Coping with stress...

Life | Stress management

What is stress?

Stress is the body’s response to a challenge or demand. Everyone experiences stress, which can be triggered by a range of events, from small daily hassles to major changes like a divorce or job loss. 

Some people will tell you to “smile and get on with it” when you’re feeling stressed. However, stress isn’t a trivial matter. It can cause minor health conditions like headaches and fatigue, as well as more serious problems such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes. It also costs organizations millions of lost production every year. 

This is why it’s important to know how to deal with stress.

Coping With Stress

There are many definitions and explanations of stress. One common definition is attributed to psychologist Richard S. Lazarus. 

He said, “Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” 

We can simplify this by saying, “Stress is what we experience when we feel that we’re not in control.” 

A key issue with stress is perception. What one person perceives as stressful may not be to another. The level of stress that each person experiences also differs. People’s reactions to stress also vary. Some people react negatively to stressful situations, while others suffer very little. Factors such as personality, social support, and physical and mental conditioning all affect the amount of stress that people experience. Some of the symptoms of stress – tiredness, anxiety, inability to relax – are found in a stress-related condition called “hurry sickness.”

Dr. Ujjwal Patni has released a powerful video on this topic. Click below to watch it.

There are things you can learn to manage stress before it gets to be too much. Consider these suggestions:

  • Exercise

To start with, physical activity can help improve your sleep. And better sleep means better stress management. Doctors don’t yet know exactly why, but people who exercise more tend to get better deep “slow-wave” sleep that helps renew the brain and body. Just take care not to exercise too close to bedtime, which disrupts sleep for some people.

  • Diet

The benefits of eating healthy foods extend beyond your waistline to your mental health. A healthy diet can lessen the effects of stress, build up your immune system, level your mood, and lower your blood pressure. Lots of added sugar and fat can have the opposite effect. And junk food can seem even more appealing when you’re under a lot of stress.

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  • Sleep

A common side effect of stress is that you may struggle to fall asleep. If this happens three times a week for at least 3 months, you may have insomnia, an inability to fall and stay asleep. Lack of sleep can also add to your stress level and cause a cycle of stress and sleeplessness.

It’s natural and normal to be stressed sometimes. But long-term stress can cause physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, and unhealthy behaviors. Try relieving and managing stress using a few simple strategies. But if you feel overwhelmed, talk to your doctor.


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