How to overcome stress naturally
Stress is usually associated with negative emotions and feelings. However, one fails to realize that at times, stress can be good and can have a positive impact on one’s life. But let’s first understand as to what exactly is stress and further we will focus on how to overcome stress naturally.
What is stress?
Stress can be defined as the body’s way of responding to a particular kind of threat or demand. In other words, it can be defined as a feeling that one experiences when he/she is overloaded with work and responsibilities and is finding it difficult to meet the set expectations in terms of financial responsibilities, personal or professional work.
According to a report released by the American Psychological Association (APA) in November 2017, approximately 75 percent of Americans had experienced at least one symptom of stress in the past month. In spite of all the negative aspects linked to stress, it is good to feel stressed a bit as it has the potential to keep one motivated to achieve the desired goals. However, one needs to be vigilant to understand the effects of the problem as it can lead to disastrous results and damage one’s health and relationships in the long run. Therefore, it is important for one to be aware of stress buster tips and know how to manage stress so that it gets easier to tread the path to happiness.
Common signs of stress
The worst thing about stress is that it can quietly seep into anyone’s life. It not only affects one’s mental health but also damages his/her relationships, behavior and thinking ability. Therefore, it is important to be conscious of the common symptoms that signify the presence of stress as well as of the tips on how to manage and cope with stress naturally. Some of the common symptoms of experiencing stress are:
Hidden signs of stress
Sometimes, stress can go unidentified due to certain subtle signs that are often unnoticed. Therefore, apart from being aware of the common signs of stress, one should also be informed about these uncommon signs as they too will help in coping with stress.
- Recurring weird dreams
- Aching teeth
- Itchy skin
- Weekend migraine
- Curled toes
- Rubbing forehead
- Neck strain
- Increased dandruff
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Ringing in the ear
- Stomach issues
- Irregular periods
- Continuous tapping of feet and hands
- Skin problems, such as acne, eczema, etc
- Weakened immunity
- Frequent illness
- Reduced fertility
- Panic attacks
What are the causes of stress
Every individual is different and so are the causes of stress. Being aware of the causes might help you in preventing and managing stress and in making use of the available tips on how to manage stress in life, if need arises. Some of the causes of stress are:
- Health worries, such as diabetes and blood pressure
- Emotional issues like depression and poor self-esteem
- Troubled relationships
- Major changes in life like death of a loved one
- Too demanding job
- Increased financial obligations
- Traumatic events like natural disaster or theft
- Unrealistic expectations
- Attitudes and perceptions
- Past events
- Being too busy
- Inability to accept uncertainty
- Negative thoughts
- Rigid thinking
What are the effects of stress
Stress can change the body’s normal functioning. It not only leads to fast breathing and upset stomach but also impacts one’s health in a number of other ways. Some of them are:
- Poor immune system
Constant stress and worry cannot offer a solution to any problem but can definitely ruin one’s health by harming his/her immune system to such an extent that it will make him/her fall sick again and again. The situation can worsen, in case the person is dealing with some or the other form of chronic illness like AIDS.
- Heart problems
A person dealing with high level of stress can develop a number of cardiovascular diseases, such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), clotting of blood and hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis). Sometimes, the situation can get grave and can lead to heart attack and heart failure as well.
- Muscle pain
Taking too much stress can actually harm muscles of the neck, shoulders and lower back. Stress can even worsen rheumatoid arthritis, leading to other complications.
- Stomach problems
Stomach problems like upset stomach, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may worsen due to excessive stress and worry.
- Problems with reproductive organs
Persistent stress may severely damage one’s reproductive organs that can lead to other problems like low fertility, erectile dysfunction, pregnancy-related issues and painful menstruation.
- Problems related to lungs
Thinking a lot or taking a lot of stress may damage the health of the lungs and even lead to the development of conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Skin problems
Skin-related issues like acne and psoriasis may worsen due to excessive stress that can further add to the woes and this might aggravate the entire problem.
- Headache and fatigue
Thinking too much about an issue or problem may lead to headache and can even make one feel tired.
- Sleep issues
Excessive stress can disrupt one’s sleep cycle and can trigger conditions like insomnia, excessive sleep, etc.
- Mood changes
Mood swings are common due to excessive stress. This can lead to other problems like anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, lack of focus, feeling overwhelmed, increased anger, irritability and sadness.
- Drug/alcohol abuse
Stress can push one toward misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illicit substances like drugs. This can lead to other mental health complications, which in turn can increase the existing stress level.
- Withdrawal from social circles
The person begins to withdraw from social circles and prefers to stay alone. He/she is mostly engaged in thinking about stressful events and circumstances and does not enjoy the company of others.
Distinguishing stressed from depressed
It is true that both stress and depression are related to an individual’s mental health. But considering the two as one is certainly not right as both of these are different health problems. However, it is true that there are certain symptoms that overlap in both the conditions which might lead to confusion. Thus, it is important to have a clear understanding of these conditions for an easy and early diagnosis.
Stress is a condition in which a person is under too much mental or emotional pressure. This can be due to work-related issues, personal conflicts, relationships and financial troubles, among others. Depression, on the other hand, is a mental illness that makes one feel sad, stressed and low on energy. The condition can be caused by a number of factors, such as genetics, drug abuse, family issues or any other illness.
Some common signs of stress include trouble sleeping, feeling overwhelmed, feeling angry, irritated or easily frustrated. On the other hand, depression can be identified if one signifies the presence of symptoms like trouble in making decisions, being restless, agitated and irritable, memory issues and increased anger.
There are a number of parameters based on which one can easily differentiate between stress and depression:
- Stress can improve if the situations or circumstances triggering it change. Depression may last a lifetime and may not improve too quickly
- Stress, normally, has an identifiable trigger. A person can get affected by depression due to a reason that might go unidentified
- Stress is commonly triggered due to current life events. Depression can develop due to unresolved past issues
- Stress can also trigger depression
- Stress elevates one’s mood and then, causes a sudden low. Whereas, depression snatches one of his/her energy
- Stress can be both good and bad. Depression can actually worsen one’s health
- Stress is socially accepted, whereas depression has a social stigma associated with it
- High level of stress can lead to heart failure, whereas, severe depression holds the risk of suicide.
Dos and don’ts when suffering from stress
It is certainly important to set certain goals in life and then strive hard to attain them. However, it is equally important to ensure that while working toward realizing the dreams, one does not go to such an extent that one gets trapped in the grip of stress or excessive worry. Stress is dangerous as it not only ruins one’s health but can also act as a hurdle in the path to success and happiness. Therefore, it is essential for an individual to be aware of certain stress management tips so that it gets easier for him/her to decide how to manage stress.
Importance of managing stress
Stress can be debilitating. A person bogged down by stress runs the risk of not only suffering from other health problems, but also of being unable to think clearly and function effectively. Therefore, in order to stay healthy, it is important for one to stay aware of some simple and healthy ways to manage stress.
Managing stress can benefit in a number of ways that can eventually help in leading a productive life. Some of the advantages are:
- Breaks the hold of stress in life
- Helps you stay happier, healthier and productive
- Brings back lost balance in life.
- Helps eliminate unnecessary drain of energy
- Helps maintain one’s ability to recover quickly from tough situations
- Reduces impatience, irritability and level of anger
- Improves physical and mental health
- Improvement in memory and other brain functions
- More daytime energy
- Allows to relax at night
It is undeniably true that stress affects every individual. Therefore, believing that you are the only one facing the trouble is not right. Taking preventive measures and being aware of the effective coping strategies for stress is important as this can help in better stress management.
To know more about how to deal with stress and anxiety and how to manage workplace stress, read our next post 35 natural ways to overcome stress. Read More