Are you under too much stress? Do you feel like giving up? Are there so many things in your life to be worried about right now? Do you feel powerless? If you do, then you are obviously stressed out. Stress is not necessarily a bad thing if it can become your source of motivation to improve yourself and your life. However, too much stress can affect your health. That’s why it is important to learn how to manage stress.
What is Stress?
Everyone experience stress. It happens when you have too much pressure which is much more than you can handle. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines stress as “the reaction people may have when presented with demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope”.
Based on the WHO definition, stress has three components:
- Demands / Pressure – This means that there is an outside force that is compelling you or forcing you to do something.
- Knowledge and Skills – Knowledge pertains to your understanding about a specific subject or situation. Skills are learned ability or expertise on something.
- Ability to Cope – How you are able to deal with responsibilities, challenges and difficulties plays a big part on your stress level
In short, stress arises when the outside pressure is not at par with your knowledge and skills. You will be better equipped in handling the same situation if it arises again only if you have learned from that past experience and made conscious effort to improve yourself.
Take a look at the video by Ted-Ed to find out how stress affects our body.
Thus, it is important that people learn how to manage stress. Here are five techniques in managing stress.
1. Take a Break from the Stressor
A stressor is the one that causes the stress. A stressor can be a person like your boss, life changes like a death of a loved one, an everyday problem like money issues, an environmental problem like a calamity or a health crisis such as the pandemic. While it might be impossible to completely distance yourself from the stressor, you can take a break from it by doing something else that will keep your mind off things even for just 20 minutes.
When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, a hormone that acts as natural painkillers and mood elevators. It also improves your ability to sleep. Thus, exercise not only benefits the physical body but the mind as well. Thus, doing regular exercise will help lower your stress levels.
3. Smile and Laugh
When you smile and laugh, your body also releases endorphins. Endorphins lower your stress hormones cortisol. Too much cortisol produces negative feelings. A good hard belly laugh can reduce tension. Even a fake smile helps reduce stress and lowers heart rate. So, if you want a quick release of tension, forced yourself to smile.
4. Get support
A co-study done by Sarah Townsend of USC Marshall School of Business, Heeding Kim of UC Santa Barbara and Batja Mesquita of University of Leuven, Belgium that sharing your stress or worries with someone else, especially if that person is undergoing the same kind of stress, helps decrease the stress. It is important to talk to someone who understands you. A support group is necessary in life.
Meditation is deep state of relaxation and tranquility. Meditation controls our breathing, pulse rate and blood pressure. It is a simple technique, but if practice just for a few minutes, it will give you many benefits. It releases negative emotions and helps clear your mind of worries.
First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 01.06.2019
Feature Image by kalhh from Pixabay Images.