Wouldn't life be so much easier and uncomplicated without any stress or worries? The truth is that at some point in each persons life, they will encounter stress. What is stress? One quote which I find defines it well is:
"Stress resides neither in the situation nor in the person; it depends on a transaction between the two."
(Dr Richard Lazarus PhD)
Causes of stress
There are many situations in life that can cause a person to suffer from stress. It occurs when a person is mentally unable to cope with a situation. The most common factors of stress are:
- Debt and/or money problems
- Job pressure
- Problems within the family
- Worries over marriage/relationships
- Moving house
Recognising the signs of stress
Stress manifests itself differently in each person. Someone who is under persistent stress can become very depressed and often feel that there is no way out of a situation. Some of the symptoms of stress are:
- High Blood Pressure
- Panic attacks
- Anger or becoming short tempered
How stress is treated
Treatment for stress is very much dependent on the sufferer. Many people feel that they can cope and dismiss any offer of help from others. The truth is that stress can become more serious if it is constantly there and no help is sought.
In order to treat stress, the first thing to do is to recognise that there is a problem, and talk to someone - don't keep it to yourself. Try to work out the cause of the stress and the trigger. Visit your GP and talk over how you are feeling - keep a daily diary showing a record of how you feel each day, your mood, what the triggers were etc. A log of events will be particularly useful to your doctor in assessing any treatment that may be required. Some doctors will ask you to complete a questionnaire to help gauge how stressed you are and your current mood.
Help yourself to de-stress
There are many things that you can do to help yourself if you are suffering from stress.
- Learn to relax your mind - Try and remove yourself from the situation which is causing you stress if you can. Take time out, have long baths, listen to music, take deep breaths, catch up with some reading.
- Eat healthily - By eating healthy regular meals, you will fuel your body and give yourself essential energy to help you cope better with day to day situations. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water and fruit juice. Avoid tea, coffee and cola as they contain caffeine which is known to raise stress levels.
- Time management - Organize your day to ensure that you accomplish everything you need to do every day. Write out a "to do list" each morning if you feel that this will help. Use your time effectively and try to stay on track.
- Have a positive mental attitude - Your outlook on life is important to the way you feel. By adopting a positive way of thinking, you will be better equipped to deal with hassles and stresses.
- Medication - Sometimes medication may need to be prescribed to help you through a low period in your life. It is quite common, and you should never be embarrassed or ashamed in asking for help.
- Talking helps - The old saying that a "problem shared is a problem halved" really does work. Use friends and family as a prop and get it all off your chest. Talking through your problems with someone will ease the burden.
- Sleep - Try to get as much rest and sleep as you can. Write down all the problems that need "fixing" a few hours before you go to bed and how you will go about dealing with them. This should temporarily free your mind and allow you to relax. Sleep is crucial to help deal with stress mentally.
- Exercise - Walking or exercising gives you energy which is essential in dealing with stress. Some people find that yoga or meditating can help to relax both their mind and body.
Believe in yourself
There is no situation in life that doesn't have a solution. Stress affects around 4 out of every 10 people at some point in their lives. It is very common, especially now with the state of the economy and people worrying about money and jobs. Help is at hand, and if you feel at any time that you can't cope, speak to your doctor who will be able to offer help.