Stress is an unavoidable fact of life, and everyone experiences it at some point. However, knowing how to handle it effectively is essential. Before tackling stress, you need to understand its intricacies.
Eustress is a good form of stress. You don’t need to avoid eustress because it is beneficial. It occurs when we begin a new job, prepare for a child’s birth, or move into a new apartment. Eustress can encourage us to complete a task and push forward. It can help us gain resilience, like when it motivates us to physically exert ourselves in ways that make us stronger, such as intense workouts and building endurance.
Acute stress is a one-time or short-term stress, as when our alarm fails to go off or before a big presentation. Stress can cause unpleasant feelings because stress hormones can affect systems such as the digestive, respiratory, and muscular systems. Anxiety, shortness of breath, headaches, and stomach aches can occur when we are stressed. Generally, the effects of acute stress are short-lived. As stressors pass, our system regains a healthy balance of hormones.
Stress that persists for an extended period, like when a situation has no resolution, can lead to chronic stress. Stress can negatively affect your health when it lasts for a prolonged period, as the body cannot signal to decrease the production of stress hormones. When elevated for a long time, stress hormone levels can result in physical complications, such as elevated blood pressure, increases risk of stroke, reproductive issues, weakened immune system, and chronic pain. Chronic stress may lead to mental health issues, including constant anxiety and panic attacks.
Distress results when the other stress types are more significant than your ability to cope. Distress occurs when you experience frequent episodes of acute stress, chronic stress from long-term situations that cannot be changed or repetitive behaviors that result in negative emotional stress. In addition to the external factors, internal factors can cause distress, such as stress that is a result of our patterns of thinking and is not generated by external factors. Internal stressors that lead to distress are fears, phobias, obsessive thinking patterns, and perfectionism.
Tips for Coping with Stress
Stress can lead to physical and mental illness if left unmanaged. Stress may also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance use. It can also negatively affect our relationships since our irritability and anger can affect other people. It is essential to learn to manage stress and recognize that no two people experience it the same way.
It can be helpful to recognize how your body responds to stress. Observing how an event triggers symptoms like an increased heart rate, excessive sweating, or nausea can help you become more aware of your body. To help keep you alert and prepared, you can become more aware of the kind of situations that are likely to trigger a stress response.
When we are stressed, grounding techniques help bring our minds and bodies to the present. Slowing your heart rate will signal to the brain that there is less stress. You can achieve this by practicing breathing exercises. Participating in activities that are enjoyable during stressful events can promote positivity and stimulate the production of serotonin.
Set Self-Care Goals
Setting goals can help manage or alleviate stress, enabling us to handle a stressful event and keep us away from habitual stressful behaviors. Goals can motivate a person to take him or her from acute stress to eustress. While in the middle of a stressful situation, self-care can help reduce our stress for a brief period.
Seek Professional Help
If you are experiencing unmanageable stress and are having panic attacks, depression, or physical problems, seek professional help. Therapy can be a useful and necessary tool for dealing with chronic stressors and avoiding a state of distress.
Origins Counseling is a new program in Dallas, Texas, made available by a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 561.841.1264.