“Stress does not happen only to the dead,” said the scientist, Nobel Prize winner Hans Selye. The modern world is filled with stress. Problems at work, the endless pursuit of earnings, quarrels in the family, disagreements with children, housing, and health issues have long become an integral part of our lives. Therefore, we continue to worry, get nervous, and worry, which cannot but affect our health.
The concept of stress and its main types
What is stress, and how does it affect us? What organs and systems suffer from it in the first place? Why can’t you leave it unattended? The concept of stress is translated as load, tension, pressure, or a state of increased tension, and this is so. But not every state of tension is stressful.
Hans Selye – endocrinologist and pathologist, founder of the theory of stress, and author of the book “Stress without Distress,” first began to use this concept as a nonspecific reaction of the body to a powerful physical or psychological impact. He argued that this reaction provokes the mobilization of all human resources and forces one to adapt to external stressors (factors that cause stress) from the position of a biological model that seeks to maintain internal balance.
Hans Selye divided stress into three stages:
- Anxiety reaction, in which, in response to a stressor, the body’s adaptive capabilities are turned on. In this stage, the distress signal is sent to the hypothalamus, which triggers the release of hormones called glucocorticoids. There is a release of adrenaline and cortisol, which increases the heart rate, increases blood pressure, and blood sugar. At the same time, the adrenal glands are in a state of hyperfunction and begin to produce cortisol actively. The anxiety stage progresses six hours after exposure to the stressor and lasts 24-48 hours. Moreover, depending on the strength of the stress factor, it can even end in the death of a person.
- Resistance. When we start to struggle with problems and cases that have suddenly fallen. It brings us into a state of anger and anxiety. The body tries to counteract the physiological changes that have taken place. At first, the body begins to adapt to the extraordinary factors. The intensity of hormonal shifts decreases, and the adrenal cortex hormones increase their action – they are responsible for adaptation. The adaptive reactions of the body gradually switch to a deep tissue level, and the nonspecific resistance of the body to harmful effects increases. The activity of the endocrine glands and the thymic-lymphatic system is normalized, and the body ceases to react actively to stressors.
- Exhaustion is the stage at which the body’s forces are depleted, and restoration is necessary. This is a stage to which it is impossible to bring under any circumstances. Here the reaction of all endocrine glands occurs; it is again close to the reactions of the first stage: glucocorticoids predominate over mineralocorticoids, the function of the thyroid gland, sex glands decreases, the thymic-lymphatic system, the connective tissue system, and immunity are inhibited. This leads to the destruction of the body.
Features of stress and its causes
How to understand that you are under stress and it is already having a detrimental effect? Symptoms such as focal abdominal pain, headaches, panic attacks, chronic fatigue and impotence, the appearance of apathy, weakness, depression, excessive emotionality, inability to calm down, and aggression are typical of stress. Under its influence, people begin to smoke more and try to relieve stress with alcohol. Memory deteriorates significantly, and reactions slow down. The need for frequent visits to the toilet should be a warning sign.
The starting point of stress can be any, even the most unexpected event. Regardless of gender and age, every person can become a hostage to their psychological problems. It is important to remember that the main task in a situation of constant emotional stress is to find out the cause of the uncomfortable state. A person can feel much better by eliminating this cause or looking at it from a different angle. Otherwise, his life may turn into a constant struggle with windmills.
The most popular causes of stress are usually:
- information loads at work, difficult clients, management pressure;
- personal and family troubles;
- health problems, fear of getting sick, feeling pain, fear of death;
- participation in competitions;
- inability to finish the work begun;
- threat to social status;
- inability to distract, relax;
- features of temperament and personality: anxiety, ambition, low or high self-esteem.
- pain sensations;
- physical exercise;
- unexpected loud noises;
- temperature effects;
- facial expressions of aggression and fear;
- frightening darkness;
- extreme conditions;
- Unpleasant odors.
- Coffee, alcohol, smoking, drug addiction;
- Heavy physical activity;
- heavy metal poisoning;
- Bad ecology.
The systematic action of some slow, latent inflammation in the body, whether it be the intestines or ENT organs – constant slow stressors that cause extreme damage to the body.
One of the most significant causes of stress for a person is dead. Especially the death of a loved one, after which it is difficult to continue living a normal life. This is the most powerful psychological factor. The expectation of the death of a loved one is also the cause of powerful emotional stress.
The impact of stress and nervous tension on the health and life of your family
Stress can seriously damage a person’s health. It is important not to miss the moment they begin to pose a real threat.
Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone.” Its main function is to regulate carbohydrate metabolism and shape the human response to dangerous situations. The longer elevated cortisol levels persist in stressful situations, such as anxiety, the more likely it is that stress will turn into chronic depression and depression into insomnia.
The effects of prolonged stress on the body can be too severe. These are weakened immunity, impaired memory, concentration, and problems with falling asleep. Stress is accompanied by headaches, increased pressure, and cholesterol levels. It hits the digestive system, stomach, skin, and hair condition.
Stress damages not only health but also affects the mental state and emotional background. A person is more often upset and nervous and offends loved ones. He loses the ability to think clearly and function effectively. As a result, relations with the family deteriorate, and troubles appear at work. Prolonged exposure to this state leads to depressive and anxiety disorders. A person tries to get away from stress by drinking alcohol, smoking, or overeating, which worsens the situation.
Stress Management Techniques
You can learn to manage stress if you understand how to respond to it. The main point should be the recognition of its existence. Particular harm is caused by stress hidden inside and covered by external well-being.
Stressors have such a variety that it is not immediately possible to understand how to respond to them. Don’t let stress “soak” into you, don’t immerse yourself in it, distract yourself from it. The sooner you learn this; the more productive your stress management will become. Otherwise, this funnel of breakdown, nervousness, and disgusting mood will mercilessly drag you into its depths.
- Look at the situation from a different angle, as if you weren’t stuck in a traffic jam for many hours; it wasn’t you who was scolded by the authorities. Let everything be as if you were watching a movie. You can add humor if the situation allows. Such saving phrases as “Today is not my day!”, “No luck, I have bad karma!”.
- Privacy. Isolate yourself from everyone for a while. You can just sit in the car for a while and calmly breathe.
- Look at the problem with different eyes, and try to adapt to it – this is a very important skill that does not allow stress to deepen.
- “Kill it!” Yes exactly! Don’t exaggerate the problem. Eliminate too violent a reaction to the usual vicissitudes of life, creating tension and negativity with your own hands. Yes, personnel changes, a car broke down, a child got into a fight at school… And it all fell apart at once! Are you a loser, and you can’t change that? Is life over? No. These are just real-life situations. At work, everything will fall into place, fix the car, and just talk to the child – he will understand everything. Events happen, and they don’t choose whether to attack you individually or all at once.
Stress Protection Methods
To protect yourself from stress, you need to change your habitual behavior pattern. You must understand that stress is not an assessment of your actions and certainly not your personality. This is just an episode in life that you must go through, wait out, and learn from.
You can distract yourself with your favorite thing and keep in touch with nice people and loved ones. Feelings turned into words help ease the experience and look at the problem in a new way.
You can not deprive yourself of activity, remaining alone. Go in for sports instead of letting negative emotions, resentment, and anger take over you.
However, you should remember that you need to express feelings without criticizing the person who caused your stress. You should talk about your own experience – “I’m upset and angry with you,” instead of the words “it’s your fault that the car broke down,” “I feel overwhelmed, I need a rest” instead of “you don’t help me at all, I have to do everything myself. “
In addition to helping negative thoughts and emotions come out with these words, it will also help other people understand you and try to help or correct you.
Learn to relax. You can even practice meditation. This is an effective way to relax and concentrate, which frees the mind from disturbing thoughts. You will see that the situation is, in principle, solvable. The body reacts to stress through muscle contraction, tension, and clamps. All this causes psychological imbalance and constant fatigue. Arriving home in the evening, sit in a comfortable chair or lie down, turn on light music, relax your body, and think about something pleasant. If you do this daily, you may soon find inner balance and peace.
Ways out of stressful conditions
The approach to this must be comprehensive. It is an integrated approach that will help relieve the accumulated stress and put the whole body in order.
Healthy, full sleep
Sleep needs special attention. During sleep, the body and mind rest and recover. For a full “reboot,” you need to fall at least 7-8 hours.
With inadequate and unbalanced nutrition, the body does not receive some important vitamins, for example, B vitamins, the lack of which can lead to malfunctions of the nervous system.
Walks in the open air
It should become a habit. It is very good to take a walk before bed, especially if there is a park near the house.
Regular exercise helps relieve stress and stabilize hormones. You can do yoga. It combines several soothing techniques and sufficient physical activity, ideal for relaxing and relieving fatigue. It takes 20 minutes to feel much calmer.
Avoiding coffee and sugar
Even though stimulants set you up for increased work, they disrupt the hormonal balance.
This is a unique opportunity to reveal the internal resources of the body. Choosing the right essential oil is important. So, to concentrate attention, it is better to use lemon, jasmine, or lavender. If you want to relax, juniper, ylang-ylang, and vanilla will help. Tea tree rose, and violet will drive away fears. Chamomile, sandalwood, bergamot, and lavender are suitable to lift the mood, while marjoram, mint, citrus, and rose relieve anxiety.
They relieve pain and muscle spasms and constrict blood vessels. You can take baths with sage, chamomile, and lavender, adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Water should be slightly above room temperature.
Suppose you understand that you cannot overcome stress alone, and depression, prolonged apathy, or unreasonable outbursts of aggression have become part of your life. In that case, this is an alarming signal that it is time to seek help from a professional.
Psychological advice on how to get rid of stress
There are universal tips from psychologists, thanks to which you can not only pull yourself out of stress but also prevent it from appearing:
- Take things easy, don’t exaggerate the scale of the problem;
- Switch in time, do not get hung up on the problem;
- Think positively, smile;
- Do not rush to perform tasks instantly if it is not required;
- Get rid of negativity (shout in the forest, beat the pillow);
- If you want to cry, cry;
- Listen to the music you like;
- Reincarnate if you want;
- Get yourself a pet. These are the best antidepressants;
- Give thanks for what you have. You have everything for happiness!
- Relax (meditation, auto-training, baths, contrast showers);
- Travel, change the environment around;
- Walk more in the fresh air;
- Find your favorite business or hobby;
- Do not lie! When you cheat, you already go in stressed out about possible exposure;
- Don’t play the role, don’t try to be better;
- Dream, communicate with positive people;
- Live according to the schedule, and plan your day. Sleep and eat on schedule. You will be doing a great service to your nervous system;
- Keep a diary. This will be your therapist with whom you will share your problems;
- Spend more time with your loved ones.
And remember, to eliminate stress from your life, take care of yourself! Control your response to stressful events. Try to get away from problems and avoid conflicts. Strive for balance and harmony. Don’t let stress rule your life.