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You are here : home > Health > General Health > Combating Stress

Combating Stress

Stress is something that everyone experiences from time to time. Learn about how to identify its common signs and deal with them.

Stress, in common parlance, is the physical or mental disturbance we experience when subjected to the pressures of life. It affects people in different ways, with some people being more severely affected than others. Read on to find out potential signs that mean you are stressed and what you can do to relax.

Potential signs that you are stressed

Any situation has the ability to produce a stressful response in an individual. Whether the response produced is manifested physically, mentally, or emotionally, will depend on the stimulus itself. However, the intensity of the response produced will vary from person to person as no two individuals react in the same manner to the same stress.

Among the first signs of stress to be noticed is the drop in the ability to take decisions. This is especially obvious when you consider small decisions that you would normally require only a split second to take. Stress can take a toll on your confidence, which translates into hesitancy when it comes to making a choice. You may be feeling the effects of stress when you find yourself suddenly starting to take a long time deciding what to wear, if earlier you could pick out an outfit in a few minutes.

Another often ignored sign that you are stressed is tiredness or fatigue. This is generally noticed during a stressful period. For example, you may be stressed at work because you have a project that needs to be completed by a particular time and you need to work extra hours to meet the deadline. A direct fallout of this stress is that you will begin to feel tired both mentally and physically. Another sign that is connected to fatigue brought on by stress is insomnia. In fact it contributes to fatigue, as your body has not been able to get the rest it deserves.

Other signs of stress include a change in normal body functioning as well as appearance. Your face may break out in pimples or your skin may develop spots and other blemishes as a sign of stress. Stress can also affect your digestive system. This is because the lack of appetite resulting from stress may cause you to skip meals. On the other hand, stress could also cause you to overeat. Other stressful responses include gastric ailments like acidity, stomach ulcers, diarrhoea, and constipation.

Dealing with stress

The first step to dealing with stress is to recognise that it is affecting you adversely and identify your stressors, or reasons why you are stressed. A very effective way of reducing the effects of stress on your body is to practice deep breathing techniques. This increases the amount of oxygen you breathe in, which has a soothing effect on your organs. Take deep breaths at regular intervals throughout the day. If you can combine deep breathing with a short meditation session, it will have the added benefit of calming your mind as well as your body. If you have difficulty meditating by yourself, consider joining a yoga class to help relieve the tension.

Another great way to fight stress is to engage in some form of exercise. It improves blood flow within your body, which includes the flow of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Exercise also stimulates the release of certain chemical substances in the brain, called neurotransmitters. These substances control the ability of your body to respond to various stimuli. At the same time, exercise promotes the release of substances called endorphins, which have a feel-good effect on the body as well as being a great stress buster.

Another important factor in combating stress is to make sure your body and mind get adequate rest. Research has proved that people who miss out on sleep tend to show a more adverse response to stress. Your surroundings play a role in helping you rest properly, so make sure your bed has a good mattress and that the temperature in your room is not too high. If you still have trouble falling asleep, play some soft, soothing music to get you in a relaxed mood.

Everyone has to deal with stressful situations and there may be times when you simply cannot cope. Just remember to relax and take it easy when you find yourself bogged down by your troubles. You will be back on your feet in no time.

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