It is important for us today to be aware of the signs of stress so we can prevent or remove them as early as possible.
Stress can be devastating to our health. Frequent stress affects the function of all organs and systems.
For example, the skin can become dry and pale, with a yellow tint. There is also a significant increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nervousness can cause cystitis, incontinence, and more. And most importantly, stress accelerates the aging process – both external and internal.
That is why it is important for modern man to know the signs of stress in order to prevent its consequences or to eliminate them as early as possible.
Signs of stress
According to statistics, women in Russia are more susceptible to stress because of their heightened emotionality and sensitivity. In 2020, people of all professions experienced strong negative experiences, but especially teachers, entrepreneurs and, of course, doctors.
This year turned out to be a difficult one for many, so the number of people with chronic stress increased many times over. At the same time, people have come to regard their depressed state as the norm. But even in the hardest of times, it’s important not to let the situation go and fight back against the disease.
Stress subjects the entire body to changes, so it is worth paying attention to the symptoms of different nature.
Behavioral signs of stress:
- loss of interest in life, friends, your appearance;
- low self-esteem;
- frequent bouts of anger and feelings of helplessness.
- sleep disturbance;
- Development of unhealthy habits;
- Increased fatigue;
- decreased ability to work.
- poor concentration;
- excessive distractibility;
- loss of attention.
- decreased creativity and memory;
- impairment of logic;
- frequent errors in spelling.
- frequent headaches;
- decreased immunity;
- rapid weight loss or, on the contrary, rapid weight gain;
- organ deterioration.
Types of stress
Conventionally we can distinguish two varieties of stress.
Eustress is a “good” stress, which does not harm a person. Without it we would always feel calm, at ease and would not want to achieve anything. We feel eustress when we need to get out of our comfort zone and change something in our life. A simple example: you have undertaken to create a large-scale project that requires a lot of time, effort, intellectual and physical effort. It is difficult for you, you are nervous, but at the same time you feel that at the end you will get a pleasant feeling of pride in yourself, you will be praised, and all the effort spent will not be in vain. Thus, eustress motivates us not to give up and to go forward despite difficulties.
Distress is harmful and occurs when stress reaches a large scale: it lasts for a long time and has several points of origin. For example, when a person has to cope with several difficult and unpleasant tasks at once: change of environment, going into the army, lack of sleep, financial losses.
Distress has an extremely negative effect on a person’s psyche and physiology. He ceases to rejoice, receive positive emotions and is constantly dissatisfied with his life. Signs of distress include sudden changes in mood, physical weakness, poor performance, and the occurrence of negative thoughts.
Types of distress:
- Emotional. It is associated with the person’s experience of a very strong emotional state (both positive and negative). For example, the birth of a child, a promotion at work, a new trip, or, on the contrary, separation or the death of a loved one.
- Physiological. Directly affect the tissues of the body. Can be caused by climatic (cold, heat, thunderstorms), chemical (deficiency or increased oxygen in the air) or physical factors (excessive strain, injuries). These triggers do not go away. Even after everything has normalized, the person experiences apathy, overwork, and constant fatigue for some time.
- Chronic. This is a prolonged adaptive reaction of the body to negative influences from the environment. It is the most dangerous type of stress. It can occur from overwork at work, family quarrels, etc. It can also lead to changes in the size of the brain. The consequences can be changes in the size of the brain, its structure and functioning in general. Leads to all kinds of illnesses (neurosis, heart disease, vascular disease).
- Nervous. Characterized by excessive tension in the emotional and physical plane. A man cannot control his emotions, behaves aggressively and flamboyantly.
Stages of stress
Anxiety. A person is afraid, a signal goes to the hypothalamus – there is an active production of adrenaline, cortisol, noradrenaline. As a result, our heart rate and breathing speed up.
Adaptation. The body tries to return to normal and normalize its functions. If it fails, it goes into the third stage.
Exhaustion. The body does not have the strength to fight on its own, so nervous breakdowns, depression, and other diseases develop and manifest themselves. Exit from such a state should be dealt with by a specialist.
The body’s reaction to stress is controlled by the hypothalamus and adrenal glands. Fixing the stressful situation, the body releases certain hormones. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are produced in the adrenal glands at the first signs of danger. It rises during anxiety and shock, causes the heart to beat faster and the pupils to dilate.
Norepinephrine is released in all shock situations. Its action is associated with an increase in blood pressure.
Cortisol levels rise in extreme situations or physical activity. In small doses, it has no effect on the body. But prolonged exposure to this hormone damages the brain, literally reducing its size. Large amounts of cortisol cause loss of synaptic connections between neurons and shrinkage of the prefrontal cortex, which regulates concentration, decision-making, reasoning and social interaction.
Prolactin especially affects women whose target organ is the mammary glands. In situations of severe stress, the release of this hormone begins, resulting in metabolic problems.
Corticoliberin activates the center of fear and anxiety, causes anorexia and increases blood pressure.
Of course, stress is an essential part of life. But we can learn to manage it and prevent its devastating effect on our health.
To do this, it is important to engage in prevention. For example:
- Include in your diet foods rich in useful micronutrients. For example, magnesium plays an important role – one of the main helpers in the fight against stress, it reduces cortisol levels. Magnesium is contained in nuts (peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts), sesame, seeds, seaweed, bitter chocolate and buckwheat.
- Limit yourself in drinking alcohol. It exacerbates the effects of chronic stress and leads to depression.
- Limit caffeine intake after 3 p.m. Especially with high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
- Talk to a psychologist. If you are worried about any fears, emotional distress, it will be very effective to talk to a specialist who can help you understand yourself and direct you on the right path.
- Limit the flow of information from the Internet. And it is extremely desirable to stop comparing your life with ideal pictures from social networks.
- Normalize sleep. It is important that it lasts 7-8 hours.
- Engage in sports. It helps to increase activity and concentration and improves general cognitive functions.
- Don’t burden yourself with a multitude of complex tasks. Good time management is the key to stress prevention.
- Try meditation practices. Relaxation techniques allow you to detach, become aware of what is happening and choose how to respond to stress.
The most important thing is to monitor your feelings and emotions, do not put them in a “far away box”.
Do not put off making an appointment with a specialist if you feel that you cannot cope with stress on your own. A therapy plan is assigned based on the patient’s complaints.
An approximate scheme of treatment looks like this:
- Therapeutic practice with a psychologist. At the moment, there are many psychological techniques that can help you cope with stress and return to normal life. The specialist will choose the right one, based on the patient’s condition and his personal characteristics.
- Collection of tests. Since stress can affect many organs, it is important to identify the presence of a problem at the initial stage.
- Medication therapy. If the stress is not of a prolonged nature, mild sedatives are prescribed which will reduce anxiety and restlessness. In more severe cases, patients are recommended tranquilizers and antidepressants.
- Relaxation. Healthy relaxation techniques include breathing techniques, massage and yoga.
Diagnostics and treatment of stress at Expert Clinics
Expert Clinics is an European level clinic in Moscow that is fundamentally and comprehensively engaged in diagnosing and treating stress and its effects.
First of all you need to make an appointment. Then a treatment plan is prescribed based on the patient’s complaints.
It is important to understand that stress is not treated in one or two visits to the doctor. Recovery occurs in stages. It is important that you become aware of this path. And the correct and timely diagnosis of stress will be an important stepping stone on the path to a happy life.
How to cope with stress
We do not always manage to maintain a normal emotional state. Sometimes events occur that disrupt our normal rhythm of life. At such times we experience emotional stress. Among all its manifestations, stress is considered one of the most common.
Specialists of private clinic “Medunion” will tell you about what it is and why it occurs. And most importantly – how to relieve stress?
What is stress?
Specialists call stress a feeling of depression and inability to overcome emotional and psychological pressure. It arises from the understanding that a person is in a situation beyond his control. Emotions overwhelm the patient, and the nervous system is unable to cope with them.
How quickly and painlessly a person can cope with stress depends on many factors – health, social status, lifestyle, financial situation and even genetics. However, at such times, people need support more than ever. The illness will recede faster if the person is surrounded by loved ones. Travel and active sports can also help in such a situation.
What are the types of stress?
Psychologists distinguish two main types of stress – eustress and distress. Roughly speaking, good and bad. Let’s analyze each of them in more detail.
Eustress is a useful kind, which occurs when the patient easily adapts to change. In this case, cognitive functions are activated. It helps to make decisions faster, find unusual solutions to problems, and activates productive work. As a result, the person finds a way out faster, while getting a release of adrenaline and a feeling of satisfaction.
Distress is a negative manifestation of stress, which occurs in the case of unsuccessful adaptation to new living conditions. In such a case, the body begins to produce the hormone cortisol. It affects the work of all the vital systems of the body. This can lead to manifestations such as weakness, apathy, heart malfunction, insomnia and problems with the gastrointestinal tract.
Stages of stress
The development of stress usually occurs in three phases:
- Mobilization – the body responds to an irritant with anxiety. It then mobilizes its defenses and resources to confront the stressor.
- Confrontation – the body confronts the stressful situation. The patient starts searching for a way out of it.
- Depletion – when a person is exposed to a stressor for a long time, the body begins to exhaust itself. At some point it will become vulnerable to secondary threats, such as disease or infection.
What are the symptoms of stress?
Among the main signs of stress, experts include the following manifestations:
- Muscle tremor – twitching of the cheeks, eyes, fingers and corners of the mouth
- Sleep disturbances – insomnia and restless sleep
- Frequent diagnosis of colds
- Permanent state of sleepiness
- Craving for substances that distort consciousness – alcohol or narcotic drugs
- Impaired functioning of various body systems – difficulty digesting, loss of appetite, unbearable headaches, sexual dysfunction and increased irritability
- Strong desire to be unconscious – to play games or watch TV for a long time
When the first symptoms of the ailment appear, you need to see a specialist. The doctor will conduct an interview, examination and diagnosis. After which a therapy strategy will be appointed. It is best not to put off going to a specialist. Then the disease may provoke a chronic form.
If the stress becomes chronic, the patient loses the ability to experience positive emotions – to be pleased, admire and admire something. He feels an acute need for solitude in order to be alone with his thoughts and condition.
In this case, detachment is a defensive reaction to what is happening. In this way he is more comfortable adapting to the changes in life. Depending on the type of nervous system, reactions to stress vary. Some engage in self-destruction, some resort to hysterics, and some try to ignore the fact that there is a problem alone.
How do you deal with stress?
Any solution to a problem is to address the causes and signs of the problem. Stress treatment is no exception in this case. The patient must change his or her lifestyle. You can start small and gradually connect a new and new item.
First you need to normalize the sleep regime. It is necessary to let the body sleep as much as it requires. During this process, our body recovers strength and energy. In case of shortage, the body is stressed. It is necessary to stay awake when there is a lack of energy. The norm of sleep in adults is 7-8 hours, in children 9-10 hours.
The next step is a proper and balanced diet. This is also necessary to make up for the lack of energy under stress. Food is our fuel, and the state of our body depends on its quality. Experts recommend to reduce, and better to give up caffeine and alcoholic drinks. These substances intensify stress, but in no way suppress it. The main things in your diet should be fresh and natural products – vegetables, fruit, cereals and meat. Food should be eaten 4-5 times a day in small portions. It is also important to observe the water balance – drink up to 2 liters of liquid a day.
Next, add physical activity to your life. Even small exercises help to free the body from stress-inducing hormones. Try to increase your heart rate to 120-180 beats per minute for a half hour every day. If you don’t have time to exercise for half an hour in a row, don’t worry: break it up into several approaches throughout the day. You can use anything – swimming, walking, biking, or rollerblading. The main thing is movement. If you don’t have time or other resources for that, a walk of half an hour to an hour will usually suffice.
Take more time to do something you enjoy. This could be a hobby or watching a movie, or maybe reading books or magazines. Usually when a person is stressed, they forget that they have their favorite activities. It is necessary to make time daily for such leisure activities.
Most importantly, avoid negative thoughts. There is something bright in everyone’s life. Think about it more often, then the emotional balance will begin to be restored. You should not concentrate only on the bad things that happened during the day or week.
There are several exercises for this. The first is to sit down and list on paper all the things that cheer you up. You can start with the smallest and most basic things – the roof over your head, the bed you sleep on, good food, warmth, safety, good health, friends and family.
The second exercise is to say something pleasant to yourself after waking up. It is desirable to do it in front of a mirror. For example, that you will cope with everything today. This will direct your energy and mind to positive thinking.
Anti-stress exercises: how to calm down?
Start by taking three slow, deep breaths and exhales. To cheer up, take a six-count inhale, followed by a three-count exhalation. If you need to calm down, inhale for three counts and exhale for six counts.
A special massage of the face relieves the attack. The movements should go from the nose along the cheeks to the earlobes, from the chin and ears to the clavicles. You can massage the forehead along the eyebrows from the center to the edges. The movements should be accompanied by special breathing – make seven slow and deep breaths and exhalations.
These two exercises will help to calm down if you are worried. For example, because of an upcoming public speech or approaching deadlines for a project. Three minutes is most often enough to achieve the effect.
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