identify and manage stress

How to Identify and Manage Stress in 2020

A study published by the American Psychological Association in June 2020, states that 72% of the population reported they believe this year to be the lowest point ever recorded in history.

We’re facing very challenging times; the stream of bad news on television and social media seems never-ending. The amount of uncertainty generated daily by the current global events is quickly taking a toll on the mental health of millions of people across the globe.

The inability to grasp all the possible outcomes of this unprecedented crisis has gradually degenerated into a worldwide collective stress wave. Life as we know it is rapidly changing, and it’s only natural if you can’t help but feel uneasy when thinking about the so-called “new normal.” Experiencing fear and doubt is a reasonable response in times like these.

However, it would be best to take control of these emotions before stress starts affecting your life on a much deeper level.

What Is Stress and How Can You Deal With It?

Stress is our body’s natural reaction to sudden changes and pressures from different situations and life events. It can happen to anyone, regardless of their demographics.

Our earliest ancestors developed stress as they were vulnerable to predators and other life-threatening situations. When experiencing any degree of emotional or physical tension, your body evokes this ancient response and kicks into gear to help you deal with the problem you’re facing. This natural reaction is known as acute stress.

Some consider that a “healthy” amount of stress can be highly motivating as it may give you the extra boost you need to complete a task, achieve a goal, or improve your performance. However, when endured over a prolonged period or with a certain regularity, this reaction can quickly become a more serious issue.

Bottling up stressful situations like unpaid bills, problems in the workplace, and other personal struggles, can develop into chronic stress and cause a myriad of unpredictable reactions in your body.

Chronic Stress Symptoms

The impact of stress can manifest in various ways, from one person to another. The most common tell-tale signs that someone is dealing with stress include:

  • Digestive problems like diarrhea and constipation
  • Forgetfulness and lack of focus
  • Frequent body aches and pains
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced interest in sex
  • Stiff muscles, especially around the jaw, neck, and shoulders
  • Sleep disorders and apnea
  • Skin problems such as acne
  • Hair loss
  • Sudden weight fluctuations
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Weak immune system
  • Inflammation
  • Hypertension and coronary problems

Best Coping Mechanisms

Reducing your stress levels can impact your life for the better and provide short and long term improvements to your health. There are several ways to look after your mental health, some of which we shall address below. These steps will come in handy to help you live a stress-free life.

1. Identify The Causes

Keep a personal record of the moments you feel stressed out. This simple action will help you better recognize and address the different stress responses in your body.

2. Focus on What You Can Fix

When you waste your energy on solving things that are out of your control, you will barely accomplish anything else. Setting straight priorities is a simple way of gaining control over your problems. Make a list and start with the most straightforward task. Before you know it, you’ll have a lot less to worry about.

3. Be Kind to Yourself and Others

Don’t take your stress out on others. Fomenting hostile exchanges between you and your loved ones will only deteriorate your state of mind further. Take a deep breath and ask for some space if you need to clear your head.

4. Stay Active

A short walk or a few minutes of physical activity can help you blow off steam. Exercise increases the production of endorphins (your body’s happy hormones), which can make a massive impact on your overall health and make you feel more energized and focused.

5. Take Some Rest

More than 40% of adults have insomnia as a consequence of stress. Lack of adequate sleep creates a vicious circle that is hard to escape once you start. To ensure that you get your much-needed rest, you will need to cut back on caffeine and eliminate distractions such as late-night movies.

If Everything Else Fails

Finding helpful methods to reduce your levels of stress will take skill, practice, and determination. If you continuously feel so overwhelmed that your interpersonal relationships and daily activities are grossly affected, you should consult a licensed mental health professional. To better understand the causes and effects of stress in your life, visit BetterHelp.

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