What is Stress?

Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in causing disease.  Physical and chemical factors that can cause stress include trauma, infections, toxins, illnesses, and injuries of any sort.  Emotional causes of stress and tension are numerous and varied. While many people associate the term STRESS with psychological stress, scientist and physicians use this term to denote any force that impairs the stability and balance of bodily functions.

If stress disrupts body balance and function, then is all stress bad?? Not necessarily. A mild degree of stress and tension can sometimes be beneficial. For example, feeling mildly stressed when carrying out a project or assignment often compels us to do a good job, focus better and work energetically.

Likewise, exercising can produce a temporary stress on some body functions, but its health benefits are indisputable. It is only when stress is overwhelming or poorly manged, that its negative effects appear. If you have too much stress in your life, your body will let you know. Stress may be experienced in different ways. Some things you may notice include:

  • difficulty concentrating
  • feelings of worry and fear
  • muscle tensions
  • sweaty palms
  • heart pounding
  • irritability towards others
  • exhaustion

An important goal for those under stress is the management of life stresses. Elimination of stress is unrealistic, since stress is a part of normal life. It’s impossible to completely eliminate stress, and it would be advisable to do so. Instead, we can learn relaxation techniques and other methods to manage stress so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.

Below are some tips to manage stress when stress has become overwhelming to you in your daily lifestyle.

  • Take a time-out
    Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem can help clear your head.
  • Take deep breaths
    Inhale and exhale slowly
  • Count to 10 slowly
    Repeat and count to 20 if necessary
  • Talk to someone
    Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
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