Stress is any strain on the mind or body. It is the way in which we respond to the pressures that occur as we go through life, although It is important to note here that stress does not always spawn from negative events or changes. It can make itself present during happy times in our life as well, such as a marriage or the birth of a new baby. But what does stress mean to our health?
Everyone is different, so what stresses you out may not stress out someone else. For example, some people enjoy speaking in public, whereas others find it terrifying. Work is a common stressor for many people, and family matters such as the death of a loved one or divorce are too.
What Does Stress Mean To Our Health?
Typically, stress presents itself mentally, emotionally, and/or physically, and again, everyone is different, so some people may find that when they’re stressed, they have trouble sleeping and are consequently tired and irritable the next day, while others may go into a depression in which they stay home-bound for extended periods of time and shirk their responsibilities. Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven that stress that initially affects the mind can cause physical problems as well. Some people may notice that when they are undergoing a lot of stress, they are fatigued or get frequent headaches. Some might even become more susceptible to the cold and flu. And for more serious diseases like cancer, reducing stress has been known to have very positive, even life saving effects.
Stress is in an unavoidable part of life. If you lead a fulfilling and rewarding life, you are of course going to have to encounter change and different life events, therefore, a certain amount of stress–even if minimal–is inevitable. Consequently, the goal of stress reduction is not to avoid the causes altogether, but to stop it where it starts, or if you can’t do that, to manage it in the best ways possible.
It is a good idea to pinpoint what stresses you out. As stated, these things will be different for everyone. Make a list of the times in your life when you remember being the most stressed. Now, plan ahead for when you know you will be encountering these situations. If possible, avoid the ones that don’t really matter–for example, if you become stressed when you agree to too many responsibilities, consider saying “no” to some of the minor responsibilities.
If you decide to go through with events that still cause stress (such as changes like a marriage or new baby, that can be stressful but also joyous and beneficial), now is the time to look for the stress relievers that work for you. Some of the best forms of stress relief are: physical exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and self care. Physical exercise revs up your metabolism and recharges chemicals in your brain that promote happiness.
Meditation and deep breathing increase mindfulness and help promote a focus on peace in your life. And finally, different forms of self care such as getting a massage at a spa or taking a warm bubble bath when you’re stressed, can help alleviate some of the negativity.
It is important to remember that stress is a part of life, and it can indeed have negative effects on the health of your mind and body if not checked. The good news is, with effort, it can be managed. It is smart to find out what stressors are affecting you the most and then to look for ways to fix them that work best for you as an individual.