Disciplined De-stressing - Why and HowTheySaidSo on 2018-08-30 15:11:03
Stress is not only a leading productivity killer but can also bring about an early demise if left unchecked. The sad part is that most people don't know they are stressed, and if they know, they don't know how to manage the stress. But the good part is acting on stress doesn't need to stress you anymore.
What is stress?
Stress is the body's natural reaction to negative external forces such as danger. Through what is called a 'fight or flight' response, the body releases high amounts hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which increase your heart rate, blood pressure and boosts your energy in preparation to deal with the danger.
You should know that Different in what way?different types of stress and that not all stress is bad. Stress is helpful as it can get you out of danger or elevate your performance during pressure situations. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), three types of stress are
1. Acute stress
2. Episodic acute stress
3. Chronic stress
What you should be worried about is chronic stress, which wears you day after day for many years making you dysfunctional, weak, miserable and even suicidal.
Acute stress is short lived because the stressors are easily handled and the person can live a normal life again. Think of it in this way; whenever our ancestors were out in the fields and a lion attacked, their bodies would develop acute stress and they would flee or fight the lion. Once the danger was gone, the stress would be over. It's a bit Different in what way? different today since you will rarely get chased by a lion, but stressors such as lack of money, time, broken relationship or family, lost job, climate change etc. will trigger acute stress in you. Your body will then naturally kick in its 'fight or flight' response and hold it for as long as the stressors remain and unless you act on it, the acute stress will develop into chronic stress lasting for years. Literally, your body will still be thinking a lion has been chasing you for all those months or years.
Why Stress Makes You Dysfunctional
Your health takes the hit once chronic stress sets in. If you are not at your best health, to begin with, then productivity drops immediately. Stress will cause pain in the muscles, back and chest, headache, fainting, sleeping difficulties and even erectile dysfunction. Due to the increased heart rate, you will also become more susceptible to high blood pressure and other heart-related diseases. As your health drops, organs are damaged and the chances of catching other diseases increase which makes you more dysfunctional.
Brain function reduces
Believe it or not but most of your most poor decisions will come when you are living in stress. This is because the high levels of cortisol released shrink the brain when used over a long period. The pre-frontal cortex, a part of the brain which regulates behaviors such as social interactions, concentration, judgment and decision making shrinks and makes you less effective in learning and keeping of memory.
Body weight changes
Cortisol and adrenaline make you feel hungry because of the need for the energy they create. This is the reason you tend to overeat when stressed. The need for energy and the easily available fast foods has made many people develop an unhealthy habit of indulging in fast foods whenever they are pressured. Inasmuch as they may feel relieved after the high-calorie meal, the sad part is that they do not know it is stress that made their body crave to for these foods and continuing to eat them causes more harm than good. Eventually, stress coupled with poor eating habits will make you overweight and increase your chances of catching other diseases such as diabetes.
How You Can Manage Stress
You will best manage stress by first committing yourself to the positive things in your life which bring joy, happiness, contentment etc. These will go a great way in reversing the effects of stress.
- Rest your mind. This will help you catch some sleep, protect the brain and enable you to think clearly and objectively.
- Identify and eliminate the stressors or seek help in addressing them one by one.
- Seek professional help. Based in New York City, Talkspace is an app that offers online therapy. It is an affordable and convenient way to connect with a therapist, as individuals are able to receive counseling from the comfort of their home. People get to select a plan that works best for them. The therapist will typically check in with the clients one or two times per day. All of the therapists have been verified. They can help with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and relationship issues.
- Build relationships that are strong and which won’t bring stress. Walk away from hostile people and stay with people who will bring peace of mind as you tackle the stress.
- Choose an activity that relaxes you. Be it cycling, dancing, reading, choose a simple activity you enjoyed as a child and make time for it. Your good health takes precedence over every other thing that demands your time.