Every life includes some stress. It is important to learn how to manage stress in day-to-day life. A small amount of stress can be helpful, giving us energy and mental focus that we need to achieve our goals. However, large amounts of ongoing stress can be problematic and even lead to health problems. To manage stress, it’s important to understand where stress comes from and how to minimize it when it gets out of hand. Let’s explore some of the most important topics concerning stress.
What is the Cause of Stress?
There are two types of stress: Eustress and distress. Eustress is a positive part of life; it has a major role to play in mental discipline and physical performance. When we think of “stress,” we are usually thinking of distress. Distress arises when we feel discomfort arising from uncertainty. Stress signals us that our brain is interpreting an outside stimulus, or “stressor,” as a sign that we need to adapt or change. This creates a “stress response” with mental and physical components: To rise to whatever challenge stress indicates, the brain releases adrenaline and cortisol. These are stress hormones responsible for higher heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration. The stress response should end shortly after we “deal with” or get away from the stressor – however, chronic stress can turn into anxiety, a condition where stress persists after the stressor is gone.
- Causes of Stress from WebMD
- Understanding Good and Bad Stress from Kids Health
- Top Ten Causes of Stress from HCCUA
- What Causes Stress? ABC News Reports
- Stress and Anxiety Overview from The New York Times
- Stress and Anxiety Information from the Federal Medline Plus System
- Causes of Stress in Girls and Young Women
- Stress in the Workplace as a Key Cause of Stress
- Major Causes of Stress in College Students
- Understanding Stress Sources in Older Adults
What Are the Signs of Stress?
The mental and physical signs of stress often occur at the same time. Rest assured that stress is not “all in your head” – your body responds to stress by increasing the level of stress hormones intended to help you cope. The basic physical symptoms of stress include rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, sweaty palms, and physical tension. Cases of acute stress can also lead to temporary symptoms most people would consider positive, such as slightly clearer eyesight and faster reflexive responses. If a person experiences too much stress too frequently, a number of long-term negative symptoms can develop. These differ drastically from one person to another and can include stammering, tremors, neck and back pain, difficulty sleeping, and much more. Over time, chronic stress often develops into depression.
- Most Common Signs of Stress from the American Stress Institute
- Relationship Between Stress and Hair Loss from the Mayo Clinic
- Understanding the Impact of Stress on Cancer from UK Cancer Research Institute
- Psychological Stress and Cancer: National Cancer Institute
- Six Signs of Being “Stressed Out” from NBC News
- Stress and its Impact on Smoking Behaviors
- Stress Causes People to Overeat: Harvard Medical
- Impact of Stress on the Brain: The Franklin Institute
- Listening to the Warning Signs of Stress: American Psychological Association
- Ten Secret Signs of Stress from The Daily Mail
Practical Ways to Manage Stress
Managing stress is very important. There are many mental and physical ways to manage stress. Since the feeling that a situation is uncertain and beyond our control is the principal source of most stress, it is vital to adopt a positive attitude and take action to resolve stressful situations. However, there can be times when the wisest way to reduce stress is to get away from the stressor and re-evaluate the situation. Knowing how much stress we can handle and what to do when stress grows too vexing is part of developing mental resiliency. Likewise, there are some practices – such as deep breathing and meditation – that can reduce overall stress in a wide variety of situations. Most people benefit from using multiple stress-management techniques.
- Managing Stress from the University of Texas at Austin
- Four Ways to Manage Stress: American Heart Association
- Learn How to Manage Stress
- Stress Management Tips from the Centers for Disease Control
- 10 Ways to Manage Stress: Reader’s Digest
- Managing Stress for College Students
- Healthier Ways to Manage Stress (PDF)
- Top Ten Ways to Manage Your Stress (PDF)
- Wall Street Journal Guide to Stress Management
Tips for Reducing Stress
You can reduce stress in two major ways. The first is by changing aspects of your stressful environment. For example, if too much overtime is contributing to a great deal of stress for you, then you might look for ways to reduce the added hours and thus the stress. However, sometimes, changing the environment is difficult or ill-advised. “Escaping” from stress can deprive us of important opportunities or make challenging situations more difficult. The second major method of reducing stress is giving ourselves new tools for changing our reactions to stressors. Understanding that we have resources for positive thinking and effective decision-making often reduces the stress created by situations that once seemed overwhelming.
- Reducing On-the-Job Stress for Police and Law Enforcement Officers
- 12 Ways to Reduce Stress at Work: Forbes Magazine
- Tips on Stress Reduction from Dr. Oz
- Ten Stress-Busters from the National Health Service
- Stress Reduction Tips and Work-Life Balance
- Reducing Holiday Stress from the News Telegram
- Two-Minute Stress Reduction Tips from Harvard Business Review
- Stress Relief Tips for Teens
- Stress Reduction Tips for Members of the Military