Understanding Stress

Understanding Stress
  • Dealing with stress is imperative as it is unavoidable in modern life.
  • Our work, family and our finances create daily stress and other external factors (like politics and terrorism) contribute to our stress levels.
  • A little bit of stress is good for you, and even make you stronger, as long as you don't let it rule your life.
  • The power of belief is actively at work with stress, which can harm you if you believe that it can.
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With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity.

Regular exposure to stress in small quantities can prepare us to handle a big stressful event in our lives. Prepare yourself for stress by self-education about the stressful event, by doing some physically stressful activities like completing a marathon, or something you dread, like giving a speech.

Repeated exposure to mildly stressful conditions can alter your body’s biological response to stress, making you manage stress in a better way.

Socially stressful programs and activities like:

  • Basic Military Training
  • Boot Camp
  • Wildlife Camping Trips

have skill-building, uncomfortable situations by design, that help kids and adults incorporate social and intellectual abilities.

Resilience is our ability to 'bounce back' from difficult experiences. There are several ways to practice it:

  • Reframe a seemingly negative condition.
  • Focus on core belief or faith.
  • Find a role model who has come through adversity.
  • Face your fears and confront them rather than avoiding.
  • Take the support of religion or spirituality.
  • Reach out to friends and family.
  • Exercise.
  • Challenge yourself regularly in physical, mental and moral domains.
  • Find meaning and purpose in your life.

Consistent exercise helps in handling stress by:

  • Providing our body with the physical conditioning it requires to recover from stress.
  • Producing mood-boosting endorphins in the brain (especially weight training).
  • Outdoor activities boost your mood further due to the natural surroundings and fresh air.

Our mind may be the key tool in handling stress. And it needs rest to recover and handle the stressful situation in a better way.

  • Meditation: Our mind is an emotional muscle, and meditation is the tool to make it rest and restore itself. Controlled breathing is one of the best ways one can improve concentration, vitality and boost one's immune system.
  • Journal writing: whether it is a daily journal, or a mission statement or even a priority list, it can help us reflect on our situation, change our perception, and identify obstacles that may be hindering our goal.

Sudden and acute stress can shutdown our appetite temporarily as a stress-response mechanism, but chronic stress (anxiety, worry) can increase our appetite.

Mindful eating, which involves eating slowly and relishing every bite, while being aware of the food that is going in us, is extremely important. Be present in the moment and savor the food you're eating.

The support of family and friends is a vital element in handling stressful situations. 
  • Seeking, and giving support is a powerful way to manage the stress in your life and boost your resilience. This includes listening to and emphasizing with a friend, mentoring, and volunteer work.
  • Acts of physical touch can ease your stress, like hugging or holding hands.
  • Spending time with animals is known to reduce stress, and there is ample evidence that pets are a source of comfort and stress relief.

While some stress is essential for human function, chronic stress creates a cascade of physical changes throughout your body: 

  • Heart problems: high risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. 
  • A weak immune system, leaving you vulnerable in the face of illnesses. 
  • Diabetes risk: Chronic stress can lead to extra blood sugar. 
  • Stress can cause stomach and digestion problems and increase the intake of unhealthy foods and alcohol. 
  • Sex and reproduction problems in both men and women.

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Wheter you're about to be interviewed for a job or you're feeling overwhelmed by your child's behaviour at the playground it's important to have some stress reduction tools that can lower your stress right now.

The best short-term strategies:

  • Can be performed anywhere
  • Take very little practice to master
  • Are free
  • Provide immediate relief
Resilience During A Global Crisis
  • Resilience is the ability to handle and recover from stressful situations and crises. It is not simply coping up with adversity, but to experience growth and flowering, finding meaning and purpose, experiencing self-awareness and tasting life in all its flavours.
  • The ongoing pandemic has now made the knowledge of ‘resilience’ required reading. Adversity can strike anytime to anyone, and most of us have experienced anxiety, worry, disappointment, shame, grief, frustration, or sadness.

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