I’m not a health specialist but I decided to do something on mental health.Well,I’ll be tackling stress management in this article. Sure bet we have all experienced stress or stress like signs and symptoms in our day to day life..whether at work(meeting deadlines),school,when ill,when in a new environment, the arrival of a new born,during a pandemic (Covid-19),disasters such as floods, famine,your own thoughts,your body.
Stress is most commonly refered to as the body’s reaction to any change that requires response/adjustment.There are several physiological and emotional signs associated with stress:anger and irritability, lack of concentration, sleeplessness (insomnia),depression and anxiety,making bad decisions,restlessness. According to the American Psychological Association there are three types of stress -acute stress, episodic acute stress,chronic stress.Each of this has it’s own characteristics, duration and treatment approach.Some instances in our lives such as divorce,loss of a job,chronic illness/injury,death of a loved one,moving to a new environment, emotional problems (anger,anxiety,depression, guilt,grief,low self esteem) lead to stress.
How we deal with these instances is more important since it has an effect on our physical, mental,social life and health.Most of us do not know how to effectively manage stress,worrying or crying does not get rid of stress it instead makes it worse.
When we experience stress or stress like symptoms,being resilient is key.Being resilient means having the ability to persevere and continue functioning effectively despite challenges,losses or setbacks.Psychologists refer to resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of trauma,tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress such as health problems, financial problems, work challenges,family and relationship problems.There are five major stress resilience skills
- Self awareness-it is important to be self aware of your emotions,know what you feel and why you feel it,and how you can control or deal with what you feel.
- Attaining and sustaining positive emotion/s
- Attention -stability and flexibility of focus
- Letting go-physically
- Letting go-mentally.
Here are some tips on how to deal with stress
Practise and learn relaxation techniques, try yoga, try meditation. Try the Progressive Muscle Relaxation technique.This is a technique that was developed by Dr Edmund Jacobson .It involves relaxation and tension of particular muscle groups to reduce stress and build awareness of sensations of tension and relaxation in the muscles.Intially PMR was used to treat symptoms of anxiety but has recently been found effective in treating tension headaches,migraines, insomnia,high blood pressure (which are some of the signs and symptoms of stress).
Avoid overthinking-accept that there are situations and events that you can’t control..this will help lower the stress levels.
Eat healthy.Eat well balanced meals and ensure a high intake of foods rich in Vitamin C such as oranges and other citrus fruits. High intake of Vitamin C helps lower the levels of Cortisol-a stress causing hormone.It also helps lower blood pressure during high anxiety situations and experiences.
Be positive.Try as much as possible to shift your mind from negative thoughts so as to avoid over thinking. Normalize evaluating all situations and happenings calmly and positively.
Learn to open up to others about what you’re going through. Opening up about your problems would help find solutions to them since others may also have experienced what you’re experiencing…and got through it successfully.
Exercise regularly. This helps relax your body,stay fit and healthy.
Learn and practise the art of letting go.The more you hold on to some things the more you get stressed. Learn to let go…even in tough situations.
Pray about it-especially what you can’t control.