Stress is seen as negative. If there was a button that claimed to destroy all stress, most of us would drop kick it. However, stress can be good as well. It’s a normal function of your brain and it’s how we respond to dangers. It can be good when used correctly.
Let us explain.
The Natural Part of Stress
Stress is something we experience at any age. Whether we’re young and have a developing brain, or we feel older, stress can be a challenge to get through. It’s designed to be a way to warn us of danger. Back in our tribal days, we would use stress to run away from danger, or to fight for survival.
It’s a good motivational energy, and it can help us finish our goals. Whenever we feel stressed at something, we want to finish it. It may help with our memory, as we always remember what we are stressed about.
It works by releasing chemicals in your body that are responsible for increasing your heart rate, making you focus, and allowing you to be physically more responsive. It can also benefit our health as well. Stress may help boost your immunity, and because it keeps the blood pumping, it may help your heart as well.
In moderation, stress is good for us, and there is no reason you should eliminate it entirely. The problem is that stress is often not designed for today’s modern world.
Too much stress is the problem. Our body doesn’t know how to tell the difference between stress that is literally dangerous, or the stress of studying for an exam last-minute. Because of that, all of the small problems in life can bottle up, and it can lead to some bad side effects.
Too much heart action can make you more susceptible to heart disease and increase your blood pressure. Too much energy can make you feel tired and it can be hard to get the sleep you need.
You may feel anxious all the time about all you need to do, or feel depressed as a result.
The point is that too much stress is a problem, and some people need to treat it by managing stress so you can reduce your levels to something much better.
How Do I Know I’m Overstressed?
Some people can deal with lots of stress and feel great, but others aren’t so lucky. If you’re unsure you have too much stress, know the signs. Here are a few of them.
- You feel irritable. It can be harder for you to bite your tongue when people are annoying you.
- You just can’t focus. You can feel more distracted, which makes you more stressed because you're taking longer to finish a task.
- You may feel aches and pains for seemingly no reason. You may have a headache, or feel some body pains. Don’t just take a pain pill; eliminate stress.
- You may have an appetite change. You may start to stress eat, or not eat at all, which can cause problems in of itself.
- You may get insomnia, as you’re up all night. The opposite is true too. You may oversleep.
- You may get sick easier. It’s harder to stay immune to colds and whatnot when you’re overstressed.
Tips to Manage Stress
- Here are some ways you can manage your stress if you're dealing with it.
- Don’t consume too much caffeine or nicotine. You may be tempted to have an extra cup of coffee or smoke an extra cigarette, but it can make the problem worse.
- Work out. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder or anything, but what you can do is take a walk, go on a jog, or lift a weight. Stress fills you with energy, and by lifting some weights, you can help lower that energy with ease.
- Get some sleep. Stress can make it harder to get sleep, so devote more time to winding down. Take a nice bath. Get off your phone. Read a relaxing book. This can help your stress levels decrease by quite a bit.
- Keep a diary of all your stresses. Write down how you're feeling and what you want to do about it. This can help you make a nice little plan to combat stress.
- Remember, there is no shame in talking to someone. A friend can help you. If you need to, a therapist or counselor may be able to help you manage stress as well.
- Take a look at your schedule. Chances are, there are ways for you to do more in your day without sacrificing sleep.
- As the saying goes, don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s okay to not take on so much work, especially if you’re dealing with stress or anxiety. Adding on more work is just going to hurt you in the end.
- Your health is more important. If you are sick, take care of your illness before you resume your work. If anyone protests, forget them.
We mentioned talking to a therapist earlier, but we can’t stress (no pun intended) the importance of it. A therapist can take a look at your life and figure out why you're dealing with so much stress. A lifestyle change may be in order, or learning cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s always a good thing to speak to one if you're serious about stress.
With that said, how do you manage stress? Everyone has their own way to manage stress, so we’d be interested in what you have to say.