We know that you all like to aim high, and when there are lofty goals you are chasing after, things do not always go as smoothly as you would like. You never know when a crisis would strike, and stress hits hard which is why we have decided to put together what you need to know all about stress and a list of tips to help you deal with this kind of situation and not let yourself crumble under pressure.
When we talk about stress, it could be short-time stress, like when you have got a report and assignment or anything to hand in at 9 o’clock tomorrow, and you haven’t even started. Or it could be the kind of long-term stress that comes when you’ve taken on a tough project that keeps you awake at night for weeks, months or even longer. Whichever it is, we hope that you will be able to gather as much information needed for you to know your kind of stress and handle it better with the help of the tips discussed later in the article.
What are the signs of stress?
Changes in your appetite, making unhealthy eating choices: You may start eating irregularly whether that is overeating or under-eating. A study by Candia Lake Jones and Mayer on 272 female college students revealed that 81% had a change in appetite when stressed. While 80% of the students reported that they made healthy eating choices regularly. Only one-third of them ate healthy when stressed. People who ate more when stressed chose foods that were significantly sweeter or greasier than their usual choices.
Experience of digestive issues: Has there been a time you had digestion issues out of the blue? Your digestive system may also work against you, regardless of what you eat. Even if you eat healthily, stress can cause issues such as stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and more. Maybe it’s not your food’s fault that your tummy feels low, it could mean your stress that makes your tummy sick.
Negative feelings hover over the mind: You may feel all sorts of tension, restlessness, and even depression. Stress impacts muscle tension and mood. It can be why you feel anxious, irritable, overwhelmed, sad, or depressed. A study found significant associations of acute and chronic stress with depression. At the same time, stress does not necessarily cause depression. It can be a possible factor as stress dysregulates bodily functions and moods.
Sleep issues and low energy: Are you having a hard time with sleep lately? A study on 2,316 people showed that those people experiencing more stressful events had a higher risk of insomnia. Continuously having poor sleep may make you feel sluggish during the day, the change in eating habits mentioned before may also contribute to low blood sugar leading to low energy.
Stress VS Anxiety
Many of us have a misconception that anxiety and stress are similar. But the answer is a big NO! There is a huge difference between stress and anxiety. Let us know what the difference is.
What is stress?
Stress is a normal experience. Everyone feels stressed at different points in their lives. But do you know what causes stress? Well, there can be many reasons why you are stressed, one of the many reasons can be your work pressure which is a prevalent example. Other examples can be friends, family, and school. Any pressure in your life can cause stress.
Stress can have many different types of feelings depending on every individual like some might get depressed, some might get angry, some might get restless thoughts, and others might get butterflies in their stomach or overexcited. How we are affected by stress may be different than others.
So, what is anxiety, then?
Anxiety is the most common mental health issue experienced by young people. Anxiety can feel more like fear. It involves constant worrying about something. You can feel anxious and not exactly know why. Sometimes it is difficult to describe what is making someone feel anxious. Anxiety does not leave once the stress factor is gone. Someone can feel anxious about something else. If the anxiety you are experiencing is affecting the way you live your life, there are plenty of options to boost yourself. We will be talking about the options later in this article.
Effects of Stress on our body
Chronic stress can lead to health issues. Here’s how stress can affect you.
Muscle and bones: Chronic stress can lead to muscle tension. Not only that, but it can also lead to tension or migraine headaches. Well, tension does not only mean mental pressure, but chronic stress also causes tension in the shoulders, neck, and head.
Breathing: When you are stressed, the muscles that help you breathe tense up, which can leave you short of breath. Facing short breaths leads you to breathe faster to circulate oxygen-rich blood to your body quickly. This sometimes leads to breathing problems like asthma or emphysema.
Heart disorders: Chronic stress increases your heart rate. It causes a long-term problem for the heart and blood vessels. Over time, an increased heart rate and high blood pressure damage your arteries, which could lead to a heart attack, hypertension, or stroke. Stress hormones make your heart pump faster so that blood can quickly reach your vital organs and limbs.
Reproductive organs: For women, stress can cause irregular periods or painful periods, and reduced sexual desire. For men, stress can lead to low sperm production and reduced sexual desire.
Brain and nerves: Headaches, feelings of despair, lack of energy, nervousness, and irritability are some common effects that are caused by stress. Other than these, stress can also make trouble concentrating in your daily life, cause memory problems, difficulty sleeping, and mental disorders like panic attacks, and depression.
How to handle stress?
Take slow, deep breaths: When all hell breaks loose, and everybody’s losing their cool, there is one particular piece of advice that most people give, but it is almost certainly never helped anybody, saying “don’t panic”. So, what can we do instead? Actually, there is a fairly simple answer, replace it with another simple instruction to take slow, deep breaths. If you are the one panicking, remember to breathe slowly. It works because it allows oxygen to get to your brain. The oxygen that your brain needs to think more clearly. It also slows your thoughts down and increases your mental clarity which is precisely what you need when faced with a crisis. SO, do not forget to take deep breaths.
Break down your tasks into small steps: So, what if you are overwhelmed with an intimidating list of tasks, ones that you need to complete in a hectic few hours or over a daunting period of weeks or months. Well, what makes a huge task seem smaller? Breaking it down into small parts, each one of which seems more doable. Once you have got a plan and this puts you in a far better position and then maybe it won’t even seem like a crisis anymore.
Reach out to others: This is one of the first rules of dealing with pressure, stress or crisis of any kind. Reach out to people, if you have a manager or a team of people who rely on you, tell them you are stressed, and you are finding it difficult to cope. If you are off track with tasks, it is better for them to know sooner and not five minutes before the deadline. This way, they might be able to find you a solution.
We hope that with this information provided you will be able to deal with whatever stressful situations you are presently facing or you will face in the future.