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In the 21st century, stress is something that everyone from every kind of social class can relate to probably much more as compared to even a few decades ago. On top of that, the pandemic has really not helped anyone in any way, and the additional stressors have really heightened for everyone. Therefore, it is very important to be able to channel stress management in the proper way. However, before that, it is important to highlight what stress actually is and how it affects our psychological health.
What is stress?
Stress is generally defined as the bodily reaction to external and internal changes in life. It is now something which is a very normal thing, and almost every person has experienced stress in some way shape, or form. There is no way to get rid of emotional stress symptoms completely, but it is essential to manage stress well. Also, naturally, to reduce as many stressors as one can.
What causes one to be stressed?
It comes down to what we call ‘stressors’- experiences that threaten someone someday. There are different types of stress and stressors. Anything really can be a stressor- you could be stressed by seeing a dog on the road if you’ve been bit by a dog before and are now cautious, while to another person the dog will be a source of happiness because they don’t have a bad history with dogs. This is to say, stressors are subjective to people. Person A may enjoy public speaking which gives them thrills, but to some people, it is absolutely terrifying.
In the case of the pandemic, something that everyone had to adapt to and settle into, it caused many stressors which were never faced by most people before- things such as online schooling and work, ration managing and lockdowns, social distancing, as of course the fear of catching the virus itself. There is usually a circumstance where we find ourselves where the situation demands more than what we can do/give, which causes the stress.
There is of course general stress experienced with things like schooling, work, relationships, money as well as health. It is of vital importance to learn how to be able to identify the signs of stress and cope with these stressors.
What are the effects of stress?
Very similar to how stressors are different for different people, they also affect every person differently. It could be the same stressor, but it might affect people differently. Someone could get a headache when faced with the stress of an upcoming exam, but their classmate could be feeling nauseous. Another common symptom is an upset stomach. There can also be long-term effects such as compromised immunity, and changes in mood. So we can see that it is quite important to be able to manage stress properly.
Stress Management- How to go about it?
There are many ways to manage psychological stress properly- this can include stress relievers that can address the current stress, and management plans to prevent and cope with stress in the future. It is important to develop resilience and healthy coping skills when in contact with mental stress.
What goes into this, one may ask. It is by changing our senses. Our brain reacts to the stressors which are perceived by the five senses and then communicated to the brain, which leads to the stress symptoms coming up. Therefore, by calming the physical senses we can regulate the way we react to stress.
Methods of Relieving Stress
- Quick stress relievers- What is called a quick fix, can help one feel relaxed temporarily. Doing breathing exercises can help lower the body’s stress when feeling stressed.
- Practicing Habits- Certain techniques may not help immediately, but they help reverse the state of stress if one is habituated with them. Some habits such as exercise, meditation, journaling, and therapy can help very well.
- Reduce stressors- This is a relatively simple one- get rid of stressors that you can, if you can. Certain things are unavoidable, but some things can certainly be changed. One may not be able to get rid of a chatty co-worker, whose habits are making you less productive, but one can certainly ask to be relocated to a different desk because of it
- Use fragrances- Some essential oils such as lavender and jasmine are helpful when used in a diffuser. This can be any kind of scent that is familiar and calming to you, such as woods, beaches, food made by your mother, and any other thing that is comforting to you.
- Use pictures and videos- Watching calming videos and pictures such as those of rain, waterfall, clouds, stars, and mostly nature bites can help one to retain calmness. The presence of calming visuals and audio can help relax and unwind.
- Eat foods which can calm you- Foods rich in carbs such as pasta and rice are good for boosting mood. Soups also have a very calming sensation when consumed. Drinking tea, such as green and camomile, are known for their calming effects. Having fresh fruit and berries keeps up one’s immunity which is generally good for reducing stress.
- Utilize the sense of touch- Taking a hot bath is often calming, as is a massage in some form. Hugging loved ones or a pet, or even a pillow could help. Some people find comfort in changing into an outfit they feel good in, or comfortable in.
- Use hobbies well- Hobbies such as reading, listening to music, solving Wordle or the crossword, and anything that gets you going (in a good way). Everyone has their thing, it is important to tap into it when we need to, and it does wonder to relieve stress.
Stress is definitely something that needs to be contemplated carefully. In most cases and houses it is written off as something that is casual, and not much attention is given to it, and this can have adverse long-term consequences. If you’re feeling stressed, beyond a point where it is affecting your everyday activities, you need to engage in stress-relieving techniques, and maybe even consult a professional who will be able to guide you better in these tough times. Remember it is never too late to reach out and get the help you need, and there are always people around who will be there to support you.