- Mental Health»
- Stress Management
Stress Response and How to Cope
Why Do We Experience Stress?
Stress is a response produced from our nervous system because of a situation that is perceived to be dangerous or even uncomfortable. This response is called "Fight or Flight" because ever since humans have existed they either would fight back or run away from danger. As useful as it was in Prehistoric times, it is quite detrimental to us now because long term stress can cause damage to our physical and mental well being. There are studies upon studies showing numerous illnesses that manifest from prolonged stress. High blood pressure, chest pains, stomach upset, sleep disorders, among several ailments can be caused by stress.
Destructive Behavior Caused By Stress
Many people develop destructive habits because of stress and because of feeling that they can't change the situation. Habits such as having addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, tobacco, gambling, and sex. These things can be very harmful and very difficult to quit once started. This is why it is important to get to the root of the stress and understanding why the situation is making you feel out of control. This needs to be done so that you can try to find a solution to the problem rather than making things worse by taking part in self destructive behavior.
Many times when a person is in a stressful situation they don't perceive things accurately. This may be due to having anxiety which can cause endless worry and delusions. This then leads to depression and other illnesses both mental and physical. Many times this ends up in self medicating and addiction to drugs and alcohol. The stress feeds the addiction thus causing a vicious cycle. If someone is experiencing such behavior they should probably go through some counseling or therapy by a qualified professional.
Finding Activities That Relieve Stress
I have found many things that are beneficial to relieving stress for myself. What is important to keep in mind is to gravitate toward something you truly enjoy and where your abilities excel. For instance, running might be something you like to do if you are in good health and your body can handle it. Always listen to your body when doing something physical. A little stress is good, but if you feel sick or are in pain in anyway you should not participate and find something like Yoga instead. However, if physical activity of any kind is not possible, consider something like playing an instrument to help relax and stimulate the brain. Another is activity can be art, which can be used as an outlet for expression. For example, drawing or painting works in a similar way to playing an instrument or exercise because it aids in stress relief as well.
My Favorite Things To Do When Stressed
Weekdays can take a toll on me. I often try to put a little time aside for myself, even if it is 10 minutes. This can be a bubble bath, a cup of tea, or meditating. You may think that is not enough time to accomplish anything, but it will make a difference. Making a list of what needs to be done, in order of priority, help you save time. This always helps you get some time in for relaxing and you will be surprised at how you have at least 10 minutes in your day.
Another activity that is necessary for your well being is exercise. You must make time in your schedule to move your body on a daily basis for at least 30 minutes a day. If you can't do 30 minutes then do 10-20. Whether you join a gym, use the great outdoors as your gym, or choose to walk every where instead of driving, partake in some type of physical activity. It is scientifically proven that exercise releases endorphins which are feel good chemicals in your brain. Thus, you lower your stress levels and increase both mental and physical benefits such as lowering your blood pressure.
Writing about thoughts and about your day into a journal can be therapeutic. Many times you can clearly see certain situations or things said when you take time to think and write. Many people through-out history have kept journals because it gave them a sense of peace when they wrote about their experiences. It is sort of strange, but when you have a problem or something that is stressing you, writing about it can give you some answers. Sometimes you can analyze things to where you find a solution to the problem at hand. Therefore, relieving a great burden of stress and giving you a sense of peace.
In closing, the importance of realizing that stress is harmful in many ways is a step in the right direction toward a less stressful life. Trying to find way to relieve stress can help you achieve a healthier and happier life, of course, if stress relief and change of lifestyle become habitual. Just incorporate some of the methods I suggested and your journey will be easier and more enjoyable.
© 2014 Panorea White