Contextualizing Stress in the Modern Age
Stress is a normal part of life, and it is even essential in activating some body functions. However, the body is not designed to operate at high-stress levels for long periods, as this can be severely damaging to our overall health.
Human life has become so complex in this modern age that stress is no longer avoidable, and stress levels have steadily increased from year to year. More than ever, it has become critical to understand what stress is and the techniques to manage stress.1
What is Stress?Stress is defined as any change resulting in psychological, emotional, or physical anxiety. It is also described as a body’s reaction to an unhealthy situation. When you are faced with a threatening situation, the body starts undergoing a chemical reaction, making you act in a certain way to prevent the aftermath of that situation. This is known as a stress response. When this reaction happens, our heart rate increases, our blood pressure rises, muscles tighten, and our breathing quickens. This puts you in a state to act and protect yourself from such an unhealthy situation.2
What Can Prolonged Stress Lead To?
The cause of stress may vary between people, and what may be stressful to you might be of little or no concern to another. It’s no hidden fact that some people are better at coping with stress than others, and not all stressful crises are “bad.” As stated earlier, a little bit of stress is beneficial in that it can help you complete a task successfully or prevent you from getting hurt. An example of such healthy stress is the reaction of slamming the brakes to avoid hitting a vehicle in front of you.3
When stress is prolonged, which is called chronic stress, it may cause serious health problems such as sexual issues, mental illness, and menstrual cycle problems. Also, the human body is not designed to handle a significant degree over time, so it is essential to lower stress levels whenever they are elevated as soon as possible.
Signs and Causes of Stress
Signs of stress can be emotional, physical, or psychological. You may not be able to recognize that these symptoms are stress related, but these symptoms can weigh you down and cause a health effect that may be long-lasting.
Symptoms of Stress
Signs of stress include the following:
- Constant pains and aches
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Increased alcohol or drug intake to relieve tension
- Weight gain or loss
- Sexual problems
- Headaches or migraines
- Being forgetful
- Unfocused and lack of energy
- Too much or not enough sleep
- Frequent exhaustion
You may also experience other signs such as muscle tension, dizziness, anxiety, mood swings, and even a prolonged increase in heart rate, which can lead to other health complications.
What Causes Stress?
The causes of stress are different for each person. What is stressful to you may not be to another, and vice versa. There are, however, some common factors that can cause stress across the board. These include:
- Starting a new career or business
- Getting laid off
- Work problems
- Chronic illness
- Getting a divorce or married
- Building a family
- Death of a loved one
- Family or relationship problems4
Ways to Cope with Stress
Although stress is unavoidable, there are ways of dealing with it. Obstacles and challenges can throw you off balance, so knowing the healthy ways to manage stress is essential, especially when you understand its effect on your health. Some excellent ways to manage stress include the following:
- Trying to get better sleep
- Healthy eating
- Spending time with friends and family
- Reducing distractions
- Meditation and breathing activities
- Getting more exercise
- Taking good care of yourself
Methods For Managing Stress
There are various coping methods for dealing with stress, and their effectiveness depends on the individuals, the situation, and their capability to handle and deal with stress. Here are the three types of coping strategies for stress.
Emotion-focused coping skills are stress management techniques that help deal with stress by reducing the negative emotional response that follows. Emotion-focused coping skills help combat negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, fear, frustration, and embarrassment.
This technique is beneficial when you feel overcoming stress is beyond your control. Emotion-focused stress management strategies include:
- Disclosure of emotions: This technique involves either writing or talking about the negative situation that resulted in those emotions.
- Drug therapy: This helps relieve stress by focusing on the emotions caused by the stress and not the problem itself.
- Distraction: This technique attempts to keep your mind busy with other activities to not think of the stressful situation.
In the long-term, emotion-focused coping doesn’t offer outright solutions because it neglects the source of the stress itself.5
Problem-focused coping helps in overcoming stress by focusing on the problem and situation that are responsible for causing the stressful situation. Problem-focused coping is an excellent method for managing stress, and it is a perfect long-term solution to dealing with anxiety since it addresses stressful situations from their source. Problem-focused coping doesn’t deal with all kinds of stress – for example, it can’t effectively deal with the stress of losing a loved one. Only stress with removable sources can be solved with this stress coping exercise.6
Wellness-focused coping is a coping skill for stress that focuses on providing solutions for stress related to a person’s wellbeing, some of which are related to physical, intellectual, financial, environmental, spiritual, social, occupational, and emotional issues. It is perfect for people experiencing stress due to illness or emotional problems. 7
Steps to Take When Feeling Stressed
Coping with stress and anxiety can be challenging, and you may even begin to feel overwhelmed, especially if you don’t know what steps to take. Here are a couple of ways to help manage and mitigate stress:
- Recognize the signs of stress
- Identify the source of the stress
- Take time for yourself
- Stay connected to family and friends
- Seek help from a professional
- Try a new routine
What Are the Behavioral and Emotional Effects of Stress?
Stress has the potential to negatively affect and impact your behavior and emotions. These behavioral and emotional effects can become chronic if the source of stress is not quickly identified and dealt with.
The emotional effects of stress can include the inability to relax, feeling overwhelmed, being easily frustrated and moody, and avoiding other people.
On the other hand, behavioral effects can look like procrastination, developing an eating disorder, frequently using drugs or alcohol to mitigate the symptoms of stress, and consistent fidgeting, pacing, or other nervous behavior.
Why Is It Important to Learn to Cope with Stress?
Although everyone handles stress differently, nobody is invulnerable to it. There is also the fact that it is impossible to avoid stressful situations entirely, and there is no question that the effects of stress can be harmful to both you and your health. Learning how to cope with stress can help you and your loved ones live a longer and happier life.
Find More Help for Stress at AMFM Treatment
If you or your loved ones have been feeling overwhelmed or stressed and have not been able to get rid of these feelings, it might be time to seek medical attention and help. There are several methods people use to try and relieve stress, but you should know trying to alleviate stress in the wrong ways can be very harmful. This is why you should enroll in a treatment center that can provide you with the help you need.
If you’re looking for a treatment center that can guarantee safe and effective help with stress and anxiety, the AMFM treatment center is where you want to be. At AMFM, patients will have access to several teams of specialists that can help them treat, heal, and adequately manage any damaging behavioral issues resulting from stress and other mental illnesses through effective stress management techniques. You deserve to live a quality, full life, and AMFM Treatment is here to help you or your loved ones achieve just that.