Stress is essentially a physical response. The body, when stressed thinks that it is under attack and releases a complex mix of hormones and chemicals such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine to prepare the body for physical action (fight or flight).
Let’s dive into the different types of stress and look at ways you can better manage your stress to live a healthier, happier life.
Types of Stress
Acute Stress: This is a response triggered when we encounter a threat or danger situation. This leads to the release of the stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, this causes a distinct change in the brain and body.
Chronic Stress: This occurs when we are experiencing stress on a regular, ongoing basis. It relates to the prolonged physical and psychological feelings of tension and pressure we may experience when we are finding the demands of our professional or personal life difficult to cope with.
Symptoms of Stress:
PHYSICAL symptoms are usually the first signs we notice when we are struggling with stress. Rapid heart beat, chest pain, a headache, feeling tense, shaky or on edge are the initial physical symptoms.
EMOTIONAL symptoms of stress include low moods, mood swings, feeling panicked or increasingly worried.
BEHAVIOUR changes associated with stress include over or under eating, becoming less tolerant and snappy with other people and difficulty sleeping. Chronic stress can lead to long term health problems so noticing the early warning signs is very important.
There is some good news though, stress is in fact manageable with the right tools, techniques and daily healthy habits. You can minimise the stress in your daily life and deal better with the effects of stress on your body and your mind.
The first step to improve managing stress is to IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS.
Anything that causes a stress response in the body is a trigger (release of stress hormones). Examples of this can be things that almost all of us will have experienced such as work-related stress, personal life stress and relationships stress. Think about your day to day movement. Do you encounter situations, people and environments that cause you to feel stressed? Perhaps you can notice some patterns and make a list of these triggers.
Now that you have identified the sources of your stress, you can start to implement a STRESS MANAGEMENT PLAN. A system or routine that incorporates actions that allow you to control factors that contribute to stress and how you respond to stressful situations that are not anticipated.
Simple changes such as planning your day the night before or waking up 15 minutes earlier can really make a big difference to your stress levels. It is a great feeling being calm and in control.
TAKE TIME OUT
It is so important to take time out during your work day and week as this is a big factor to managing stress. Go for a walk outside on a lunch break to clear your head also be conscious of taking mini-breaks throughout the day, this could even mean standing by the kettle while waiting for it to boil, anything that gets you away from your desk for a few minutes, find somewhere quiet for a couple of minutes to take some deep breaths as this will allow you to refocus.
Stress can be so overwhelming, if you make time to connect with your friends, family and loves ones this can really help relieve stress. Spending time and having fun is important and an overall sense of happiness.
Sustaining LONG-TERM STRESS MANAGEMENT, committing to daily practises and routines that will allow you to clear your mind, regain control and adopt a positive, confident mindset and changing patterns of behaviour that will feel challenging at first can make all the difference to your lifestyle and handling stress.
BE MORE DECISIVE
Under stress it can be extremely hard to make decisions, and by feeling indecisive can increase your stress levels. It can really give a sense of accomplishment and reduce stress when you make decisions and allow you to feel in control. Don’t sweat the small stuff, save your energy for those big life changing decisions and productive thoughts.
SIMPLIFY WHAT YOU CAN
LESS IS MORE, minimize stress by eliminating factors that cause strain and don’t add benefit to your life. Research has found that by decluttering your home or your work desk it will eliminate the distraction it causes. This distraction restricts your ability to focus and limits your brain’s ability to process information.
The final and MOST IMPORTANT factor in stress management, make the time to take care of your physical health. Eat a balanced, healthy diet, exercise regularly and get 8 hours sleep every night. Look after your body and it will look after you.
Everyone has encountered a series of events or situations that they have found to be stressful. It is what you do in these situations that really make or break how the situation will progress. Take some deep breaths, use these five tips in your everyday life and you will most definitely be able to reduce your stress and feel more in control and confident about yourself.