me time” proactively and focus on yourself and your health.
Tip #5: Be Organized
Effective management strategies can lessen the burden of meeting deadlines and avoiding procrastination-induced stress. Create a do-to-list at the beginning of the day, which can help you prioritize tasks and see you through its completion.
Treatments for Managing Stress
Chronic stress may, at times, require medical intervention beyond just self-help techniques.
The primary step would be to consult a medical practitioner on tips to manage your symptoms. Receiving treatment from a trained professional can help you become more aware of your condition, triggers, symptoms and help regulate your thoughts and feelings.
A few common stress treatments that can help are:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
PMR is a method that works on certain muscle groups of the body to help relieve tension. It helps reduce anxiety and promote calm breathing.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Neurofeedback Brain Training
Neurofeedback training for anxiety or depression is a holistic approach towards stress management.
It helps alleviate and regulate the symptoms of stress to promote decreased feelings of anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, and increased quality of sleep, focus and productivity.
Neurofeedback brain training increases the brain’s potential by encouraging it to be more flexible and to develop healthier patterns. It gives the brain multiple opportunities to self-correct and self-regulate more effectively. These, in turn, would make one feel calmer, relaxed and focused even during stressful situations.
Ecotherapy is an innovative technique which improves mental and physical well-being by helping one develop a healthy relationship with nature.
It could be any activity ranging from gardening or farming, adventure trips like water sports or hiking in the mountains. This guided therapy can help one disconnect from the fast-paced life and turn your attention to rejuvenating your mental health and well-being.
Petting and playing with animals is another way to de-stress and experience more positive emotions. Pets can help improve your mood as they are one of the best listeners, provide excellent social support, are stress relieving, and can even help encourage you to be active.
There is no specific medication available for stress, but it is possible to treat the condition more holistically by targeting the treatment of the associated symptoms.
Sleeping pills or mild tranquilizers may be prescribed for troubles with sleep, antidepressants for depression or anxiety and medication to treat physical symptoms of stress like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or high blood pressure, etc.
Acupuncture, aromatherapy or body massages can help relieve the symptoms of stress and promote relaxation.