Select Page

The brain is the power house of the body, it controls all our body functions. It contains nerve cells that must work together for the body to function normally. We’ve all been stressed at one point in our lives. Some of us experience daily stress which could be a beneficial stress (positive stress) or non-beneficial stress (negative stress). For the purpose of this post. I’ll use stress to mean a negative stress. When stress becomes chronic, the brain causes our body to release the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. Raised levels of cortisol over time can affect our immune system and could lead to a decrease in the number of brain cells impairing our memory. It is very important for us to protect our brain and mental health so in this article, I’ll be covering stress and how to manage it.

 MY EXPERIENCE WITH STRESS
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

I once studied for an exam for almost 2 months. As the day to the exam drew closer, I got more stressed, I couldn’t eat nor sleep properly. I studied for about 8 hours a day and as time passed, I felt more anxious. Finally it was the night before the exam, I tried to revise all what I’ve studied but the pile of study material I had before me even caused me more stress. I tried to sleep but couldn’t.

It was the morning of my oral exam. My two lecturers were seated in front of me. You might have experienced the tension that comes with oral exams or interviews. They asked a very easy question but I couldn’t answer because I was not able to recall what the answer was. Guess what, I failed that exam. I’d like to think I failed not because I didn’t know the answer but because I had absolutely no idea on mindful ways to manage stress.

My experience is not unusual. Daily life stress cuts across all works of like. Some of us may admit that unmanageable stress has made us cry either in school or at work. As I mentioned in my health series post ‘improve your health with these helpful tips,’ stress contributes to many chronic deadly diseases. So it’s up to us to understand our stress triggers and how to deal with stress.

 PSYCHOLOGY OF STRESS

Like I mentioned earlier, stress itself is not very bad. It can prepare us to face the challenges of life. In life threatening situations, stress may have caused your body to generate an enormous surge of adrenaline{ adrenaline is a hormone released by the adrenal glands that help us to cope with emergencies} , which enabled you to complete a particular task or it may have pushed you to the limit where you achieved what you never thought was possible.

Stress activates the flight or fight response. When these happens, hormones are released to increase our breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. There is an influx of glucose to our bloodstream and into muscle tissue. These changes help us to deal with stress.

The problem results when stress becomes prolonged. Stress affects our health, mind, and brain. Prolonged stress affects several systems in our body. Your muscles remain tensed, your blood pressure and pulse rate remains high, there’s elevated levels of cholesterol, fats, glucose in the blood and all these in turn could damage our organs.

MEDICAL CONDITIONS ASSOCIATED WITH STRESS

Symptoms from prolonged stress begin to arise. These may include headaches, backaches, muscle tension. Like in my case, prolonged stress affects our creativity and productivity. It can lead to diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome etc. chronic stress is detrimental. Stroke, heart attacks, cardiovascular problems, diabetes are all caused by stress or stress aggravates these conditions.

As mentioned earlier, long term stress causes a cortisol surge which makes our immune system vulnerable to common cold, auto immune diseases etc. memory and concentration problems arises, depression may occur. Stress in life might even lead to interpersonal relationships problems.

interpersonal relationships problems

interpersonal relationships problems

Stress has a huge impact on our brain and mental health so managing stress is very important. Our aim is not to eliminate the body’s stress response completely because as discussed, a little bit of daily life stress is good for us. Stress management can make life more enjoyable, as it provides us with tools to be creative, productive and healthy. How can we deal with stress? This article discusses effective guide to reduce stress

 HOW STRESS AFFECTS YOU?

• Headache
• Neck pain
• Heart diseases
• Back pain
• Muscle spasm
• Loss of memory and concentration
• Inability to be creative and productive
• Health disorders
• Emotional exhaustion
• Sleep problems
• Depression
• Interpersonal relationship problems

Chronic stress affects our body negatively so learning how to deal with stress is important to both your physical and mental health.

STRESS IN LIFE MAY BE CAUSED BY:

The first strategy to stress management is to identify the main stressors in our lives.

1. INSTABILITY{ financial or otherwise}
2. A DEMANDING ROUTINE { school or work place}
3. INTERPERSONAL CONFLICTS
4. AN UNFORTUNATE EXPERIENCE
As humans, we all react differently to stressors, which means what stresses one person may not stress another. Don’t try to compare yourself to others rather you must learn to identify the major stressors in your life. You are likely over stressed if your daily routine causes so much tension that you cannot relax or deal with the situation.

When people are stressed, they may turn to alcohol or drugs. Others engage in harmful eating behaviors or just make irrational decisions which may hamper their health and the health of those around them. These newly formed habits which they think should help them with managing stress may even make worse their situation so below I’ll highlight five tips to managing stress.

MANAGING STRESS ARISING FROM INSTABILITY
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

We do not all have total security in life whether it be financial, professionally, family, interpersonal relationships, etc. So how can you deal with stress originating from these insecurities?

• Always have a close confidant. Confide in a trusted friend of family member whatever the issue may be. Studies have shown that those with good support system are less stressed and depressed.

• Do not be so hard on yourself. When we’re faced with stressed, we sometimes focus on worst case scenarios. Negative thinking is bad for the mind and drains our energy. It is often said that where your mind goes, your energy flows so why not redirect your mind to positive thinking so your energy can flow in that path.

• We cannot fix everything. Something all we just have to do is to watch and be hopeful that things will fall in place most especially after we’ve given our best to a particular task. There’s no point bothering our mind with things we cannot change because they’ll only make us more anxious and stressed.

DEALING WITH STRESS ARISING FROM A DEMANDING ROUTINE
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

I’m a fifth year medical student and my life comprises of working at the hospital and studying. I spend most of my time at the hospital and this sometimes causes a great amount of stress. Below are mindful way to manage stress arising from these demanding routines.

• Learn to take a break and get adequate rest. Take the time to exercise and most especially get good sleep. Sleeping and waking up fresh will guarantee a fresh and sound mind.

• All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Take the time no matter how busy your schedule might be to have fun. Spend quality time with friends and loved ones. Engage in helpful fun activities e.g. bowling, skiing, playing games, going hiking, visit the local museum, going to the cinema.

• Get your priorities right and make sure you practice a good lifestyle. Eat well, exercise at least 4 times a week. Consider making your life simpler by reducing time spent at things causing you stress.

 HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS ARISING FROM INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

Conflicts are bound to arise from time to time whether it be school stress, workplace, or in our daily lives with friends or colleagues and sometimes loved ones. If you are experiencing interpersonal relationship problems, below are a few tips for managing stress.Read about  school stress management – 5 keys to success at school

• When someone offends you, try to remain calm as much as you can. I often repeat this mantra to myself whenever I’m faced with situations where someone tries to offend me. ‘No one has the power to make me upset’ and this really helps. Anger doesn’t serve any purpose in our lives so instead whenever you’re faced with such conditions, just excuse yourself and go to a place where you can think things through instead of engaging in hurtful word battles

never loose hope

never lose hope

 

• Try to see things from other people’s point of view. When we do this, it slows down our anger because we place ourselves in their shoes. Read more on managing anger.

• Most importantly, try to forgive. Forgiveness takes away the burden of anger and hate from us which could cause more stress. Don’t let those unforgiving thoughts linger, instead show forgiving thoughts towards yourself and to others. Read more on hate.

 STRESS MANAGEMENT FROM AN UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

When I think of traumatic events, the story of the popular lawyer and hymnist who wrote the poem it is well with my soul comes to mind. Horatio Spafford endured a series of misfortunes in his life starting with the Great Chicago fire followed by the death of his four daughters who died at sea after a ship collision and finally the death of his son who was born three years after the tragedy. Some of us might have had traumatic events in our lives but we must never let it keep us down. Rather we should follow a proper guide to reduce stress arising from these situations.

• One of the most important things to do in these trying times is to have a good support system. Learn to open up and talk to close friends, family members or a therapist about how you feel. You do not have to go through the trial period alone so the help and support of a loved one might go a long way to help with the stress that might occur after a tragic event.

• Try to keep a positive mindset and always remind yourself that things will get better. Nothing lasts forever so the pain and anguish you may experience will not also last forever.

 THE ROLE OF GOOD COMMUNICATION IN DEALING WITH STRESS.
spend quality time with friends

spend quality time with friends

Good communication is very essential to manage stress effectively. Talking to a friend or family member can go a long way to deal with stress in life. Psychologists say that people with good support systems cope better with stress and have better mental health than those who are loners. Spend quality amount of time with friends, and relatives. Laughter they say is the best medicine so never forget to have a good sense of humor. Laughter is helpful to the mind because it tries to tell the brain to take our focus from stress to Joy. When we laugh, the brain produces endorphins which in turn suppresses adrenaline.

 QUALITIES TO DEAL WITH STRESS

We must adopt good qualities to help us reduce stress. Show kindness to a stranger, practice goodness, and love yourself and others. Avoid hateful comments and refrain from anger because when we get angry, it steals our Joy. Be respectful to people. We must learn when and how to say no to demands that no longer serve our purpose and those that exceed what we can realistically handle.

 PRACTICAL GUIDES TO REDUCE STRESS
stress relief never stop dreaming

never stop dreaming

• Don’t expect perfection from yourself and others.
• Get sufficient relaxation and sleep. Give your body sufficient rest each day.
• Get regular exercise e.g. walking, cycling.
• Always have some alone time to think and deliberate.
• If something bothers you, talk to a friend or family member or therapist.
• Spend more time laughing with friends and family members.
• Set realistic goals. Don’t try to be perfect.
• Know your physical and emotional limits.
• Be organized. Have a reasonable and balanced schedule.
• Talk to your therapist if you feel you cannot talk to your friend.
• Parents can try to communicate effectively with their children as these breeds joy and happiness in the home.
• If you’re a religious person, always pray to God. I’m a Christian and I’m taught to cast all my burdens and fears upon God and he will give me rest. So always find time to pray.

THE MENTAL HEALTH
stress and how to manage it

stress and how to manage it

 

Mentalhealth.gov says the mental health includes psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. It affect how we think feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is very important throughout life. If the mental health is impaired, it could affect our thinking, mood, and behavior. So it is up to us to protect our mental health by avoiding stressors. Chronic stress causes a deterioration in our health hence knowing about stress and how to manage it goes a long way to protect our brain function.

With all these being said, this is not to say that we will lead stress free lives but these tips for managing stress goes a great length to reduce our daily life stress, worries and anxieties. We must understand stress and how to manage it.

I can do this

I can do this

Making certain lifestyle modifications is the best start to understanding stress and how to manage it. Start with eating a balanced healthy diet as well as getting enough sleep and exercise. Read more on life style modification ‘improve your health with these helpful tips’. Limit caffeine intake and alcohol. Do not use nicotine and other drugs. WHO suggests taking breaks from work and spending time with family and friends can go a long way to help reduce stress.

Don’t forget to like the post and also subscribe.

Thanks for your time.
Until next time. Görüşürüz.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
%d bloggers like this: