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Coping With Stress

Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. The body reacts to those changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Stress is a normal part of life and positive life changes like a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a baby can lead to stress and stressful situations. Stress could be a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It will come back from any event or thought that produces you are feeling annoyed, angry, or nervous.

Stress is your body's reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress is often positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But once stress lasts for a protracted time, it should hurt your health.

How does stress affect health?

Your body reacts to stress by releasing hormones. These hormones build your brain additional alert, cause your muscles to tense, and increase your pulse. In the short term, these reactions are good because they can help you handle the situation causing stress. This is your body's way of protecting itself.

When you have chronic stress, your body stays alert, although there's no danger. Over time, this puts you at risk for health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Depression or anxiety

  • Skin problems, such as acne or eczema

  • Menstrual problems

Stress may slowly buildup over time to a point where it seems like a normal reaction in you. however, this only further leads to more stress. the following are symptoms of stress overload. 

Cognitive symptoms:

  1. Memory problems

  2. Inability to concentrate

  3. Poor judgment

  4. Seeing only the negative

  5. Anxious or racing thoughts

  6. Constant worrying

Emotional symptoms:

  1. Depression or general unhappiness

  2. Anxiety and agitation

  3. Moodiness, irritability, or anger

  4. Feeling overwhelmed

  5. Loneliness and isolation

  6. Other mental or emotional health problems

Physical symptoms:

  1. Aches and pains

  2. Diarrhoea or constipation

  3. Nausea, dizziness

  4. Chest pain, rapid heart rate

  5. Loss of sex drive

  6. Frequent colds or flu

Behavioural symptoms:

  1. Eating more or less

  2. Sleeping too much or too little

  3. Withdrawing from others

  4. Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities

  5. Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax

  6. Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Coping With Stress

Coping is the process of spending conscious effort and energy to solve personal and interpersonal problems. In the case of stress, coping mechanisms seek to master, minimize, or tolerate stress and stressors that occur in everyday life. All coping strategies have the adaptive goal of reducing or dealing with stress, but some strategies can actually be maladaptive (unhealthy) or merely ineffective. Maladaptive behaviours are those that inhibit a person?s ability to adjust to particular situations. 

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress

Here are some healthy ways to deal with stress:

  • Take care of yourself.

  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals

  • Exercise on a regular basis

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out

  • Talk to others. Share your problems and how you are feeling and coping with a parent, friend, counsellor, doctor, or pastor.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These may seem to help, but they can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling.

  • Take a break. If news events are causing your stress, take a break from listening or watching the news.

  • Recognize when you need more help. If problems continue or you are thinking about suicide, talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counsellor.

Article By: Anolu Ejehi