How to prevent stress?Stress is a normal physical and psychological reaction
to the ever-increasing demands of everyday life. It is hard not to be stressed. Between work, family and your other commitments, you have a lot to think about and can be easily overwhelmed.
However, it is essential to take time to relax or your physical and mental health may be affected
. When the brain sees a threat, it signals your body to release a stream of hormones in order to fuel your response capacity. Once the threat has disappeared, the body goes back to a normal and calm condition. Unfortunately, because of the constant stress of modern life, your body is always on the alert and does not recover anymore. That is why it is essential to manage this stress
: over time, a high level of stress leads to severe health issues.
The different types of stress
There are 2 major types of stress. The first is useful and plays a protective role but imperceptibly leads to the second, useless and painful for the person suffering from it.
- The protective stress which enables to deal with demanding work conditions while remaining effective;
- The severe stress which is exhausting and damages performance. There are three sorts of severe stress:
- Acute stress: it is caused by a rapid transition through a new professional situation, an unknown social environment or an unfamiliar climate, or by personal issues.
- Chronic stress: it can appear gradually or rapidly. It may be related to living conditions, absence of privacy or comfort, extreme temperatures, monotonous diet or repetitive or annoying tasks that have to be done. The inability to rest or relax during the rare moments of leisure is another factor to take into account. If chronic stress is not identified, it leads to professional exhaustion or burn-out.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: it is caused by a traumatic and unexpected event. The risk of psychological trauma is high in conflict zones.
The common effects of stressStress may damage your health
, even though you are not aware of it. It can affect your body, thoughts, emotions and behavior. Being able to recognize common symptoms can help you manage them. Its effect on your body is immediate. It is not necessarily a problem in the short term, but chronic stress puts your health at risk.
Consequences on your body
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Sleep disorders
Consequences on your mood
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Consequences on your behavior
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
- Exercising less often
Physical activity is key to relief your stress
Sport is one of the best ways to reduce stress: when you exercise, your heart beats faster and your body releases endorphins, natural opiates that make you relax and fight the stress with no side effects. Intense activities enable you to feel physically and mentally better. Just make sure to visit your doctor before starting intensity workouts.
Here are different types of activities that increase energy and reduce stress:
- Intense activities: running, dancing, spinning, roller-skating, etc.
- Team sports: football, basketball, volleyball, etc.
Recommendations for your mind
- Accept that there are things you cannot control;
- Be positive: instead of being negative, read positive thoughts and encouragement messages;
- Do not let the stress grow: in case of overwork, go out or close your eyes and take a deep breath to let go of stress;
- Manage your time: take the time to do things;
- Do things that you like, such as reading or gardening.
Recommendations for your body
- Take 15 to 20 minutes per day to think calmly. Learn and practice relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing;
- Exercise regularly by cycling, walking, hiking, jogging or working out at the gym;
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs for recreational use;
- Eat healthy and balanced meals.
Ask for professional help
- Look for support: talk to your family and friends;
- Visit a therapist or a psychiatrist if things get too difficult to handle.