Today, April 16th, is a day to focus on relaxing, as it is National Stress Awareness Day. It is a day dedicated to bringing awareness of the prevalence and effect of stress. Everyone experiences stress in different ways. Though it is acknowledged as something that is seen as an overwhelming feeling and a negative view, it can also be helpful. Understanding what exactly stress is, what causes it, and hope to cope with stress is the best way to live a happy life.
What is stress?
Stress is a response that occurs when there is a perceived threat that our body detects. It is also referred to as the fight or flight response. When we feel threatened, we want to find a way to stay safe. The perceived threat can be anything from a big life change, such as a job change or move, to a small life event, such as a meeting. Stressors can also be positive or negative, such as a new baby or loss of employment. People experience stress in different ways. When people feel stress, the brain shuts down any functions that are deemed unnecessary. There is an increase in alertness and heart rate, blood pressure rises, breathing becomes more rapid and muscles tense.
How to cope with Stress
Stress is categorized by flexibility and change, which means that no single coping strategy is effective for all types of stress. Below are a few techniques that we suggest to cope with stress:
Keeping active gets endorphins going and causes people to feel happy. Endorphins are a chemical that are produced in the brain and act as a natural painkiller. You could either go for a walk outside or use an online workout plan to relieve stressful feelings.
Get some sleep
Whether you pulled an all nighter to finish a project, or a crying child woke you every time you closed your eyes, lack of sleep can be a significant cause of stress. Making sure your mind and body are relaxed before you go to bed can increase the likelihood for a good nights sleep.
Talk to someone
Talking to a close friend or family member is a great way to keep your mind off of what is causing you stress. When one is stressed, it can affect how you see things around you. Talking to others can help you see different perspectives and create a calmer mindset.
Keep a journal
Record in a journal every time that you are stressed and include the location, situation, who you are with, and how you feel physically and emotionally. This will help you become more aware of your stressors and can help you figure out what is triggering the stress and how you can avoid it.
Reduce the intake of caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which means that they will increase the level of stress and associated symptoms. Alcohol is a depressant when taken in large quantities but is the reverse when taken in small qualities. Try to drink beverages such as herbal teas, water, or fruit infused water.
You are not alone in dealing with stress. There are plenty of resources available if you are struggling with stress, but if it becomes too much, maybe it is time to contact Tabono. We are here to help you.
Compas, B. (1987). “Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence.” Psychological Bulletin, 101(3), 393-403.
Roberts, C., Troop, N., Connan, F., Treasure, J., & Campbell, I.C. (2007). “The effects of stress on body weight: Biological and psychological predictors of change in BMI.” Obesity, 15(12), 3045-3055.
Scheier, M.F., Weintraub, J.K., & Carver, C.S. (1986). “Coping with stress: Divergent strategies of optimists and pessimists.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6), 1257-1264.