Stress and Anxiety: How do you know you are under chronic stress?

stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety hits everyone. One could be under stress about the lost job and other could be stressed about the heavy workload in office.

Our reasons for stress are different, but stress has a universal recipe. The ingredients you need for stress are N.U.T.S.:

Novelty: an unexpected or not experienced before the situation

Unpredictability: something you never expect it would happen

The threat to the ego: when your identity, capabilities, or competence called into questions

Sense of Control: when situations simply get out of control

And Stress is ready to serve everyone.

Understand stress:

Stress is the term basically borrowed from Physics. In terms of Physics, a force that produces strain on a physical body is called stress.

In biological terms, stress is a non-specific strain on the body that is caused by irregularities in normal body functioning.

So, you can call stress a combination of physical and biological concepts.

Causes of stress and anxiety in today’s world:

Performance, competition, and perfection are today’s parameters to thrive in society. All of these factors lead to an insidious increase in stress and anxiety. Even our society and workplace put exceptional pressure on all of us that leads us towards stress.

These are several natural phenomenon’s of today’s society that lead us toward an unparalleled level of pressure. The damages caused by stress are often underestimated, and as a result, all of us are becoming continuous victims of stress. The leading causes of stress in modern life are:

  • Extra workload to enhance productivity or to try to do too much
  • Being always connected with the world, thanks to the technology
  • Obsession with competition to win it at any cost
  • No balance between personal, professional, and family life
  • In addition, the desire of being a perfectionist in every way
  • Drastic changes in social standards and values
  • Pollution

Stress and anxiety is not bound to a certain social class, group, gender, or age. There is no way for anyone to escape from stress, but only the intensity is different for different people.

This difference in the intensity of stress depends upon the personal, health, professional, and psycho-social consequences. This blog post by LKKG is a small contribution to make all of you more aware about stress, its types, general symptoms, and a simple guide to stress management.

Why people get stressed and anxious?

Stress and anxiety are nothing unusual, but it is a natural reaction of the human body towards the daily events of life. Stress is a part of the human defense mechanism, and there are so many reasons for stress, and people react to it in several ways.

Although it’s a natural reaction letting it unanswered will help it take over. The stressful events that cause anxiety can be upsetting and sad, like loss of a loved one, job loss, going through a divorce, but they can be happy ones also such as a lottery win, birth, or wedding.

You can expect from minor to significant and temporary to chronic stimulus. All of us never react similarly in different stressed situations; we need to understand our stress triggers or stressors to face them better.

Stress! Good or bad?

Stress is a response of your body to keep you protected. In many ways, it positively motivates a person to invest their energies and efforts to perform better in many ways:

  • It helps a person to stay focused, alert, and energetic during working.
  • Provides extra strength to cope with some instant alarming situations and stress can also save your life. For example, slamming the breaks to avoid an accident.
  • It keeps an individual on their toes during an event, meeting, at work, motivates to study during an exam, or stops you from overeating when you are on a diet.
  • Though stress is helpful to keep a person charged, energized, and motivated, after a certain point, it stops being useful and creates damaging situations to your physical and mental health.

Stressors:

A situation or anything that causes the release of stress hormone is commonly called stressors. They are mainly classified into two broad categories:

Physical stressors: that put strain directly on the body and muscles. An injury, pain, chronic illness, or change in body temperature.

Psychological stressors:  that depend upon individuals, any statement, an event, situation, or anything that we can interpret negatively, fearing, or alarming.

According to the latest studies, stressors can be further divided into two types:

Absolute stressors: that almost everyone exposed to them, and we can also call them universal stressors. For example, Earthquake or recent pandemic COVID-19.

Related stressors: that is not for everyone and only some exposure to them. These stressors are also known as subjective stressors, and every individual reacts differently to these stressors. For example, work pressure in a short time or stuck in heavy traffic for hours.

Types of stress:

Stress response system activates the effects of other bodily systems like increased heartbeat, high blood pressure, and it also reduces the human immune system. Keeping all these effects in mind, stress can be sub-divided into two types, and these types impact differently on the mind and body.

Acute Stress:

Have you ever experienced heart beating in your throat or an uncontrolled pumping of your heart just before delivering a speech in front of people or just after almost getting into a road accident? All this situation makes you extra pumped and hyper-aware of your surroundings.

Congratulations! Your stress hormones are in proper working.

Acute stress is ”on the spot” kind of stress or anxiety that results from a particular situation or specific event that involves unpredictability, a threat to life or ego, and novelty that leaves us uncontrolled. So, it is an instant reaction, and the body releases stress hormones to help your mind and body to control the situation.

Chronic Stress:

Chronic stress causes real wear and tears in an individual’s mind and body. It is the result of constant activation of our stress response system. In chronic stress, a person gets repeated exposure to the situations that lead to the release of stress hormones. The overuse of stress hormones participates in the breakdown of bodily systems. Chronic stress may lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Signs and symptoms of stress:

Naturally, when we face some stressful situations, our body reacts to overcome the effects of that situation by releasing stress controlling hormones like adrenaline. This hormonal excretion temporarily displays symptoms like:

  • Anxiety
  • Palpitations
  • Distress
  • Lump in the throat
  • Sweating, etc.

But uncontrolled stress for a more extended period of time can cause real harm to the well being and health of a person. Stress also contributes to the development of vascular diseases, heart diseases, cancer, and other chronic diseases. This chronic stress shows physical, psychological, behavioral, and emotional symptoms.

When stress gets overloaded?

Stress creeps up on us so frequently, and within no time, we get used to it and start feeling normal with it. We cannot notice its hold on us and gets overloaded.

Some common signs and causes of overloaded stress can keep us aware of overloaded stress:

Cognitive signs:

Poor judgment, low concentration power, low self-esteem, pessimism, and constant worrying are common cognitive signs of stress.

Physical signs:

Aches and pains, loss of sex drive, nausea, muscle tension, agitation are some physical signs of stress. Moreover, irritability, insomnia or other sleep disorders, constipation, frequent cold, or flu can also indicate stress and anxiety.

Emotional signs:

In emotional signs of general stress, unhappiness, depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, feeling overwhelmed, isolation, and loneliness are a few common symptoms.

Behavioral Symptoms:

Withdrawing from others, consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs to relax, neglecting, or procrastinating the responsibilities are some stress signs. Moreover, nervous habits like pacing or nail-biting are common behavioral signs of stress.

Factors affecting our stress and anxiety tolerance level:

Everyone has his/her own limit to cope with the effects of stress and ”how much stress is more than enough” differs from person to person. We find people in our life that can roll easily with the punches of life while there are people also who get crumble during facing small obstacles of life and get frustrated. Some factors influence an individual’s stress tolerance level in different ways:

Outlook and Attitude:

All of us look at life differently, and our ways of dealing with life are not similar. An optimistic person with hopeful, positive behavior seems less vulnerable to stress. However, for a pessimist with negative thoughts, it is more likely that he forgets his purpose of life and never except changes as an inevitable part of their life.

Controlling Abilities:

To take stress in stride, your confidence, persevere through challenges, and ability to influence matter the most. Having more control over your life and rejecting to be on the mercy of circumstances actually knocks off the stress.

Preparation:

Preparing yourself to deal with the stress by knowing about kind of pressure. Moreover, what to expect with it, how long the stress will last also improves stress tolerance level.

Emotional stability:

If a person knows how to soothe and calm down themselves during times of feeling sad, troubled, angry, or overwhelmed, it becomes so easy to deal with stress in a far better way.

Time to learn Stress management:

There is not only the right way to manage stress because everyone deals with stress differently. Stress management is a way to reduce the intensity of extreme stress reactions. And it also develops skills in a person to cope with harmful stress reactions.

Stress management techniques aim to mitigate how stress and anxiety impact a person’s life. Here are a few helpful tips for managing acute and chronic stress:

Stressors Identification:

To cope with any kind of stress, firstly, you need to identify different stressors. Only after knowing stressors of your case, it will be easy for you to make behavioral changes and lifestyle modifications. Everyday stressors can be:

  • Speaking in public
  • Starting or switching to a new job
  • Air traveling
  • Divorce or other relationship issues
  • Death of your loved one
  • Experiencing some sort of addiction
  • A diagnosis of severe illness or disease
  • Loss in business or any financial backdrop

First, try to identify your stressors that is causing any kind of stress in your life.

Manage a balanced life:

Finding the right balance is the secret of a happy, stress-free experience. To create balance in your personal, professional, and family life, you need to draw boundaries. Creating physical, emotional, and intellectual limitations allows you to understand appropriate behaviors better, and clear limits also help to manage stress.

We are not robots, and we have to realize it. Sometimes saying ”NO” is the only right option. We cannot keep everyone happy all the time, and our own happiness is more important than anyone else. Healthy boundaries with others and a realistic approach to life can quickly suppress the stress symptoms.

Time management and a healthy lifestyle:

Organize your life and try to manage things by distributing your time efficiently. Set priorities and follow the plan you made. Moreover, make sure to include Family time, exercise, a balanced diet as a part of your daily routine. Additionally, spending time with friends, yoga, or any other meditation, and vacations are also important for a healthy lifestyle.

Stress management techniques and relaxation exercises:

There are some professional ways to promote stress relief and relaxation. You can perform these exercises alone and in a group as well. Some of the effective stress management exercises and techniques are:

  • Progressive muscles relaxation
  • Aromatherapy
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Biofeedback
  • Guided imagery
  • Autogenic training

Conclusion:

Modern life is full of stress, and we find no way to hide from it. But if you or your loved ones are struggling to manage their stress, it’s alarming. Maybe you are coping with chronic stress, and denying or ignoring attitude can lead it to worse.

Maintaining balance in your life is the best way to deal with stressful situations and to avoid chronic stress. LKKG is a platform that is trying to make you aware of the circumstances, symptoms, and types of stress. You can get help from professionals to deal with stress more appropriately.

Start managing your life today, and remove any chances for chronic stress to manipulate you.

Please share your point of view with us and comment on this little stressful post.

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