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How to Manage Psychological Stress?

Published on Nov 12, 2021 and last reviewed on Jun 24, 2022   -  8 min read

Abstract

Some amount of stress indeed fires you up to achieve your goals, but a lot of it can actually have a ruinous effect on your health and well-being. Continue reading to know how stress affects your health and ways to manage it.

Contents
How to Manage Psychological Stress?

Introduction:

Lately, everyone has been talking about stress. This shows how prevalent stress is among people worldwide. A multitude of situations can cause stress. It can be something as simple as being stuck in a jam-packed road while heading to the office to a serious relationship or workplace problems. Whether the situation is intense or not, the kind of stress that develops in individuals under pressure does become detrimental over time. This article aims to make you clear of stressors, their adverse effects on you, and how you can overcome them to prevent harmful levels of stress.

What Is Psychological Stress?

Firstly, stress is a normal or physiological response to stressors that all living beings exhibit and undergo. Stressors are any situation, incident, place, or people surrounding you or happening to you to which you get stressed as a response. It is put in our genes to get stressed in conditions and situations that cause stress in order to escape danger. We may consider it as one of the survival instincts. Though this is a protective mechanism, the amount and frequency of stress and how the individual perceives and reacts to it determine whether stress is protective or destructive. Excessive stress causes strain on one’s body and emotions. Humans exhibit feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, nervousness, etc., while under stress.

What Is Eustress?

Eustress is positive stress that brings motivation, excitement, thrill, and positive feelings that actually drive you crazy to achieve your goals. It is indeed beneficial, but a person experiencing it does not feel as good as eustress means. Even while under eustress, the person feels nervous and under pressure but with confidence and hope to overcome or face the situation. Its fruit is always sweet.

It is a type of good stress. The type of pressure it gives to an individual and the individual’s capacity and capability to overcome the hurdles and reach the targets make them succeed, satisfy, and fulfill their goals, wishes, and interests. Following are some situations in which a person experiences eustress or positive stress that builds them into a happy, better, productive, or successful person.

What Is Distress?

Distress is the straight opposite of eustress. It is negative or bad stress that produces nothing more than undesirable results and a disturbed state of mind. The stressors that cause distress are categorized as negative stressors as most of the human population apprehend them to be demotivating, discouraging, and depleting their minds and energy levels. Above all, the distress affects both the physical and mental well-being. Some of the situations that cause distress in people include,

What Are Other Types of Stress?

Apart from eustress and distress, there are three more types of stress.

How To Identify Stress?

Identifying stress is not so easy until it begins to affect one’s physical health. Here we have jotted down some signs of stress.

Physical Signs -

Mental Signs -

Behavioral Signs -

What Causes Stress?

As said earlier, stress is a response to stressors. The stressors can be anything; they can be related to work, finance, relationships, parenting, commutation, etc. Whenever life puts a threat or challenge in front of us, our body reacts to it through the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis).

Initially, when in a stressful situation, our sympathetic nervous system mediates the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine, the fight and flight hormone. Initial bodily changes like rapid heart rate, sweating, etc., occur. Ten seconds after this, the HPA axis gets stimulated, and the hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing hormones (CRH). This CRH causes elevated heart rate and also signals the pituitary to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which travels through the bloodstream to reach the adrenal gland. Finally, the adrenal glands start secreting cortisol, the stress hormone.

This cortisol helps in dealing with fight, flight, and fright situations. It provides the body with the energy required to face the challenge. It also causes increased blood pressure, sweating, reduced pain sensation, increased muscle tension, slowed digestion, etc.

stresss

What Adverse Effects Does Stress Cause To Our Health?

Every person on the planet deals with some amount of stress at some point in their life. And for some, stress is an integral part of life. However, dealing with constant stress without bouts of mental relaxation often puts the person in turmoil. It actually is detrimental to one’s health. Following are some of the serious adverse health effects that psychological stress could cause or worsen in people with preexisting diseases.

How To Manage Stress?

Stress is not a disease to be treated; it is just a body’s response or reaction to an action. Stress needs to be managed rather than treated because illnesses can be prevented, but stress can neither be prevented or controlled. But whenever you pass through a stressful phase, the following management methods can help you deal with stress like a lobster.

1. Learn To Cope With Stress -

Never neglect self-care in the phase of stress. Often people fail to take care of themselves when under a stressful phase. This can affect the quality of life, burdening the stress more. Regularly continue practicing self-care activities such as,

2. Practice Mindfulness -

Relaxation techniques amidst pressurized life conditions definitely bring a marked change in the way you face stress. It helps develop a positive outlook on life and makes you sportive in dealing with a stressor. Mindfulness techniques such as meditation, Tai chi, focussed breathing, yoga, guided imagery, etc., are overlooked and underestimated as it is not so easy to develop such habits and practice consistently. But once you put your mind and body consistently with a belief in these relaxation techniques and with proper guidance, you will be surprised with the results.

3. Things To Do and Not To Do While Under Stress -

4. Psychotherapy -

If you feel your stress is out of your hands and cannot find the above methods beneficial, you always have mental health professionals to help you out with your stress. Through cognitive-behavioral techniques, your mental health expert will identify how you think, feel, perceive things or act under stressful conditions and replace them with a more realistic and positive thought.

5. Medications -

Medications like anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills, antidepressants, etc., are commonly prescribed in addition to stress management methods to manage certain stress-induced physical and mental ailments.

Conclusion:

You cannot control what is happening to you, but you can control what you can do or how you respond. Not all the stressors or a speculated level of stress affects every person the same way. Different people react to different levels and types of stressors in different ways. Just know that stress is inevitable, and in whatever stressful phase you are, “this too shall pass.” If you need professional stress management support, you are just one click away.

Frequently Asked Questions


1.

What Are the Emotional Signs of Stress?

The emotional signs of stress are being worried, having difficulty relaxing and calming your mind, being frustrated, falling into depression, being unmotivated, and irritability. Sometimes, you can lose yourself or take control.

2.

How Can I Reduce Stress Quickly?

Things to follow to reduce stress are,
- Eating dark chocolates when you have a hectic time.
- Meditating 10 minutes daily.
- Practicing breathing exercises lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
- Listening to music help soothe the mind.
- Take a quick walk.
- Look for some stretches and practice them every day.
- Get a head massage.

3.

What Can Stress Do to a Woman’s Body?

Stress can create the following changes in women:
- Headache.
- Tiredness.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Back pain.
- Overeating or under-eating.
- Less interest in sex.
- Neck pain.
- Skin problems.
- Lack of energy.
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- Upset stomach.

4.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Psychological Stress?

Women (28 %) are more likely to get psychological stress than men (20 %). A survey reported that almost half of all women said their stress had increased over the past five years compared to four in ten men.

5.

What Can Chronic Stress Do to the Body?

Chronic stress may stop nearly every system in the human body. It may start to suppress the immune system, increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, reduce interest in sexual life, upsets the reproductive and digestive systems, and speed up the aging process.

6.

What Is a Positive Psychological Response to Stress?

A positive psychological response to stress is known as eustress or positive stress. A positive emotional response to stress is healthy, giving a feeling of happiness. It provides a sense of joyous and satisfactory life and helps us be motivated to reach the goal.

7.

What Are the Psychological Phases of Disaster Response?

The four psychological phases of disaster response and their respective durations are,
- Heroic phase - 3 to 7 days.
- Honeymoon phase - 1 to 3 weeks.
- Disillusionment phase - 3 to 8 weeks.
- Restoration phase - More than 8 weeks.

8.

Can Your Body Shut Down from Stress?

When we experience too much stress for a long time, it can negatively affect us, and we may begin to notice the physical effects of stress. We may get sick, exhausted, or may develop mental health issues, and as a result, our human body may shut down.

9.

What Causes Psychosocial Stress?

Psychosocial stress is caused by any social threat that makes one think that they need additional resources than the ones we have to cope with the stressor. These stressors include divorce, loss of job, loss of loved one, change in residence, and high competition at work.

10.

What Are Common Psychological Symptoms of Stress?

The common psychological symptoms of stress are,
- Depression.
- Anxiety.
- Panic attacks.
- Irritability.
- Sadness.

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Last reviewed at:
24 Jun 2022  -  8 min read

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