What is Stress?
In general words, stress is the body's response to an external threat or unusual demand. It creates a sense of danger, be it a real situation or an imaginary one, and in the defense, the body gear up rapidly by automating the process known as 'fight or flight'.
Experiencing stress is normal in this hectic routine, but if it gets prolonged, then it can damage both physical and mental health. There are many causes behind stress like relationship issues, family issues, financial problems, or difficulties at the workplace. Some people rush into adopting unhealthy coping methods like drinking or smoking to cover the issue.
When a person deals with a threatening situation, the brain releases stress chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals affect the immune system and blood pressure causing several mental health problems. No specific situation can cause stress because it depends on individual lives. But most of the stressful situation happens because the person does not have much control over it.
Some common causes of stress are disabled family, relationship problems, and unemployment. Sometimes stress is related to past abuse as well, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder. Here are some common physical and emotional symptoms of stress seen in most cases:
- Constant pain and aches
- Frequent cold and flu
- Rapid heart rate
- Loss of sex drive
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Dizziness or feeling of restlessness throughout the day
- Avoiding people and social situations
Types of stress:
- Acute stress: It's a common situation and happens to everyone because of the daily demands and pressure. Acute stress is not just related to negative impressions, but also it shows excitement, thrill, and tension before going for an exam or interview.
- Chronic stress: Chronic stress is a severe form of stress, and it's life-threatening. It usually happens due to long term exposure to stressors. The person may feel that the situation is an ending, and they might resort to violence or suicide. Many serious psychological problems are associated with this case, like clinical depression or PTSD.
- Episodic stress: When specific acute stress is frequently faced, then it's termed as episodic stress. It usually happens when a person makes unreasonable or unrealistic demands. During episodic stress, a person may face long periods of intermittent anxiety or emotional distress. The physical symptoms include coronary heart disease and other related problems.
Treatment for Stress:
The doctor or the therapist looks after history before diagnosing stress. An interview is taken at the start to understand the core problems and the source of stress symptoms. There are no specific drugs available to treat stress.
Since trained professionals or therapists are more aware of the psychological causes of stress, they often use a combination of therapies to treat. Some common therapies for stress include Client-Centered Therapy, Art therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.
Sometimes if you start experiencing anxiety or depression, and the symptoms get challenging to handle, you will be asked to take antidepressants.
Counseling outcomes for stress:
- Express emotions through art: Stress can be treated effectively with art therapy to express their complicated feelings and emotions easily. A therapist will ask you to make an art journal, collage, or sketches according to your needs. You can try this even after completing the sessions for emotional release or self-discovery.
- Connect with others: When your stress gets relieved up to a certain extent, you can easily connect with others as your mind gets relaxed. This will help you improve your interpersonal relationships.
- Control on harming thoughts: During stress, many individuals don't have control over their thought processes. But through regular counseling sessions and therapies, you will learn to control the stress levels in the future by accepting the flaws.
- Relaxation techniques: Relaxation is an important concept covered in therapies and counseling for stress. You will learn different techniques to control your mind and body, and improve the overall focus.
Self-help tips to relieve stress:
- Exercise: Exercising relieves mental stress, as it lowers the body's stress hormones and releases endorphins to boost mood. It also improves sleep quality and promotes mental well-being.
- Reduce caffeine intake: From the beginning itself, an individual should avoid caffeine as it can make you more anxious, but it depends on people's sensitivity too.
- Write about your problems: Journaling is the best approach to deal with stress. You can write down your issues and things you feel grateful about. It will help you to relieve stress and anxiety, and it increases positivity incredibly.
- Spend time with family and friends: Spending quality time with a closed member is considered to be a quick stress reliever. It gives social support and a sense of belonging by releasing the oxytocin hormone.
- Join a laughter club: laughing is the best therapy for relieving stress and relaxes muscles. It distracts a person from staying stressed and improves the immune system.
- Avoid procrastination: Take control of your stress by knowing your priorities and giving realistic deadlines. Stop multitasking and then procrastinating about it, because it just increases pressure.