Learn To Recognize Stress and Manage Stress
Stress is part of everyone’s life, but it is not easy to recognize it in the course of everyday life. The things in your life that trigger a stress response are called stressors. These are often beyond your control. These can be events (like losing a job) or everyday situations (like not getting along with a family member). Your responses to these stressors are stress reactions. These differ from person to person. For example, you might feel relieved if you don’t like your job and lose it. For someone else, losing their job can be terrible.
Although stress happens first in the head, it has far-reaching effects on the body. It can harm your heart health. For example, sudden and intense stress can increase the short-term risk of heart attack. Chronic stress, defined as exposure to stresses for a long period (months or even years), can also increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
Recognize Your Reactions to Stress
Each person has their own reactions to stress. Think for a moment about when you feel stressed or upset. How do you react?
Do you have difficulty concentrating?
Are your thoughts racing through your head, or are you having trouble thinking?
Are you starting to “think the worst”?
Do you tend to view everything negatively (for example, yourself, your future, or other people)?
Do you feel more angry, anxious, or sad when you are stressed?
How do you feel physically?
What’s going on with your breathing?
Are your muscles tighter?
Do you have pain anywhere, such as in your head, back, or jaw?
What’s going on with your sleep?
How is your digestion?
Do you have sweats, dry mouth, diarrhea or constipation?
What happens to your heart rate?
If you took your blood pressure, what would you find?
Behavior and actions:
How Are Your Habits And Behaviors Changing?
Are you eating more? Are you consuming more junk food and sugary drinks?
Do you stop exercising? Are you starting to smoke? Do you use more alcohol or prescription or over-the-counter drugs?
Do you get nervous or shut down?
Did you notice anything else?
All of these signs are reactions you may have to stress that show that your mind and body are intertwined. The impact of stress first manifests in the brain, but it later leads to effects throughout the body, including, of course, the heart and circulatory system.
How Do I Manage My Stress?
It is possible to change or eliminate stressors. You could, for example, decide to change jobs, modify your work schedule, or even avoid complicated people or unpleasant situations.
However, it is impossible to eliminate stressors in many situations. You must then modify your reaction to stress. Here are some strategies:
Mental reactions: You can’t control every facet of your life, but you can manage or control your reaction to stress and maintain a positive attitude. Find the “automatic thoughts” that can make your stress worse (most of us have at least one).
Here are some examples:
Viewing a situation negatively without even carefully examining the facts.
See only the negative side and disregard the positive.
Worrying about issues that aren’t yours.
Emotional reactions: Identify your emotional reactions to stress and talk about them.
Physical reactions: Try taking deep breaths and doing some relaxation exercises.
Behavioral responses: Find out what you can change about the stressor. Take action! Maintain your good lifestyle habits. Spend time with your friends and family.
What Measures Can You Take to Reduce Stress in Your Life?
Take care of your health matters and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Follow the advice of your healthcare team.
Adopt a healthy and balanced diet.
Limit your alcohol intake.
Reduce or discontinue your use of stimulants like tea, coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks.
Get enough sleep.
Exercise regularly and stay active.
Take time to relax and take a vacation.
Take deep breaths and do relaxation exercises, meditation or yoga.
Laugh and exercise your sense of humor.
Make sure you have time for fun activities that help you to enjoy with your family and friends.
Do try one thing at a time instead of many.
Set realistic goals to avoid feeling frustrated or failing.
Learn to refuse and say no and ask for help from others.
Talk about your needs and feelings. Allow yourself to cry.
Don’t get angry about things that are out of your control. Instead, learn to let them go.
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