Monday, 24 February 2014 22:34

Overcoming Stress Featured

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Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. Stress happens when we feel we can’t cope with pressure and this pressure comes in many shapes and forms, and triggers physiological responses. These changes are best

described as the fight or flight response, a hard-wired reaction to perceived threats to our survival. Note the main reason while we stressed. Stress occurs when you are unable to cope with pressure. The inability to cope with pressure is the result of stress in our life. This means you won’t be stressed if you can handle pressure.

Some common causes of stress include:

  1. Money Problems
  2. Job Worries
  3. Relationships issues
  4. Death of a loved one
  5. Family Problems
  6. Sitting and taking test and exams

Sometimes, there are no clear causes of stress. All sorts of situations can cause stress. Some people naturally feel more frustrated, anxious or depressed than others, which can cause them to feel stressed more often. Stress causes a surge of hormones in the body: mainly cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These stress hormones are released to boost the ability to deal with pressures or threats. Once that pressure or threat has passed your stress hormone levels usually return to normal. However, if you are under constant stress, these hormones remain in your body causing the symptoms of stress.

Symptoms of stress often build up gradually before you start noticing them. Stress can affect how you feel, how you think, how you behave and how your body works. It affects people in different ways. It is important to learn how stress affects you as this will help you figure out what coping techniques work best for you. It will also help you avoid resorting to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, comfort-eating and even egoistic shopping.

For many years, people have referred to the Flight or Fight response as the stress response but Flight/Fight is a one off reaction to a perceived challenge or pressure and as such, is a safety response, ensuring the individual is alerted to possible threats allowing them to take avoiding action. However, continually being in this state means that the body chemicals associated with Flight/Fight are constantly being stimulated and the result is imbalance, creating ill health of one type or another. This is stress.

Research has shown that around 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2011, down from 178 million days in 1993. In 2011, around 131 million days were lost through absences due to sickness or injury, a fall of around 26 per cent since 1993 where 178 million days were lost (these figures include employees and self-employed, aged 16+, across the whole of the UK. This report is from the Office of National Statistics 2012.

An important step in tackling stress is to realise that it is causing you a problem. You need to make the connection between feeling tired or ill with the pressures you are faced with. Do not ignore physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines.  
If you find yourself becoming angry or upset you may find it helpful to take time out, even if it’s only for five minutes. Take a walk around until you feel calmer.  You have a duty to identify the cause/causes of the stress in your life.

Stress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize and cope with stress. I am going to list some of the ways you can overcome and handle stress.


  1. Instead of feeling like you’re flailing day to day, identify what you’re actually stressed about. This will go a long way in helping you to deal with the stress.
  2. Focus as much as possible on doing one thing at a time. Clear your desk of distractions. Pick something to work on. Need to write a report? Do only that. Avoid multitasking.
  3. You need to get enough sleep. As you do you will feel much more alive, you will improve your concentration and you will be more effective at work.
  4. A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress. Simplify by reducing the number of commitments in your life to just the essential ones. Learn to say no to the rest — and slowly get out of commitments that aren’t beneficial to you.
  5. Learn how to relax in the midst of a catastrophe.  Don’t panic and start running around. Be in control by staying calm. This will enable you to analyse the situation critically.
  6. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a stressful situation, try taking a break and listening to relaxing classical music. Playing calm music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress.
  7. Talking calmly to you can be the next best thing. Don’t worry about seeming crazy—just tell yourself why you’re stressed out, what you have to do to complete the task at hand, and most importantly, that everything will be OK. Self-talk is a great mind medicine. It heals.
  8. Consider what you can control—and work on that. The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things.
  9. One of the biggest stressors for many people is lack of time. Their to-do list expands, while time flies. If you are determine to live above stress then you must learn how to manage your time.
  10. If you are not exercising regularly, then get a medical check-up and start. Join a gym, sports club or something similar. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean power lifting at the gym or training for a marathon. A short walk around the office or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.
  11. Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Laughing tricks your nervous system into making you happy. Next time you feel stressed look for something that will make you laugh and laugh out the stress from your system.
  12. A large dose of caffeine causes a short-term spike in blood pressure and may cause your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to go into overdrive.  Instead of coffee or energy drinks, try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine of coffee and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system.
  13. When you're feeling tense, there are many ways to manage and, in fact, reduce stress levels. Your diet and nutrition choices can make your stress levels go up or down. Certain foods provide comfort and actually increase levels of hormones in the body that naturally fight stress. Other types of foods and beverages can reduce stress by lowering the levels of hormones that trigger it. Make sure you chose the right choice of food.
  14. Make time in your schedule for things you enjoy - these should go some way to balancing the unpleasantness of any stress you are experiencing.

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Too much untreated stress can cause potentially serious physical and mental health problems. Now you have these tips, don’t just read and forget. Use them daily to beat stress.

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