Stress is your body’s way of responding to life’s difficult situations or when you are struggling to cope with tough demands. Though feeling stressed is not at all a good experience, it is not always bad for you. It is actually beneficial when properly managed. But of course, constant stress has been proven to be harmful to your long-term health, if not properly addressed.
So, when do you consider stress to be beneficial? As I mentioned earlier, you may feel stressed when you struggle to cope with difficult demands. This may happen when you are trying to meet expectations, deadlines or solve an urgent issue in your work or home life. In this situation, stress can be a motivator and it may help you work under pressure, ensuring you deliver what is expected of you.
Stress: A Natural Response
Another instance where stress may be beneficial is when you sense any kind of threat, whether it is real or imagined. Your body’s defenses will automatically kick into high-gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction, AKA the “stress response”.
Stress response is your body’s way of protecting you from impending danger giving you extra strength, energy and alertness to defend or protect yourself. In both of these cases, stress will then be essential for you to survive or surpass whatever that situation is. But after this certain instance, or once the danger passes, your mind and body should return to normal.
When is Stress Harmful?
Experiencing constant and long-term stress is a totally different case and may pose danger to your health. Often, constant stress is brought on by work or family situations that can get out of hand. Stress has also been proven to be linked to various health conditions like high-blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes, panic disorder or depression. So, stress management is a must for people who are frequently exposed to stressful environments in order to avoid any serious illnesses that might arise.
Stress Management Techniques
So how do you properly manage stress? Though it is impossible to get rid of stress totally, there are some things than you can do to better manage it and help lower your risk for stress-related diseases.
- Identify the things that cause you stress and try to avoid those that you can. Find ways to cope up with those negative stressors that you can’t avoid. It is important to note that we all react differently to stressful situations. Having said that, what causes stress to one person wouldn’t necessarily cause stress to another and vice versa. So you personally need to analyze your situation to be able to identify what causes you stress.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Get enough rest and sleep.
- Exercise regularly
- Minimize the intake of alcohol or caffeine
- Stay connected to friends and family for support during stress attacks
- Learn simple meditation techniques like deep breathing to help you relax
If you are struggling to manage your stress, or if it is accompanied by anxiety or depression and you find yourself unable to cope, visit your doctor right away. This condition can be managed with treatment, but you need to seek professional help if the stress gets out of control.