It seems odd to say, but stress really is a normal part of life. Whether it is to get you out of bed in the morning, push you for that promotion at work, or run that last mile of a marathon. Stress becomes something we fear when we let it get out of control and it seeps into your everyday life by fracturing relationships, affecting your self esteem and making day-to-day activities difficult. It can manifest itself in not only physical but emotional symptoms too.
Causes of Stress.
No two people are the same when it comes to their stress triggers.
"It's overwhelming. Sometimes you can't see beyond the thick fog of stress."
Stress at work appears at the top of the list of life stresses and this can be a range of things including: being unhappy in your job, workload, long hours, unclear expectations at work, dangerous conditions, job insecurity, giving or facing discrimination or harassment at work. Understandably, all of this can cause you unlimited amount of anxiety and take its toll on your wellbeing. Other stresses in life can include loss of a loved one, divorce, financial obligations, getting married, moving home, family and traumatic events.
There are times when stress can be caused from within yourself as opposed to a circumstance in your life such as simply worrying about things. Below are some examples that can lead to stress:
Fear & Uncertainty
The news can cause you to feel stressed, especially if there is a threat of a terrorist attack, global warming, or a virus that’s prohibiting us from leaving our homes. These may be things you feel are out of your control. Or it can be as simple as being uncertain as to whether you can finish a project in time for work or enough money to pay the bills.
Attitudes & Perceptions
If someone breaks into your car and steals your bag, you could take the attitude: ‘it’s fine, my insurance company will pay for any damages and replace anything valuable’ and you will feel far less stressed than if you think, "My bag is gone and I’ll never get it back! What if the thieves return and steal something else?’.
If you are a perfectionist and expect everything to be perfect all of the time, you are sure to feel undue stress when things don’t go as you expect them to.
Any major life change can be stressful, whether it’s a positive event such as planning a wedding or having a baby to unpleasant events such as divorce or financial problems.
Stress levels really depend on the individual personality; how you look at the world and how you respond to situations. Some may see work stresses as very little bumps in the road, while for others it will keep them up at night.
Effects of Stress.
When feeling stressed, your body launches into action and your nervous system releases hormones to prepare your fight or flight response. This causes your heartbeat to speed up, your breathing gets faster, your muscles tense, and you start to sweat. This kind of stress is short-term and your body usually recovers quickly from it.
But if your stress system stays activated over a long period of time (chronic stress), it can lead to or aggravate more serious health problems. The constant rush of stress hormones can put a lot of wear and tear on your body, causing it to age more quickly and making it more prone to illness.
These physical signs can appear if stress appears for a short time period: fatigue, sleeping difficulties, headache. However when it becomes long term and not addressed, this can lead to more serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, depression, weight gain and many more.
Stress is very serious. And managing it can make the world of difference.
There are plenty of things you can put in place yourself to help manage stress, although talking to qualified health professionals when you are struggling will help crack down on the triggers earlier.
Mindfulness is a buzz word these days but can help allowing space to breathe and focus on the present moment. This can combine meditation, yoga and aromatherapy with a particular focus on reducing stress.
This is a way of spending time outdoors, in nature to improve wellbeing. This can be exercise, gardening or being involved in a conservation project. It has been shown that the sounds of nature such as water flowing in streams, birds chirping and the light sound of rain seem to naturally alleviate stress and anxiety.
Stress is serious, it isn’t easy to manage, and everyone suffers from it. Please do let us know if this has been useful and do consult the relevant qualified professionals for advice.