Tips on how to cope with stress through simple recommendations to apply.
Stress is part of our lives. The pressure to get to work on time, finish that final project that needs to be delivered first thing in the morning at school, cook for a large number of consumers in a restaurant; they are stressful situations.
However, when stress is prolonged, its effectiveness disappears and its effects can be fatal, since the consequences go from the psychological to include the physical. So … what to do when faced with stress? Let’s see it throughout this article.
Consequences of stress
To a certain extent, stress represents a source of energy that makes us take action, as it activates the alert nervous system by releasing stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol; accelerates heart rate and raises blood pressure. Once the problem is over, the body usually regains its balance and tranquility, but sometimes there is too much tension and this erodes our quality of life.
Here are some psychological effects of excessive stress, which affects thinking, emotions and behavior:
- Lack of concentration
- Memory fails
- Prone to making mistakes, poor performance
- Impatience and irritability
- Constant tension
- Feelings of inferiority
- Risk of using harmful substances
- Interpersonal problems
As a result of situations that prolong stress, the mental state in which the person is can produce physical illnesses and psychosomatic reactions, such as:
- Gastric ulcer
- Irritable colon
- Heart attack
- Muscle pain
- Vaginismus, changes in the menstrual cycle
- Erectile dysfunction
- Anxiety Depression
In Mexico, 75% of the population suffers from work stress, above countries such as China and the United States, says the WHO. This is due, according to Dr. Armando Ahued, to an imbalance between what is required in the labor area with the ability, knowledge and profile of the worker.
What to do when faced with stress?
It should be noted that high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) cause a decrease in the body’s defenses, which makes us more likely to get sick. All the more reason to prevent your stress from lingering until such times.
Sometimes the solutions we try to relieve stress end up exacerbating the problem. Some people turn to substances that are harmful to their health, such as smoking, drinking alcohol or taking other drugs to relieve stress. However, in addition to not succeeding, the person acquires the addiction to the substance and will have to deal with the withdrawal syndrome, so both problems will keep him restless and his health is in even more danger.
On the other hand, food is also often a common resource. According to Fernando Fernández-Aranda, coordinator of the Eating Disorders Unit at the Bellvitge Hospital, in Barcelona, stressful situations influence our mood, modify food intake, causing us to eat in large quantities, so that we try to attend to negative emotions by eating. What is known as emotional hunger. This strategy, beyond not relieving stress, we run the risk of gaining weight.
Instead of managing stress, it manages us. The way you face situations makes the difference. That is why I share certain suggestions that you can put into practice to lower those stress levels.
1. Do what is within your power
We commonly get stressed by circumstances that are beyond our reach or by trying to do several activities at the same time.
Do what is in your hands, establishing priorities. Do not hesitate to ask for support from someone you trust. It is not always possible for you to do all things yourself. When in doubt about what to do when faced with stress, this is one of the easiest steps to follow, since it is based on focusing efforts on specific actions that we already had in mind.
2. Find the balance
It is not convenient to focus your life only on work or school. Do you live to work or work to live? Your answer can determine the level of stress you have or can achieve.
Without a doubt, work is very important to obtain the quality of life you want. But rest, relationships with others, such as family, partner, children, friends, should not be neglected. Even the relationship with yourself.
Allowing stress to take over your life and suffer its psychological and physical effects is a form of abandonment and neglect towards yourself, because it is about your health, which if it is lost, it is difficult to recover. Separating leisure time is as important as to complement it with your usual tasks, since it is the time that allows you to get out of everyday stress.
Do not let the scales fall to one extreme or the other, because excesses have never been healthy. Seek balance in the areas of your life. If the work you do is physical, try quiet hobbies; But if your job is sedentary, seek active hobbies.
3. Nurture your relationship with others
Try to spend time with the people you love and express your affection. Hugs help reduce stress, because when having that contact with the other, cortisol (stress hormone) decreases and the brain releases oxytocin (known as the love hormone), serotonin and dopamine, which it produces in us and in the other person a pleasant sensation.
4. Exercise regularly
Considered the best natural remedy to combat stress. Exercise allows you to discharge that accumulated energy. It produces hormones in the brain, such as serotonin, that allow us to have a feeling of well-being, which also gives the benefit of avoiding emotional problems such as anxiety and depression.
After exercise and a tiring working day, a good rest is necessary. When you sleep, the amount of stress hormones in the body decreases, so without adequate rest, fatigue and stress will accumulate with the next day’s activities, which can lead to anxiety and depression over time.
It is therefore very important to respect approximately 8 hours of sleep to prevent stress from continuing.
6. Perform breathing techniques
This is a very useful relaxation technique for those moments when stress takes over: start by taking deep breaths by inflating the abdomen (not the chest), hold the air for a few seconds and expel it through your mouth slowly.
Try to focus on the air that enters and leaves your body, or think of positive affirmations, so that you distract your mind for a moment from that stressful situation that you are experiencing. Do this technique over and over again until you feel a bit calmer.
7. Seek professional help
If you prefer or if the discomfort persists taking into account other factors, in psychotherapy you can learn to handle stressful situations in an appropriate way.
Stress is part of life, but it is convenient to have it under control to the extent that it allows us to solve what threatens our emotional balance.
A good quality of life is not only the result of work, it also involves rest, exercise, nutrition and the love of the people around us, including the love you have for yourself. In short, reflect on where the scale of your life is tilting and, if possible, seek balance.
- Ahued, A. (May 27, 2018). 75% of Mexicans suffer from stress, poor work and academic functionality. Retrieved on January 10, 2019, from Excelsior: https://www.excelsior.com.mx/opinion/armando-ahued/75-de-los-mexicanos-padece-estres-escasa-funcionalidad-laboral-y-academica .
- Blake, H. (September 4, 2017). What happens to your body when you are stressed? Retrieved on January 10, 2019, from El País: https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/08/11/ciencia/1502462353_596394.html
- Gómez, Á. (March 22, 2018). Stress makes you fat like a double cheeseburger. Retrieved on January 10, 2019, from El País: https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/03/17/buenavida/1521290847_089200.html.
- Melgosa, J. (2008). How to have a healthy mind. Madrid: Safeliz.