Life, as we know it, has some ups and downs, and contrary to what many of us may think, challenges are not always a bad thing. Problems are an integral part of the things that help us grow and forge ahead in our lives.
Naturally, one of the many reasons we make everyday life decisions and perform various actions is primarily because we want to overcome some challenges. The issue is not having to face challenges but is encountering problems that severely overwhelm us. Unfortunately, when the challenges of life overwhelm you, this is no longer healthy, and it transforms into stress.
What Is Stress?
Stress can simply be defined as an involuntary response to a particular external stimulus. It is a distinct reaction to a given situation where an individual feels anxious or threatened. It represents a feeling of physical or emotional tension.
Anything that places very high demands on you can usually be stressful. The pressures and circumstances that result in stress are called stressors. More often than not, we consider stressors as entirely negative, like a problematic rocky relationship or an overwhelming work schedule.
In most cases, however, stress can usually be positive (like preparing for a graduation, wedding, or party) or negative (like trying to cope with a natural calamity). In this post, we will discuss the negative form of stress, which can have a severe impact on you.
What Causes Stress?
A wide array of factors can cause stress. The undeniable fact is, we are all prone to getting stressed so long as we are alive. Nonetheless, there are some particular experiences and circumstances that make you more prone to stress. Here are some of the most common causes of stress.
- Experiencing or being a victim of various unforeseen, traumatic events like theft, natural calamities, rape, robbery, among others.
- Being in a financial crisis like huge pending debts.
- The passing away of a loved one.
- Inability to successfully accomplish a given task within a given deadline.
- Failing in your tasks or endeavors.
- Being in the dilemma of having to make a difficult decision.
- An unexpected delay in endeavors you have worked hard to accomplish.
- Experiencing personal interpersonal or relationship problems such as separation.
- Struggling with various educational issues such as learning difficulty, poor grades, or finding it difficult to adjust to learning demands.
- Having impractical expectations on something or someone that ends up in disappointment.
- Transitioning into a new phase of your life like getting accepted into a college or getting married.
- Harboring twisted, unhealthy, and uninformed perceptions of circumstances and certain things, for instance, interpreting momentary disappointment as depression.
- Having an unhealthy perception of certain things, for example, interpreting a temporary failure as depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
Although stress cannot be entirely described as a sickness, it, however, similarly manifests itself like with an ailment. More often than not, when you are going through a stressful period, you will experience various symptoms just like you would when feeling sick.
The important thing to note, however, is that the symptoms you experience are not only associated with stress alone and can be signs of other issues. This, therefore, renders it crucial for you to consult with an expert before making any conclusions.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of stress you should look out for.
- Fatigue and Dizziness
- Difficulty or lack of concentration
- Sleeping disorders. You can be oversleeping or not getting enough sleep
- Sudden mood changes/mood swings
As we earlier outlined, the symptoms associated with stress are not unique to stress alone. As such, in case you observe a few of these mentioned symptoms, you must consult with your physician, particularly when they seem to hinder your ability to function correctly.
Stress Management: Healthy Ways of Dealing with Stress
Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can use to deal with stress. However, the primary concern is that not all stress management tactics are healthy. Learning healthy ways of coping with stress can help alleviate both stress symptoms and stressful emotions.
The most effective way of dealing with stress entails developing a habit (and a healthy one to emphasize). Certain habits like alcoholism, smoking, violence, drug abuse, and indulging in unhealthy sexual practices are some of the most popular ways we use to cope with stress, but which are not healthy.
To deal with stress appropriately, here are a few healthy and widely recommended approaches you can adopt to cope with stress.
- Seeing a professional therapist
- Adequately and regularly exercising
- Learning to relax
- Practicing appropriate breath control exercises
- Participating in various healthy recreational activities that you enjoy, like traveling, reading, etc.
- Taking some time off, if necessary
- Transforming your physical environment and eradicating things that trigger the stress
- Avoiding unrealistic expectations and not being too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned