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Stress is a physical, mental, and emotional response to life’s changes and demands. It is experienced in three levels; low, moderate, and high.
Low levels of stress may not be noticeable and are not harmful. It’s like a sudden thought you forgot something or misplaced the car keys and is quickly gotten over with.
Moderate stress can be positive and can challenge people to act in creative and resourceful ways.
Like when you need to meet a deadline, or when stuck in traffic trying to get to a surprise party before the guest of honor.
High levels of stress can be harmful, and can lead to chronic disease.
Constantly worrying over every aspect of your life, overly concerned with what others are or are not doing, fretting about the smallest of details, all things you most likely do not have control over can and will become a high stress level.
How To Deal With Stress
Signs You Are Stressed
The physical and emotional response to stress can be likened to the “fight or flight” response as experienced when a person is threatened.
While in this state the body releases chemicals that trigger:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Increased sweating
- A sudden rush of strength
- Slowed digestion
- Dilated pupils
How To Deal With Stress Negatively
Now knowing what stress is there are several negative ways we can deal with stress:
- Criticizing yourself (negative self-talk)
- Driving too fast in a vehicle
- Chewing your fingernails to the nub
- Becoming aggressive or violent (hitting someone, throwing or kicking something)
- Eating too much or too little or drinking a lot of coffee
- Smoking or chewing tobacco (the evil to everything)
- Drinking alcohol (in moderation most things are fine)
- Yelling at your spouse, children, or friends
- Taking a recreational drug to calm yourself (recreational?)
- Avoiding social contact
Deal With Stress Positively
We want to avoid as many negatives as possible when we deal with stress and focus more on these positive coping responses:
- Listening to soothing music (not so much heavy metal)
- Playing with a pet
- Laughing or crying (although if uncontrollable, could be a sign of a breakdown)
- Going out with a friend (shopping, movie, dining)
- Taking a bath or shower (you should be doing this anyway, but one with soft background music, soap bubbles, aromatic oils, candles, point is to be relaxing)
- Writing, painting, or other creative activity (a great outlet for pent up energy caused by stress. Try pottery and mash the stress away in clay)
- Praying or going to church (find a quiet place to pray or meditate)
- Exercising or getting outdoors to enjoy nature
- Discussing situations with a spouse or close friend (provided they aren’t the cause of your stress)
- Gardening or making home repairs
- Practicing deep breathing, meditation, or muscle relaxation
Not all positive coping responses will work 100% of the time and could in some cases actually add to your stress. (Such as participating in a highly competitive game/sport, a vacation gone awry, or simply worrying that you’re not worrying enough)
Stress is a way of life.
In some cases it can protect you and in others it can kill you.
It will never go away completely and so you will need to learn how to deal with stress.
Following the advice provided within reason can help, but if you are experiencing long term high level stress it is best you consult with your doctor or medical professional and seek their guidance.
Stress at a high level is not to be ignored.