Stress is the feeling we have too much to do and too much on our mind or other people are making unreasonable demands on us or dealing with situations that we have no control over them. Severe stress that continues for a long time can lead to problems with mental health. This requires help from a health professional.
There are many ways that we can reduce the stress that we feel, for example learning to handle things better, using relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes.
The main causes of stress are: moving house, getting married, having a baby, bereavement, serious illness, work, poverty.
Sometimes stress can be useful in situations as it releases adrenaline and cortisol which keeps us alert and focused.
Stress can cause a number of different responses in our bodies like: headaches, constant tiredness, sweating, sleeping problems, depression, irritability and so on.
You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation.
Remember the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
- Avoid unnecessary stress. Not all stress can be avoided, but by learning how to say no, distinguishing between “shoulds” and “musts” on your to-do list, and steering clear of people or situations that stress you out, you can eliminate many daily stressors.
- Alter the situation. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Be more assertive and deal with problems head on. Instead of bottling up your feelings and increasing your stress, respectfully let others know about your concerns. Or be more willing to compromise and try meeting others halfway on an issue.
- Adapt to the stressor. When you can’t change the stressor, try changing yourself. Reframe problems or focus on the positive things in your life. If a task at work has you stressed, focus on the aspects of your job you do enjoy. And always look at the big picture: is this really something worth getting upset about?
- Accept the things you can’t change. There will always be stressors in life that you can’t do anything about. Learn to accept the inevitable rather than rail against a situation and making it even more stressful. Look for the upside in a situation—even the most stressful circumstances can be an opportunity for learning or personal growth. Learn to accept that no one, including you, is ever perfect.
You can also better cope with the symptoms of stress by strengthening your physical health.
- Set aside relaxation time. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
- Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, reduce your caffeine and sugar intake, and cut back on alcohol and nicotine.
- Get plenty of sleep. Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. Keep your cool by getting a good night’s sleep
For more advice and information call into Miller’s pharmacy where we can help you!