Are you stress?

For many people, the word stress comes with various connotations.

For those of us who enjoy a more sedate pace to life, then stress can be a massive issue.

For those of us who like to feel up against the pressure of the day, stress feels invigorating.

However, no matter what way you perceive stress, it’s a fact that too much stress can lead to all manner of problems. Let’s take a look at this common issue.

Why it happens

So, why do we get stressed? There really is no simple reason for this. Stress comes in all manner of forms.

It can be caused due to a life experience. For example, something that has happened – or is happening – to you.

From social problems like falling out with friends to breaking up with a loved one, to financial problems like growing debt or a lack of security, there are so many ways you can feel stressed out.

That’s why it’s often easy to dismiss: stress is our immediate response to something that puts us under pressure.

When viewed as a natural situation, we can easily ignore stress.

That, though, is not something that we would recommend too much. Stress happens for various reasons, but it more or less always happens as a mental reaction to feeling threatened or pressured.

Our body then starts to release various stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, which forces our body to take action and try to alleviate the cause of this symptom.
You start to feel the pressure, and so you have to act to alleviate the pressure.

Why stress takes place, though, varies depending upon the circumstances that you find yourself in.

What stress looks like

Stress looks like a lot of things – but most of the time it’s a clear sign of some (or all) of the following symptoms manifesting:

Someone who cannot keep their arms away from their stomach. Whether it’s sitting clasped around the stomach or folded together, this is a clear sign of someone in some stress.

Continual aches and pains in various parts of the body: our body showing consistent physical stress is a sign of stress in some part of the body.

Confused and irritable responses to questions, with a constant change in tone and mood to the way that you speak. Why? Because your mind is racing with all the stress you feel.

An increase in heart rate, visible signs of sweating, and regular fidgeting are all signs of someone who feels a lot of stress in their life. They cannot sit at peace and thus cannot find peace.

Frequent illness – someone who seems to always have the cold/flu is often a common sign of stress. Your body is so stressed out, it’s struggling to fight off those little viruses.

A loss of sexual energy and a lack of appetite for doing things. That’s common with stress, as it often leaves you so preoccupied with the stressful situation that you cannot focus.

A constant absentness in the way they sit and speak. Often away in their own world, oblivious to what is going on around them. This is often due to being stuck in a train of thought.

These are some of the common signs that you can immediately noticed about someone who is going to be going through a stressful time.

They are almost all quite recognisable, and should have at least some part to play in helping to spot if you – or someone else – is stressed out.

How it can affect mental health

Stress has many impacts on our bodies that we can see, like the ones that we pointed out above.

However, there are often mental and behavioural impacts that might start without any explanation.

Do you find yourself dealing with any of the following mind-sets, attitudes, and responses?

An inability to find food satisfying or even desirable. Are you too stressed to want to eat with any consistency? That is a common sign that you are stressed out.

Poor sleeping habits that can have further impact on our ability to defeat or overcome stress. If you aren’t sleeping, your body isn’t rested, making stress more common.

You start to find solace in your own mind and thus withdraw from others. You either wish to avoid burdening them with your problem, or simply wish to avoid talking about it.

You start to put off other responsibilities that you have, even basic things like hygiene and caring for yourself. This then bleeds into professional requirements, leaving you unfulfilled.

Often, stress leads us to try and find some way to get away from the sadness we feel. This can lead us to become dependent on some form of crutch: food, drugs, alcohol etc.

You might also notice that you start to become quite negatively minded. If you keep seeing negative consequences to your actions, then it’s only natural for some nihilism to set in.

This can lead to negative and often poor judgements, making the wrong decision as you can only see something negative as the end result.

Eventually, you’ll start to become more racy-minded; spending too much time jumping from one thought to the next. You lack clarity, and you spend most of your time worrying.

These are some of the most common signs that someone is having a hard time physically and mentally.

All of these are something that you should be looking out for in yourself and in others – they are clear signs of someone who is stressed.

Can, though, stress be a good thing?

Why stress can be both helpful and harmful

It might seem like an odd thing, but stress can actually be a positive for us in some circumstances.

Stress forces us to take action when it first arrives – it’s like a jolt of energy that forces you into action. It tells you what to do, or at least what you need to try and solve. That can be a good thing as it can lead to momentarily increased motivation and desire to make a difference.

Stress can make us more effective in getting tasks done, and it can force us to remember things we might otherwise forget. That being said, continuous stress outside of small doses can be very bad for us.

With continuous stress, our body starts to produce norepinephrine and epinephrine, as well as cortisol. This leads to issues like a faster heart rate and also an increase in your blood pressure.

For a short term kick up the backside, stress can be a minor positive. When it happens more often than it should, though, it often leads to negative impacts on your body.

While stress makes our bodies more resistant to illness and/or infection, it also takes a toll in the long-term on the very same strengths.

So, in the shortest of terms, stress can be a minor benefit. If you allow it to keep happening and you don’t find a way to make your days less stressful, though, your body will begin to feel a telling impact on the wear and tear troubles that you now feel.

Stress is both a blessing and a curse: if you come to rely upon it, it will only hurt you.

Stress management 

With that in mind, it’s essential that you get into the habit of long-term stress management and adjustment. 

To do that, we recommend that you try and consider the following means of combatting the stress that you feel today: 

1. Get more physical exercise.  

Getting outside and into the world – even a gym – can be good for your mental health. You’ll get a lot of the stress that you feel out of your body with a bit of exercise, so make that a regular occurrence and before long you’ll start to feel much better.  

2. Accept that some things are out of your control, no matter what you do. 

Often, our stress comes from scenarios of which we cannot do anything about anyway. If that sounds like you, then you should look to accept that some things you cannot stop: they will happen regardless of what you do. 

3. Become more time-efficient. 

Simply being somewhere 5 minutes earlier than your norm will have a small but noticeable impact on your general mental health and how you perceive your own ability to succeed. 

4. Find a small task or hobby that you can put your creative energy into. 

When you start feeling stressed worrying, you can pick this up, work on it, and give yourself a small out from your stress. 

5. Learn to say no. 

Stress is often worsened by always saying yes to people when your brain is screaming no. It’s OK to miss out and it’s OK to not be able to help everyone all the time: once you grasp this, it’s much easier to say not without the guilt. 

Keep these factors in mind, and in a short space of time you should become a bit more adept at managing your stress.

While we will always have stressful scenarios in life, you can soon overcome them with a bit of planning, patience, and persistence.

Keep at it – you’ll get there!

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