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Stress Management | Sleep | Tips | What is

What is stress?

Stress is regarded as any kind of chemical, emotional, or physical feeling that occurs when you need to handle more than you are used to. In other words, stress is the condition or the way that your body responds to a particular kind of situation, which may occur due to good or bad experiences. It can affect anyone at any time irrespective of their age, sex, or race.

Usually, your body becomes stressed when it reacts by discharging chemicals into the blood. In some instances, these chemicals may prove helpful, as they may impart you with the necessary energy and strength in order to finish an important task or to survive a particular situation. Even though a mild degree of stress is beneficial to your body, stress overload or stressing out too much may Stress in the workplacesometimes prove dangerous to your body by weakening your immune system, upsetting your stomach, and disturbing your sleep.

Depending upon the causes of stress, different types of stress include survival stress, internal stress, environmental stress, and fatigue stress. Survival stress usually occurs when you are scared of something and want to survive a dangerous situation. On the other hand, internal stress happens when you get tensed about situations that are out of your control. When it comes to environmental stress, it is due to pressure or chaos from work as well as family. As the name suggests, fatigue stress is caused as a result of working for long hours.

What causes stress?

Symptoms of Stress

The symptoms of stress include emotional and physical symptoms, and may vary from person to person depending upon the nature of the stress. Mentioned below are some of the common emotional and physical symptoms of stress.

Included in the emotional symptoms are:

  • Overeating and obesity
  • Excessive intake of alcohol
  • Negative thoughts
  • Tendency to smoke
  • Increased intake of caffeine
  • Substance abuse
  • Loss of sense of humor
  • Inability to confront varying situations of life
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Lack of interest in work
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty to make decisions

The physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Palpitations
  • Tension headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Infertility
  • Increased sweating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Frequent asthma problems
  • Tremors
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle cramps
  • Neck pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Skin irritations

What are tips to reduce stress?

A variety of strategies can be adopted to reduce as well as prevent stress, the prominent being restorative strategies, breathing strategies, Yoga, and Pilates. Restorative strategies help to relieve your mind and body from the negative effects of stress, and are based on a number of techniques such as kinetic, haptic, and medications.  Originating in India, Yoga involves a set of postures and poses that help to relieve stress and enhance the flexibility and balance of your mind and body. As in the case of Yoga, Pilates also include a series of exercises that help to improve your health while minimizing stress levels. Apart from these, the following simple techniques help to avoid or reduce the intensity of stress:

  • Cut out sugar and caffiene
  • Cut out fast food completely
  • Avoid heavy traffic
  • Cut out as many chemicals you ingest
  • Do not ingest aspertame
  • You may need to stop multitasking
  • Write down things that should be done in an organized way rather than relying on your memory
  • Avoid people with negative attitudes
  • Devise and use time wisely
  • Face challenges with a smile
  • Schedule play time to refresh your mind
  • Develop your sense of humor
  • Develop an optimistic approach to your life
  • Don't drink coffee (it increases your cotisol levels)
  • Try to develop regular sleeping patterns
  • Get a great workout plan and 3 or more times per week
  • Eat simple but healthy meals
  • Get enough sleep (8 hours)
  • Try yoga or another meditation technique
  • Take a vitamin B complex (supports stress response by your central nervous system),
  • Take vitamin C (feeds the adrenals)
  • Essential fatty acids (help your body create the cholesterol that your body uses to control the stress response)

Benefits of a stress free life

Stress free living enables you to enjoy a continuum of benefits such as:

  • Improved self confidence
  • Healthy relationships
  • Increased happiness
  • Enhanced health as well as an increased life span
  • Lower levels of depression
  • Improved physical and psychological well-being
  • Reduced chances for developing cardiovascular diseases

Stress in the workplace

According to some studies, about 50% of people in the US are affected by stress in the work place. Lack of interpersonal communication between the employee and employer, poor interpersonal skills among the workers within the organization, fear of losing one’s job, pressure to meet deadlines, work overload, and jobs that are underpaid are some of the causes for work-related stress. However, one can reduce job stress through effective time and task management. As the first step, devise a balanced schedule and take short breaks during work to refresh your mind. Further, it would be helpful if you could prioritize your tasks and fragment them into small steps. This in turn will help to complete your tasks in an organized way. Likewise, if it is allowable, delegate your responsibilities, which could help to eliminate unnecessary stress in the work place. Above all, prepare yourself to control your emotions and adapt to dynamic situations.

Stress and your sleep

Getting enough sleep is key for a stress-free life, and mentioned below are some tips for a good night’s sleep:

  • Keep a consistent bed time
  • Develop a bedtime routine that is soothing
  • Design your bedroom in such a way that it is calm, dark, cool, and comfortable
  • Your bedroom should be exclusively designed for sex and sleep and hence avoid keeping your office related papers and laptops out of your room
  • Use a good mattress and pillow in order to make sure that you get a proper sleep
  • Avoid the usage of nicotine before bedtime
  • Take your meals at least three hours before bedtime

Effective stress management

Stress has been reported to be the root cause for the onset of many serious ailments like hypertension and insomnia. Hence, effective stress management is inevitable in order to stay healthy and to love life.
But to manage stress effectively, it is important to identify the source or cause of stress, which in turn can be due to major positive or negative life changes like marriage, planned pregnancy, death of dear ones, family related issues, and work related problems. Once the nature of the stress is recognized, you can adopt a range of proven skills and techniques to manage stress such as maintaining a stress diary, carrying out burnout self test, performance analysis, and rational positive thinking techniques.

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