‘Stress’ is a word so often used these days. People often tend to say they are ‘stressed’. It might be because of some work pressure or any personal issues. But do we really know what stress actually means?
Stress is the adaptive response of the body and mind against an external situation, when an individual is unable to meet the demands of the opportunity or the situation, and the outcome of it is crucial and uncertain at the same time.
Stress is evident when there is physical, psychological and/or behavioral change in an individual. However, stress is not always negative or adverse. Heart attacks are very common in people with high stress levels.
Stress is actually a neutral word. It can be either negative or positive. The stress becomes negative when it is developed because of an undesirable events or situations, known as ‘distress’. On the flip side, when stress is developed because of some desirable events or situations with successful effects, it is called as ‘eustress’.
Distress has a negative impact on the physical, psychological and/or behavioral aspects of an individual which results in degradation of performance and/or routine work that he/she might otherwise would have done efficiently. The decision-making ability becomes inefficient and ineffective, sleep cycle is hindered resulting in insomnia or oversleep, and health deteriorates.
Any sort of personal or organizational loss can result in distress. Death of a dear one, loss of job, divorce, all such events leave a negative impact and sense of grief and sadness in an individual. When this feeling of grief and sadness takes over an individual and gets out of his coping abilities, it contributes to distress.
Eustress on the other hand, positively impacts an individual. It is the healthy and developmental stress resulting in improved performance levels, when the level of stress is at optimum level. It ignites a feeling of excitement and keeps an individual motivated to perform his best. The stress for submitting your project within the given deadline or stress for performing your best at your job pushes you to perform the best you can. As there is a sense of competition and will to earn appreciation. You work hard and put all your efforts to achieve the desired result. This is how eustress works. However, this is only possible when the stress level is optimum and under control of the individual. Otherwise, if the stress level is high it might result in distress because of breakdown of the individual, hampering the performance negatively.
How Can You Deal with Stress?
Every individual is unique and has differing stress coping levels. An event that is making a person uncomfortable or anxious might be exciting for another person. A person may be hesitant to speak in public, but another person might love to speak in public. This is how diverse people are. When people are so diverse, how can there be a common solution for stress? There is no “one size fits all” concept in coping with stress.
Often people start to seclude themselves when stress levels are high, as they think no one would understand them. This might be an effect of their experiences where they might have talked about their feelings, but people would have mocked them for it or just ignored, not understanding the seriousness of the issue. But talking about your feelings with someone actually relieves and decreases the burden inside you. Bottling up your feelings actually acts as a ticking time bomb which would explode at some point. Talk to anyone you like to or is close to you.
Indulge yourself into activities you like. It might be listening to music, reading books, sketching, stitching or anything you like. It would help you keep your mind busy, not letting you think of any unnecessary or hyper thoughts. This would help your mind stay peaceful and gradually decrease the stress level.
Yoga and meditation are of immense benefit to heal yourself of stress. It helps you maintain a harmony between your mind and body, increasing your focus and concentration levels, and lowering your stress levels.
Use affirmations for yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself “I can do it”, “I have the power to overcome my fears”. This is important because people with stress often give up and think they can’t do anything in the situation prevailing or anything in general. Such affirmations provide a sense of positivity to deal with the stress.
Sometimes stress in not self-curable. It needs medical help at times. When nothing works for you seek foe medical help. Contact a certified psychiatrist or therapist.
However, it is crucial to have proper details about the psychiatrist or therapist so that any wrong treatment doesn’t contribute further scaring to their mental health.