Everyone is familiar with the term “stress.” In our daily lives, we frequently use the term. The way it’s commonly understood, stress is neither an event nor a condition that occurs during a bad condition. In actuality, it is a stress management method through which the body overcomes a difficult or unpleasant condition. Stress is a normal bodily reaction that occurs whenever one experiences change. It causes physical, emotional and intellectual changes in the body.
When we face any challenge, our bodies respond both emotionally and intellectually. Our responses towards stress help us adapt and adjust to new challenges. For instance, if you have an exam tomorrow, here stress will help you study hard and also helps you stay awake for a longer duration. It is important to remember that stress is not always bad.
Stress Is Broadly Classified Into Two Categories:
A- Eustress– which is also known as good stress. It can be positive and motivating. In general, it occurs when a task or any project is causing mild stress. Additionally, when a person feels that he has various resources available both internal and external.
B- Distress– which is known as negative or also bad stress. It is usually associated with a feeling when people feel too stressed out. Overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, low attention and concentration, frequent headaches, and sometimes sleep deprivation too are certain symptoms that people experience when they are undergoing prolonged stress or distress.
The difference between Eustress and Distress is the perception of the stressor. When a person feels that stressor or stressors are beyond their control or beyond their ability to fix, or desire to change, distress results (Perceiving them as a threat). As they lack an effective answer and feel overwhelmed and powerless, people who are in distress often resort to worrying and other counterproductive behaviours.
Impact Of Stress
Stress can lead to mental health issues. It can also create serious issues. For instance, if you are under a lot of stress, you may develop a mental illness like anxiety or depression. Alternatively, a stressful period may result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mental health problems can cause stress. Managing the everyday symptoms of your mental health problem could be challenging for you. You may also be concerned about managing your medications, medical appointments, or other treatments.
To cope with stress, one may turn to recreational drugs or alcohol. This could also have an impact on your mental health and generate more stress.
The entire well-being is at stake when facing high levels of stress. Stress generally disrupts the entire equilibrium. Be it emotional or physical. It impacts one’s concentration, creativity, and mindfulness. A lot of people believe that stress cannot be managed and they just have to live with it. But effective stress management skills like resilience help achieve a balanced life like happy relationships, a healthy lifestyle, and productive work.
Techniques For Stress Management
1. Identification of stressors (Sources of stress)
Identification of a stressor isn’t as easy as it sounds. It can be easy to list major stressors like changing a job or going through a breakup but understanding and identification of major stressors is difficult. We tend to overlook our behavior, thoughts and feelings that might contribute to our stress. For instance, reaching a deadline might be stressful not because of the actual workload but due to our own procrastination.
In order to understand and identify your sources of stress
1. Try reflecting upon whether you explain your stress as temporary.
2. Try reflecting upon whether you feel that stress is an integral part of your life. 3. Try reflecting upon whether you blame the external world as a source of stress.
Tip- Practice Stress journaling. It basically helps you identify the sources of your stress or additionally how you deal with it. Whenever you feel stressed, try tracking your stress. One may try penning it down-
1. What caused stress
2. Your feelings about it (both physically and emotionally)
3. How you respond
4. How did you feel better
2. Practicing 4 As of Stress (Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept)
Stress is a natural and automatic response to certain situations. While there are some stressors that are predictable for instance a family gathering, a meeting with the boss, travel to the office, or a friend. When one is dealing with predictable stressors, one may either change his/her reaction to it or may change the situation.
AVOID – While it’s equally important to address stress yet certain stressors can be eliminated. There are certain ways like
A- Saying no- It is important to understand your own limitations. At times, taking up more responsibilities can add to your stress.
B- Avoiding people who add stress to your life – Spending time mindfully with people who don’t make you stressed.
C- Controlling the Environment- Try reflecting upon the environmental situations that might make you stressed. For instance, if that is a particular show at night, avoid watching that, if the market makes you stressed then try online shopping.
D- To-do list- Make a list of activities that need to be done and avoid overburdening.
ALTER – Situations that are unavoidable can be changed. Try opening up about your feelings to friends and family. If there is a person or a task which is eating up your mind, try to be assertive. For example, if your boss is piling up work on you, then communicating will help it otherwise There will be resentment that might add to the stress. Additionally, be willing to compromise in certain situations. If you are expecting certain things to be changed and your partner’s behavior to be changed, you also have to bend a bit.
A balanced schedule is an important part of your day. A lot of work with no leisure might lead to burnout. Try to find a balance between your personal and professional space.
ADAPT– If changing a stressful situation seems difficult, then try changing yourself. Try looking at a situation from an alternative perspective. For example, a traffic jam could be seen as a chance to listen to your favourite music. Additionally, try to understand whether the stress will matter to you in the future or in the long run. If not, then try asking yourself “Is it really worth getting stressed out?”
ACCEPT– Some stressors are neither avoidable nor controllable. For instance, losing a job, or a partner, a natural calamity. The best way to deal with those stressors is to accept them as they are. This can be done by focusing our attention on the control of emotions, expressing our feelings, and learning the psychology behind forgiving.
3. Get moving– Whenever you feel that a stressor is consuming your energy and eating up your mind, you may start moving. For instance, dancing or exercising. Physical exercise releases some hormones, and that makes us feel relieved.
4. Connecting with others (friends, family, relatives)– going out with a friend to a coffee or a movie. Connecting with family on a regular basis or fixing dinner time. The point of reaching out to people is not to reduce tension, but rather to find some comfort.
5. Make time for leisure, something relaxing – Sometimes taking out that much-needed time releases stress. It’s a myth that having some time off is a luxury rather than a necessity.
6. Managing better time management– Making a list of to-dos and prioritizing tasks can help you achieve this. This will help in having a healthy lifestyle too like adequate amounts of small, active breaks, and time for exercise.
Seeking help is a sign of courage. Don't let self-limiting beliefs hold you back from a life you deserve. Avail online therapy to become happier and better. Learn how
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669