Stress is undeniably a part our day to day life. It cuts across all activities, from the positive (like buying a new house) to the very negative (divorce); as well as all ages, from infants, teens to adults. The physiology of stress is seen as heightened nervous reaction and increased adrenaline rush in the body. This triggers the “fright and flight” response to whatever stimulus that may have caused it. This natural mechanism takes place in order for the body to perform optimally under pressure. However due to prolongation of this pressure, the body is exhausted both physically and psychologically to a point of general weakness.
However, in a positive sense, stress should be a motivator to achieve the seemingly unachievable. It should help to bring down barriers in one’s life by reinforcing the body with a “super” strength. But because it is not managed well, it ends up contributing to the crisis that aroused it in the first place.
“Stressor” is the term used for the cause of stress. Stressors vary from physical exhaustion to psychological ones; they can be somewhat dynamic and limitless. However there are some major ones which are common with quite a number of persons. They include: work overload, busy schedules, inadequate finance, poor business growth, marital issues and general family problems. Whereby there is lack of rest of the body and the mind.
Managing one’s stressors can aid to abate stress, or can conversely aid its development to an intolerable level. This largely depends on the person’s ability and strategy to cope with them. Peoples’ outlooks to life in general come into play here. Outlook such as perfectionism (where everything has to be in order), negative perception (I can never make it), poor resilience, poor assertiveness lead to overblown stress levels and great barrier to development and achievements, both physically and psychologically.
Symptoms of stress vary in all individuals. This is because people have different tolerant levels. Some are resilient and cope with it relatively, while others are just stress-intolerant. Its symptoms manifest gradually and unnoticed till it becomes unbearable and starts telling on the person. It can be physical such as headache, faintness, nausea, diarrhoea, stomach cramps, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), and insomnia (lack of sleep). Most times it is emotional: anger, depression, anxiety, sadness, and feeling of being overwhelmed. All these go a long way to further affect the body adversely. Stressed-out people have high risks of health problems. They are prone to diseases because the immune system is weak, hypertension, heart problems, poor sex drive, infertility, and they also age quickly.
At this juncture, the question you can ask is how will someone prevent this? Or rather how can it be managed, since stress is a part of everyday life? So the REAL question is: How can you stay healthy in the face of stress?
Finding a lasting solution is by first identifying the stressor(s). If it is physical exhaustion, work to develop your body to the required optimal level, and if it is psychological stress, work on your mind to overcome it. Hence, solutions to health problems while facing stress are given in subsequent paragraphs.
Good nutrition gives the body both physical and psychological strength. It also reinforces the body in times of depletion. So before commencing the day, make sure you eat what is right. That is, a diet that is balanced of all necessary components needed. For instance, a high-calorie diet will be good to start a busy day. Also, vitamins and minerals can never be over emphasized when it comes to supplement needed to beat stress. And this could be taken in the mornings after eating breakfast.
You should exercise often to ease out tension. Map out a timetable for this. Moderate exercises can be done in the morning, whereas complete exercises can be done at weekends. This will keep you in good physical form and give you mental alertness in other to face the rigors of day to day activities.
Lack of good sleep contributes largely to stress. So it is advisable to sleep well to refuel your physical and mental strength. It is also advisable to sleep at the normal time required to, that is at night. Do not stay up late for trivial things if you have something important to do the next day. This only wears you down. And if perpetrated constantly, it diminishes your state of health.
Reduce your workload if it is reducible. Cut out some of the things that is quite insignificant but requires so much of your strength. This will lend you strength in the important areas. It keeps you focus and increases your chance of overcoming a challenge, while you maintain a healthy self.
Work with ease by finding solutions to problems as they come up. Never let them accumulate to the point they become unfeasible to solve. Also, people make the mistake of trying to be Superman to achieve some things. However the body has its limit and can be used to achieve the seemingly unachievable, if it is understood and managed properly. So do not aim at doing unrealistic things with unreasonable vigor. But endeavor to have a go at it at the human but steady pace. And you will be surprised to achieve your aim within the required time frame while still maintaining a good state of health.
However, avoid the mentality of laziness. Strive to develop resilience to seemingly difficult situations. Learn to see difficult situations as a motivator to achieve great things. By doing this you will learn to adapt and develop your fighting-stress skills. This will develop you enough to face future difficulties, as well as make you a better human, strength and health wise.
Procrastination is said to be a thief of time. It is also a thief of your strength. It dictates to your psychology that there is time, while it steals it away and makes you languish in state of raw weakness. So, avoid procrastinating and get going on whatever you want to do. This ultimately alleviates stress. Another point here is to empower yourself psychologically by affirming authority over things. This ultimately gives you physical strength to face challenges.
Relax your mind and body in between work. This will replenish you of your drained strength. Music, movie, or plain humor in any form can be used to shift your attention of work for some time. You can also share some quality time with friends and loved ones. Also, you can do a major relaxation by taking a vacation. Relaxation is definitely a good way to keep healthy in the face of stress. Simply call for time-out.
People tend to cope with stress using bad methods such as smoking, drinking, substance abuse, and using sleeping pills to relax. This will only contribute adversely to stress by increasing its effects and introducing new symptoms. At first, it will seem all is right, but do not be fooled it is just bigger health problems incubating. In a case of emotional stress, do not keep problems within you and let them rot till they make you sick. Endeavor to discuss it with people so as to get it off your mind. This will ensure for good psychological and mental health.
If the stress problems persist see a professional to give you quality advice to beat it. It might require medical attention before you can overcome it.
Finally, there is a prominent factor you should consider when trying to beat stress. Happiness and peace of mind are important in maintaining a state of good health in the face of stress. Your perspective and outlook on life will help you to have a peace of mind even when you are facing crisis. Develop a philosophy for every difficult situation in life, and go at ease with it because not all can be perfect. And believe in God to do the rest while you do your best.
The author is an avid researcher in all fields and has attained mastery in most of them. He writes to educate others.