Just to put it in plain English is that “our response to a painful or challenging situations”. The stress increases when we are faced with a challenges which are accidental and perhaps the situation which we had prayed or avoided to not to affect us. These situations may be day to day or some rare or worst situations. For example road traffic accidents, harassments at work places, worried about bad investments, demanding jobs, disturbed or challenging family situations etc..
We all face these challenges for some it may be less and others it may be worse. But we have to understand these challenges in life helps us in developing who we are or developing our personality and also the way we react to the future situations etc. So the stress is not always doom and gloom it has both positives and negatives. We will explore this as we go along
In positive way stress, helps us develop and take up challenges in future. Challenges and the positivity of accomplishing our goals will lead to satisfaction and maturity in our thinking. It helps to take up future challenges and helps to deal with similar situation in a more matured way. Sometimes you may call these as “EUSTRESS”.
However stress can affect us negatively and negative effect of it affects us primarily both in our body and mind and this can be devastating for some. These stress are called “ DISTRESS”.
Below are some of the symptoms of distress you may find when you are acutely affected by stress
• Difficulty sleeping
• Weight gain or weight loss
• Panic attacks
• Difficulty concentrating
• Sweaty hands or feet
• Heartburns, Stomach pain
• Social isolation
However most of us, slowly gets adopted to the prevailing situation and our stress reduces soon after the situation gets better.
Hans Seyle noted these changes and described it as General Adaption syndrome ( GAS).
GAS has 3 stages of adaption
1) Alarm Reaction Stage:
This is an initial reaction stage to a stress. When we are under stress we developed initial ‘fight or flight response’, this is in response to any situation and our brain hypothalami pituitary axis sends signal to Supra Renal gland to secrete Adrenaline and Nor-adrenaline in a burst. Due to this hormone we develop increased heart rate, increased breathing, fat breakdown to sugar and all this is to prepare our body to either “fight” for the situation or “Flight” i.e. to run away from the situation. If the situation disappear then the initial reaction wears off, but if it persists then we go to the second stage
2) Resistance Stage:
This is a stage when we slowly start adopting to the initial alarm phase. We try to resist change by adapting certain measures like denial and going overboard sometimes. If this doesn’t work then we slowly get used to stressor by changing our behavior or certain life style. We might sometimes live with high stress level due to our resistance to change to the stress and this can lead us to have increased irritability, anger, sleeplessness and frustration.
3) Stage of Exhaustion:
If the stress continues for long with no signs of abatement then we develop exhaustion state where we find weak to respond to the situation or fatigued and may lose our will to fight the stress. We may feel the situation may be never ending and develop depression and in job we develop burnout. For some they become extremely agitated, anxious and some develop paranoid thoughts. We can call this also as a Chronic stress state.
Chronic stress state have a deleterious effect on our psycho biological wellbeing. It affects our mind and body and these are some of the effect of chronic stress.
• Anxiety Disorder
• Heart Disease
• Increased risk of Stroke
• Increased risk of infection
For some, chronic stress at work may lead to a state of mind which we call them as Burn out. The individual suffering from this shows little or no enjoyment in their work. They feel they are doing for sake of family and other social responsibility. Given a chance they might take voluntary retirement to remain at home. They take no pleasure at work and they do their job for the sake of it. For this reason the Employer may see the employee losing productivity in job and with poor outcome. Some of the burn out may take pleasure in drinking and other activity which may prove counterproductive. These individual can come across as depressed at work but may not be so at home or In other situations.
There are number of ways to deal with your stressful state and here we are stressing 15 ways you can help yourselves to deal with the stress.
1) First it is important to understand that you are suffering from stress and how stress affects our body and mind
2) Find the root cause of your stress or in other words find what is the main reason for your current stress.
3) Monitor your stress and how it affects yourself and others surrounding you. This you can do by maintaining dairies and finding the triggers for your stress. Dairy helps us to chart our stress in real time and any consistency in your stress.
4) Once you find the cause of stress, then try to modify your behaviour or your response to the particular stress.
5) If you are in a situation that if you can avoid situation which triggers stress then avoid it as much as possible.
6) Be assertive, Sometimes being assertive helps to lessen the triggers as the other person may value your position on specific issues and may try not to bring up such issues in future conversations. It is been found one of the common things people get involved in stress is because they are not being assertive enough. So assertiveness needs to be learnt if you lack in these virtues. Assertiveness doesn’t mean you need to confront them but it is just nice way of saying that you may not like that.
7) Do not involve yourselves in any kind of pleasure like alcohol or drugs to lessen or to forget your stress. These substance can help you in short term or may help you in sleep or in relaxing you at that moment, but once the substance wares off you will usually be worse off than before. Some when you are in prolong stress, you may develop dependency to substance like alcohol which in turn worsens your stress.
8) Do not stop your day to day activity such as meeting friends, going to Gym or involving in religious festivity, hobbies etc. These activities in fact helps lessen your stress burden and perhaps helps you to deal in a better way.
What you should do to lessen your burden of stress?
There are number of strategies or proactive steps that you may use to lessen your burden of stress:
1) First Talk: No matter how stressed you may feel, it would be best if you talk about stress with your closed ones or friends. Just by talking some of stress you may feel some relief and even though you may not get any solutions but the fact you have expressed you problems will help you lessen your burden.
2) Prioritize your work
This you can do by just listing your work on a paper or dairy and putting time frame to finish those task. Always try to finish one task at a time do not try to do two or more task at once, as many a times you may find this solution productive but it delays the task of others and you may end taking more time then what you have expected.
Maintain a Dairy it helps to prioritize the job and lessen the burden of forgetting things and landing up in trouble when you forgot about the particular task.
3) Sleep well, if you sleep well you can do things better. See how much sleep you require and maintain that amount of sleep. Do not reduce your hours of sleep just to do more work, this in long term may lessen your productivity.
4) Regular Exercise is a must, this will keep you healthy and more alert. Regular exercise also boost your immunity and lessen your chances of infection. Exercise also helps in healing your brain by increasing the brain growth hormones called as BDNF/ NDF etc. which in turn increases the brain connections.
5) Do meditation or practise it for long periods. This can reduce you anxiety and increases your analytical thoughts. So this can help in problem solving skills.
6) Take Holidays or go out more often on holidays if you can. Life is not about only work but also to see people and understand life from different perspective.
7) Talk to your employer or talk to your Human Resource Manager if you can about your work-stress and sometimes they may come up with solutions. If not at least making your point across can help you unconsciously for making the point across and the employer to think before giving you additional payload or work.
Important Points to note
If the above points you have already adopted and still may find things stressful, then you may be suffering from severe stressful state to which you may require help from the Professionals.
Sometimes you may be suffering from depression or anxiety and this may be affecting your work and things may looks stressful when depressed which in the past wouldn’t have when you are fine, then you may require professional help and do not suffer in silence as the professionals may help in various ways to bring back you to normal self.
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