Every person experiences stress at some point in life, which influences or causes multiple health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses. Hence, it’s critical to understand how stress can affect your mind and body. Once you figure that out, you need to move forward to learn some effective stress management techniques to make sure stress works in your favour and not against it. Before we get into the causes, consequences and tips for stress management, we'd like you to know what stress really means.
What is Stress?
Stress is your body's response to a change in your life. Since your life constantly goes through a transition, avoiding stress is next to impossible. Stress is when you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with emotional or mental pressure. When you start feeling any kind of physical, emotional or psychological strain, it most definitely is due to stress.
Once you understand what is stress, it becomes easier to understand what is stress management. But first, you need to know about all the causes of stress.
Causes of Stress:
It should be your goal to eliminate the unnecessary stress and manage the rest. But for that, you need to first understand the common causes of stress. Stress can be caused by external and internal factors, when worry takes over excessively over things that may or may not happen.
Below are some common external causes of stress:- Work or school
- Major life changes like the death of a loved one, changing jobs, moving houses
- Financial issues
- Relationship difficulties
- Children and family
- Being too occupied
Below are the common internal causes of stress:- Negative self-talk
- Inability to accept uncertainty
- Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
- All-or-nothing attitude
- Unrealistic expectations/perfectionism
Consequences of Stress:
There are many physical and psychological consequences of stress that can take a toll on an individual. It's important to detect these consequences in order to learn stress management.
Here are some physical consequences of stress:- Heart palpitations, aching muscles, headaches
- Lack of sleep, focus
- Memory issues
- Dull mood
Role of Stress Management:
When you live with high levels of stress, you put your entire well-being at risk. Stress can wreak havoc on your emotional equilibrium along with your physical health. At some point, you might think there's nothing you can do about stress because you will always face some problems, and your life will always demand you to make decisions either in your favour or people's. However, you often fail to understand that you have a lot more control over yourself than you think. Successful stress management will help you break the tight grip that stress has over your life. It will allow you to be happier, healthier and productive at all times. Ultimately, your goal should be to have a balanced life where you have enough time to work, manage relationships, relax and have fun. While stress management strategies are important to learn, you must try to make peace with the fact that stress management is not ‘one-size-fits-all.’ Hence, it's crucial to always try and experiment to figure out what works best for you and what doesn't.
Now that we're clear on why stress management is so vital for you, let's look at some of the best stress management techniques that you can start practising to manage stress without it getting overpowering.
Stress Management Techniques:
Identify the Sources of Stress:The first and foremost thing to do while learning stress management is to identify the sources of stress in your life. In order to identify the true sources of stress, you need to look very closely at your daily habits, attitude towards situations and excuses. Think of the answers to these questions:
- Do you blame your stress on other people or events or view it as normal and unexceptional?
- Do you define stress as an important part of your home or work life or is it a part of your personality?
- Do you explain your stress as temporary even though you can't remember the last time you took some time to relax?
Until you accept the fact that you play a role in creating stress or maintaining it, the levels of stress will always remain out of your control.
Practice The Four A’s of Stress Management:Stress might be an automatic response from your nervous system during predictable situations like going to work, having a meeting with a senior, handling a complicated relationship, going to a family gathering, etc. When you handle one of these predictable stressors, you will either have to change the situation or change your reactions. This is when the four A's of stress management come into the picture.
The four A's are - Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept.
- Avoid: You can use avoidance as one of the stress management techniques by - learning to say 'no', knowing your limits and sticking to them, avoiding people who stress you out, taking control of your environment, jotting down a to-do list.
- Alter: When you use alteration to your rescue to deal with stress, you need to - change the way you communicate and operate, express your feelings instead of bottling up, be willing to compromise, create a balanced schedule to alter the situation.
- Adapt: If you can't change the stressor, you need to change yourself. This is where adapting to stressful situations will help you - reframe your problems, look at the bigger picture, adjust your standards and practise gratitude.
- Accept: There are certain sources of stress that are unavoidable. So, rather than letting stress take over your mind and body, you can - look for the upside of a situation, learn to forgive yourself or others, share your feelings, not try to control the uncontrollable.
Move Your Body:One of the simplest and most constructive stress management strategies include moving your body in whatever way you can and want. You can:
- Take a walk in the park
- Put on some music and dance
- Cycle to the grocery store
- Pair up with an exercise partner so that it keeps you motivated to work out
- Play a game with your friends or watch an activity-based video with your kids
Make Time for Relaxation and Fun:Stress management includes taking charge of a situation and having a positive attitude towards life. But you can also reduce stress by scheduling some 'me time' for yourself. When you regularly make time for relaxation and fun, you'll feel good and take better control of your life. You can simply do the below-mentioned things to relax and have fun:
- Do something that you enjoy: Make time for activities that bring you great joy. It could be sketching, dancing, playing a musical instrument, working on your bike, going for a run, etc.
- Set aside some leisure time: Schedule some time for yourself each day to just relax. Don't let others take this time away from you. This should be your time to take a break from your responsibilities to recharge your batteries.
- Take up a relaxation practise: Try yoga, meditation, deep breathing, etc., to activate your body's relaxation response and a state of restfulness.
Manage Your Time Better:Poor time management can also cause you a lot of stress. Hence, it's crucial to know how to manage your time better if you wish to take control of your stress. This is how you can do that:
- Prioritise your tasks: Make a list of all the things you have to do in a day and always start with what's most important and finish with the least important task.
- Break big projects into small steps: If you're assigned a large project, it can seem overwhelming. This is why you need to make a step-by-step plan. Take one small step at a time and you'll realize how effortlessly you finish the whole project without stressing over it.
- Don't over-commit yourself: Scheduling things back-to-back will only tire you down and stress you out. Don't underestimate how long things will take. Always give yourself reasonable time to finish things and tasks assigned to you.
The most important tip for stress management is to indulge in some sort of self-care. Like already mentioned, when you unwind, it relaxes your mind and body and gives you the time to come up with solutions to the problems that are stressing you out. One way to indulge in self-care is to set aside some time for skincare. Pure Sense is a brand that values the importance of self-care and brings you luxurious products that will give you the much-needed 'me time' and simultaneously benefit your skin and senses.
Stress can and will arise in your work life and personal life. But that's nothing to worry about as long as you know tips for stress management. Start with simple ways to reduce the pressure you feel due to stress and then move forward to actively practise all the above-mentioned techniques for stress management. Remember, you need a positive mindset and look at the bigger picture to take control of your stress. Sure, things don't feel all that great in the moments you feel extremely stressed. But it's all about how you deal with that negative situation to eventually turn it around into something positive.
Frequently Asked Questions On Stress Management:
What are the three main causes of stress?The three leading causes of stress in today's world are money, work and poor health. People constantly keep working beyond their limits to make money to afford a living in today's time when everything is extremely expensive. This takes a toll on their health and results in chronic and mental health problems.
What are five ways to reduce stress?Apart from all the above-mentioned stress management techniques that we mentioned, these are the five basic ways to reduce stress - Exercise, organise, breathe, take time out for yourself and meditate.
What can I drink to reduce stress?Some of the drinks that can help reduce stress include:
- Lemon balm tea
- Chamomile tea
- Warm milk
- Tart cherry juice
- Green tea
- Kava tea