STRESS AND ANXIETY: CAUSES AND PREVENTION

Feeling stressed or anxious in today’s society is pretty much inevitable. Most people experience stress and anxiety from time to time. But how stressed you get or how often this happens are two things that you can have a great influence over.



Stress and anxiety are not always bad. In the short term, they can help you overcome a challenge or dangerous situation. Examples of everyday stress and anxiety include worrying about finding a job, feeling nervous before a big test, or being embarrassed in certain social situations. If we did not experience some anxiety, we might not be motivated to do things that we need to do (for instance, studying for that big test!).


In a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors (from the environment, psychological, or social situations). Stress can also be internal or self-generated when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.



So, what can you do about it?


How would you know when you’re stressed?


Knowing the symptoms of stress is vitally important to preventive health. Here are some of the signs that stress is impacting your health and well-being:

1. Recurring headaches

2. Stomach-ache

3. Sweating

4. Shaking

5. Feeling overwhelmed

6. Chest pain, rapid heart rate

7. Decreased Energy and Insomnia

8. Fatigue

9. Body aches and muscle pain

10. Mood disturbances: depression, anger, and irritability

11. Digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation

12. Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting)


WHAT CAUSES STRESS?


The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you, can be stressful.


· Worrying about your finances and the economy.

· Major life changes.

· Juggling many roles and responsibilities, such as life partner, parent, friend, employee, and caregiver for aging parents.

· Going from one challenging situation to the next without taking time to relax.

· Regular use of caffeine, illicit drugs such as cocaine, and even alcohol can also make symptoms worse.

· Unrealistic expectations/perfectionism.

· Starting a new school or job.

· Being overwhelmed by technology such as, keeping up with cell phone messages, and e-mails.

· Handling a major life event, such as changing jobs or moving to a new home.

· Handling more than one major life event at the same time, for instance, dealing with a family illness while changing jobs.

STRESS AND ANXIETY MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES:

Fortunately, there are many ways to help relieve stress. Here are some ways that can help you to de-stress:

1. Keep yourself active: Participate in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. Enjoy social interaction and caring relationships, which can lessen your worries.

2. Learn what triggers your anxiety: Is it family, school, work, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.

3. Exercise regularly: Your body can fight stress better when it is fit. So, practice exercise on regular basis.

4. Eat a healthy diet: Do not skip meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.

5. Learn to manage your time more effectively.

6. Take deep breaths: Inhale and exhale slowly whenever you feel stressed or anxious. It enhances inner peace.

7. Maintain a positive attitude: Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Experience more positive emotions such as love, joy, optimism, enthusiasm and happiness.

8. Gratitude: Practicing gratitude is shown to increase optimism and reduce the harmful effects of stress. A simple gratitude list or journal that you work with each day is a powerful way to boost your resilience against stress.

9. Meditate: Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Try meditation and yoga. Mindfulness meditation calms your mind and makes your body relaxed.

10.Get your rest: Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. At the same time, stress can disrupt your sleep. So, give your body additional sleep and rest when you’re stressed or anxious.

11.Build a zone of few distractions for your work hours: A simple workspace makes it easier to focus. By doing so you feel less distracted, it is easier to think clearly and it feel less stressed.

12.Share problem with loved ones: Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you.

13.Consult therapist: Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.


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