How to deal with stress
Advances in scientific and technological progress, accelerated rhythm of life require more mental effort. Overwhelming information flows, rapid changes in society, increasing multitasking turn into constant tension, which depletes mental and physical resources. To withstand the stressful conditions, many begin taking antidepressants, tranquilizers, which are not without side effects. Psychologists recommend safer, but effective methods of maintaining the psychophysiological state. About how to combat stress without harm to health, we will tell in this article.
What is stress?
The concept of “stress” was introduced into medicine at the beginning of the last century by American physiologist W. Cannon. The doctor denoted with one succinct word a nonspecific adaptive response of the body to neuro-psychological overload. In the postwar years Cannon’s research was continued by his student (Canadian endocrinologist H. Selye), and by the end of the XX century the study of stress conditions and their consequences acquired a worldwide scale.
Stress can be both positive and negative. In the first case it is eustress – a bright positive event, which passes without complications for the body, charges positive, ends with relaxation. In the second case we are talking about distress – prolonged tension of the nervous system, the accumulation of negative emotions. Such a condition negatively affects the entire body, which is due to the close connection between the mental component and the somatic component. Permanent stress often leads to psycho-emotional dysfunctions, addictions, development of chronic diseases.
It is established that the inhabitants of megapolises, persons with a labile psyche, teenagers, people of the advanced age are more exposed to nervous and mental overload.
Causes of stress reactions
Stress is caused by neuropsychological overload and psychotraumatic situations. The more attention a person pays to his problems, the more it affects his mental and somatic health.
The main provoking factors include:
- Psychotraumas. For example, the news of an incurable illness, the death of a loved one, bankruptcy, loss of property, a difficult divorce process.
- Workaholism. Regardless of the type of work (mental or physical), a non-stop regime leads to burnout, chronic stress.
- Physical injuries – car accidents, injuries, assaults, surgeries that result in disability.
- Unresolved or slowly resolved problems – financial and housing difficulties, illness of relatives, protracted litigation, lengthy treatment or rehabilitation.
- Problems in the family and society – constant tension in marital relations, conflicts with colleagues, superiors, neighbors, and acquaintances.
- Age Crisis. Stress reactions, especially in women, cause age-related changes.
- Adaptation situation – moving to another city, job changes, changes in living conditions, etc.
Psychiatrists and psychologists separately consider variants of violence, which often lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Signs and symptoms
Psycho-emotional tension affects a person’s behavior. Some people experience a feeling of anxiety, excessive excitement (like a fugiform reaction), become restless, irritable, sometimes aggressive. Others withdraw into themselves, become depressed, and begin to behave in a detached manner. Why does this happen? The response to stress depends on the initial state of health and personality accentuation – personal vulnerability to the influence of various psychogenic factors.
The stress response affects the brain, nervous system, and internal organs. This is due to increased production of adrenaline and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. In a shock situation, the level of adrenaline rises rapidly, forcing a lightning-fast “hit or run” decision. However, after a while the hormone returns to normal. In chronic stress, blood levels of adrenaline are constantly elevated, leading to physiological and mental malfunctions.
- insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks;
- muscle tension;
- intermittent dizziness;
- tremors in the extremities;
- decreased immunity;
- impaired cognitive function.
A person becomes distracted, capricious, tearful, his mood constantly changes, there is a feeling of uselessness.
Stress is dangerous to health.
A disturbed hormonal background threatens the development of diseases such as
- hypertension with the possibility of a stroke;
- arrhythmia, coronary heart disease;
- functional disorders of the adrenal cortex, the formation of pheochromocytoma (hormone-active tumor);
- metabolic disorders, thyroid gland malfunction;
- stress ulcers of the stomach;
- chronic fatigue syndrome;
- erectile dysfunction, NOMC (disorders of the ovarian and menstrual cycle).
Constant anxiety leads to mental health disorders. Such conditions develop:
- Psychogenic depression. The main postulates are hopelessness, senselessness. The past arouses disgust, the future seems unpromising, the present has no sense.
- Mental disorders – anhedonia (loss of ability to rejoice), abulia (decrease in volitional qualities), anorexia nervosa.
- Phobias – futurophobia (fear of the future), sociophobia (fear of people), neophobia (fear of change and everything new).
- Affective disorders of the severity, adequacy and stability of emotions.
Suicidal ideation is not uncommon with distress. The desire to leave problems and relieve stress turns into alcohol or drug addiction.
Ways to fight it
It is necessary to understand why emotions are out of control, and accept the cause of the stress reaction. To do this, it is recommended to analyze your feelings, thoughts, confess your desires, return the lost feelings. It is quite difficult to do this on your own. When chronic stress requires professional help. Classes with a psychotherapist include cognitive therapy, Gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, therapy of personal growth.
If the condition has not reached a critical point, well help independent ways to combat stress. Their goal is the superficial processing of negative emotions (according to the “here and now” principle). Psychologists recommend:
- Writing down thoughts when an emotional wave hits. Reading through what you have written after some time, you can better understand the problem, separating the main from the secondary.
- Clean the house regularly. Confusion in things is reflected by confusion in thoughts and feelings.
- Drink vitamins for the nervous system and general strengthening multivitamin complexes. Distress depletes the body, so you need to replenish lost nutrients.
- Maximize physical activity. Sport distracts from worries, regular exercise speeds up blood circulation, reduces the level of adrenaline in the blood.
- Master mindfulness – the art of attention management, presence in the present moment. It helps to reduce anxiety, not to give in to emotional outbursts, reflex reactions.
- Take herbal teas at night. Phytotherapy has long been shown to be highly effective.
- Do breathing exercises. Exercises are good for relaxation, normalize heart activity, and speed up the metabolism.
- Use aromatherapy products. The aromas of different essential oils can cheer you up, lift your spirits, encourage action or, conversely, calm you down and set you up for a pleasant rest.
- Find time for hobbies. Long-abandoned or new hobbies will help switch from negative to positive.
- Communicate with relatives and friends. Vocal and listened to the problem – the first step to its solution.
- Don’t give up something that gives joy and pleasure. In periods of emotional instability, it is important to receive positive emotions.
Women in this matter well help shopping – buying new clothes, cosmetics or household goods.
Shall we dance?
One effective way to combat stress is to do random dance movements to your favorite music. Together with energy, worries, fears and excitement escape.
During stress, muscle tone increases. Consider a few simple exercises for the relaxation of the muscular apparatus:
- Starting position – sitting on the floor with legs wide apart. Put your left hand on your right side, inhale deeply, lift your right hand vertically and swing it from side to side. Repeat with the other arm.
- Initial position is lying on back. Lift your legs, bend at the knees, pull them to the chest and put your arms around them. Start rocking slowly, keeping the body position.
- Starting position is sitting, feet together. Raise your hands up, slowly bend forward. Reach your hands to your feet, trying to “fold” in half.
It is important not to make sudden movements, and to do the exercises in a leisurely rhythm (smoothly).
From the tools you need only an alarm clock:
- For a minute, watch the second hand moving, without distracting yourself by sounds, thoughts, emotions, feelings.
- Set the alarm for a random daily time. When it rings, we stop, distract ourselves, and mentally answer the questions: “Where am I? What do I hear? What do I see? What emotions am I experiencing? What does my body feel?”
Exercise helps you “dive out” of the turmoil, focus, calm down, and reduce anxiety.
In dealing with stress, it is important to learn how to shift attention from negative emotions to positive ones, and to rest regularly. Do not exclude sports, walks, hobbies, spending time with friends, and things that give you joy.
Don’t be nervous! 10 Ways to Calm Down Quickly in a Stressful Situation
Everyone faces stress from time to time. It can be an unpleasant conversation, a problem at work, a conflict with a loved one. Often such cases end up spoiling your mood for the whole day and nervous tension: you will feel tired and broken. Psychologist Vladimir Klimov tells you how to quickly pick yourself up in a stressful situation and calm down.
Stress is a new opportunity
A stressful situation is not the end of the world, but a new opportunity! Remember this whenever your nerves are on edge. A meeting scheduled for tonight is canceled? But you can spend more time with your family or just relax at home with a cup of tea. Caught on a nail and tore your dress or shirt? This is an excuse to update your closet and buy another beautiful thing. Do not dwell on the problem, and think about the horizons it opens up to you.
There are days when everything falls through the cracks. The things you do every day seem overwhelming, you have no time for anything. Panicking unnecessarily won’t help you, but will only slow you down and ruin your well-being. Try to take a little break and run the worst-case scenario in your head – what happens if you fail to cope with this or that task. Agree that globally, this little failure won’t affect your life in any way. At most, you’ll have an explanation with a manager or a client, the unpleasant impression of which you can later make up for with successfully completed work. It is the same in any other situation: you were rude in public transport, someone spilled coffee on you, you were late to the cinema or theater – no big deal! Minor annoyances should not make your life miserable.
How clichéd it may sound, but in a stressful situation, the first thing to do is to breathe deeply. This will ensure the flow of oxygen into the blood and banish excess adrenaline. There are several proven techniques. For example, you can take a deep breath, hold your breath, count to ten and slowly exhale. Another way is to concentrate on the process of breathing itself. Feel how you breathe, how the air enters your lungs, how it feels. Breathe deeply and evenly. Very soon the nervous tension will go away.
Simple exercises can help you cope with nerves quickly. Squat, do some bending, squeeze an expansion joint or a rubber ball in your hand. Five minutes – and the stress will go away!
Eat a pastry
Tasty foods are known to help you cope with stress. If you are nervous, allow yourself to eat a piece of chocolate, cakes, even French fries – in moderation is allowed! The main thing is not to make eating stress a habit. Let it be just one way to calm down.
Think of others
Your trip to the seaside fell through? The job interview was rejected? Caught a bad cold, and now you have to miss a trip with friends in the countryside? Do not despair. Think about the people who are now worse off than you. About those who have no roof over their heads, who have nothing to eat, who are struggling with a fatal illness. “You live in comfortable conditions, you have two arms, two legs and a head on your shoulders – all in order to become the master of your fate and solve any problem,” says Klimov. – Is it worth getting upset over nothing?
Share with your loved ones.
Sometimes, to overcome stress, a person just needs to talk. Call a friend or relative and tell about your trouble. “Already from this conversation alone you will feel better, – said psychologist. – And if you give good advice, the problem can generally be considered solved.
Surely everyone during a long telephone conversation or other monotonous activity at least once left abstract drawings on paper – flowers, patterns, circles and other geometric shapes. Psychologist says: drawing helps distract and stop dwelling on the problem. Take it and just scribble in a notebook: stress will go away.
In most cases, the stressful situation is not worth your mental anguish. True, you’ll realize this later, when you’ve spent your nerves. To prevent a panic state, you need to laugh! Recall a funny story from his life, a funny moment from your favorite comedy, a joke. Here you are already smiling!
In a confusing situation, go to bed.
Often the problem seems much more significant than it is, if you are tired for a day, overworked. You need to rest and get a good night’s sleep! Take a bath, listen to some good music, and go to bed. You’re more likely to wake up in the morning in a good mood.