How to Reduce Stress
Stress is considered as a feeling of being afraid, worried, overstrained and nervous. Everybody experiences stress several times in their life. There are particular positive effects of it such as motivation to get something done, or to make something perfect. However, in most cases stress brings negative effects. Stress can originate in happy events such as marriage, birth, job promotion or new house; however, it can also come from unhappy events, namely death, dismissal or divorce (Aldwin, 2007). Having various types, stress can lead to different negative consequences that can be prevented while pursuing crucial strategies.
In stressful situations human organism activates the nervous system and lets out such hormones as cortisol and adrenalin. These hormones lead to physical changes within the organism that assist in reacting faster and getting easily through the stressful situation. This reaction sometimes gets the name ‘fight or flight’ response. Adrenalin and cortisol tend to raise the heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, breathing and metabolism. Moreover, pupils widen and the process of sweating is getting faster. In fact, these physical changes can result in other serious symptoms, which are insomnia, anger, depression, diarrhea, headache, anxiety, irritability, indigestion, fatigue, heart disease, high blood pressure, lack of confidence and concentration, weakened immune system (Aldwin, 2007).
There are several types of stress. The first one is called acute stress
It is usually brief and occurs under certain pressure in a particular situation such as a public speech, deadline or challenging a shocking event. The next one is called an episodic acute stress. It appears when people begin to undergo an acute stress again and again. These episodes may be a result of some challenges: firstly, getting fired, then finding out about serious health problems, and finally, realizing about a child playing truant In other words, it can be considered as a combination of actual problems in which people turn into a ‘stress machine’. The thing is that these people are constantly worried that something bad can happen and therefore they become nervous, which is why they suffer from an episodic acute stress. The last type is called chronic stress. It is intrinsic to people who are regularly afraid of something and who think that there is no hope of things getting better. Chronic stress is the most destructive for people’s health and cheerfulness. The key feature of this type of stress is that people get used to it and sometimes they can forget or do not notice it, however, it will still be present in the organism (Aldwin, 2007).
In nowadays world it is important to realize how stress influences human beings, how to deal with it and how to avoid it. The thing is that stress is taken differently by people. One may think that the event is not stressful at all, while another falls into depression after being a witness of a scene. According to the statistics, 70-80 % of all illnesses and diseases are related to stress that considerably increase the death rate all over the world.
In order to cope with stress, there are some steps to be taken
Following them will make people able to take control of their lives. One of such strategies is positive self-talks which will help to make negative thoughts sound in a positive way. For instance, instead of thinking “I cannot do this”, it is recommended to repeat several times “I will do my best”. Meditations are another possible variant of coping with stress. It is important to spend 15-20 minutes a day sitting calm, relaxing, thinking of a tranquil situation and breathing deeply (Thomas, 2011).
Physical activities usually help people to avoid conflict or depressing situations. The thing is that being involved in some kind of sport like swimming, running or just walking, human brain relaxes and it lets him/her avoid particular tension. In other words, it takes all negative energy and thoughts away, leaving just peaceful and positive ideas for a person. One more efficient method of dealing with stress is keeping a person busy with his/her most favorable thing. It does not matter whether the person is doing it 2-3 hours or just 15-20 minutes, the results will be obvious after of couple of such sessions. This approach numbers listening to music, dancing, embroidery, fishing, hunting, reading a favorite book, cooking or just watching TV (Thomas, 2011).
To learn how to deal with the stress, one should keep in mind various strategies which help to make good choices in life. The first strategy is called environmental. It concentrates on the space around the person, namely the smell, taste, hearing and touch. It examines different situations which make people be positively surprised or happy. To reach such a result, people may try aromatherapy, plant flowers, reading in the sunshine or lighting a scented candle.
The second strategy is called cognitive. It focuses on the way people think and perceive information. In often happens that people try to worsen things by thinking negatively about them. These unpleasant mental interpretations of problems, miserable scenarios of solving them assist in increasing the level of stress. Instead, people need to learn how to move on after mistakes, how to think about the best possible course of events in order to reduce the stress load. To do this, it is vital to paraphrase the problem, have realistic expectations, imagine desirable outcomes and speculate on positive thoughts (Seaward, 2006).
The third strategy is named creative. Creativity is considered a great possibility to transform stress into beauty. Thus, it is possible to allude to art when experiencing a stressful situation. The process of creating something beautiful is the most important here. According to scientists, beauty has a great power that can make people forget about unpleasant things and also alleviate stress. This strategy includes painting, drawing, knitting, gardening, playing musical instruments, singing or writing.
The strategy which follows is called physical. It sometimes happens that people may feel stress through tight muscles, stiffness or nervous movements. It is scientifically proved that physical exercises help to reduce a stressful situation while body stretching helps to dispel negative thoughts and distract unwanted attention. To reduce stress, it is crucial to run, dance, walk, swim, get a massage, take yoga, and follow a healthy diet.
Another possible variant of diminishing the stress level is called humorous strategy. The essence of it lies in the fact that laugh disperses tension. Indeed, laugh contributes to reducing negative thoughts and makes people forget about their unpleasant times. It releases people’s veritable emotions and displays their inner world. Hence, to push the stress off, one can try watching a comedy, to laugh out loud, giggle with somebody, read anecdotes or simply share some funny stories with friends (Varvogli & Darviri, 2011).
One more pivotal strategy which helps to abate the stress level is called relational. It is common knowledge that everybody needs communication. When people stop interact with those who surround one, they become angrier, since they do not have a chance to share the vital information with somebody. It is true that relationships often become a source of stress, but in most cases they are a key to preventing it. Here are some simple ways to decrease stress such as calling a friend, going out with colleagues or old friends, cooking a meal for a beloved one or just doing something for fun (Seaward, 2006).
The last but not the least strategy is called outdoor. The essence of this strategy is that being outside makes people improve their attitude to the surrounding and to themselves. What is more, it even does not matter what kind of weather is outside, since people are different and some of them may like rain and storm, while the others sun and warmth. Weather is considered as a stress reliever. Indeed, some people may try sitting on a bench in the park, the others adore building a snowman.
All in all, stress is a condition which demands a constant care and attention. Once people neglect the stress, it starts to develop and, as a result, people begin to suffer from more serious diseases. That is why it is very important to follow all those strategies in order to keep vigorous.