How to deal with stress
Our environment is constantly changing: the air temperature is falling or rising, precipitation is falling, atmospheric pressure is fluctuating, and smog is appearing in cities. Our wallets are getting fatter, we are getting thinner, we are achieving professional success or we are failing. And in all cases, our body must adapt to new challenges, improve and have an advantage in evolutionary survival.
It is through the stress that we can adapt to changes in the environment and society. And it does not matter whether the circumstances in which we find ourselves are pleasant or unpleasant. New relationships, promotions, and the birth of a child are pleasant scenarios, but they can deplete and take away as many emotional and physical resources as dismissal, divorce, or the loss of something important.
How the reaction to stress develops
Stress begins with the stage of anxiety, which lasts from a few seconds to 48 hours. At this time, the body seems to be trying to orient in the situation. At first, it behaves confusedly. Severe stressors can cause low blood pressure, temperature, muscle tone, and more. Because of this, the initial stage of the anxiety stage is called the shock phase.
But in a short time, we move to the anti-shock phase. At this time, the body mobilizes all possible resources to fight stress and adapt to new conditions. As a result, the body temperature and blood pressure rise. The amount of glucose in the blood increases — the main source of energy for the brain, heart, and muscles. The heart beats faster and harder, and breathing deepens. Muscle tone increases and the brain is activated, increasing the efficiency of its activities.
During stress, not only the activity of internal organs changes. We also respond to stress by changing our behavior. And such behavioral reactions are not very diverse. On the one hand, we eliminate the stressor by "attacking" it. Or, if the stressor is too powerful, "run away" from it. Fight or Flight.
There is a third strategy of behavior — Freeze, the reaction of extinction. In this case, we try to get used to or ignore the cause of stress. Wait until the stressor is over.
When stress is useful
Useful stress is called eustress. It occurs when the stress factor is moderately intense and short-lived (up to 24 hours). Then the body effectively overcomes it and quickly restores its resources. Moreover, moderate stress provides optimal activation of the brain — one of the main conditions for successful mental tasks, because it improves learning efficiency, and the ability to memorize.
That is why mistakes and the ability to make them and experience useful moderate stress are mandatory attributes of any training. So if the new skill you want to learn will bring you more stress at first, don't be afraid, it's okay! Don't push yourself, tell yourself that you are adapting, so you can feel a little bit insecure for now, and keep going to the desired goal.
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When stress is dangerous
What happens when a stressor is too powerful, lasts too long, or becomes chronic? In this case, all the body's efforts to adapt may not be effective, and the number of resources expended — is excessive. The body is depleted and as a result — conditions are formed to disrupt its functioning. Such harmful stresses are called distresses.
Distress is manifested both by dysfunction of internal organs and entire systems (most often with digestive problems) and deterioration of mental state — memory impairment, inability to hold attention, uncontrolled emotions, and high levels of anxiety.
Of course, the reaction to any stress is individual, and to diagnose it you need not only to analyze the events that have happened in your life but also to understand well the reactions of your body to various stimuli.
How to help yourself during stressful situations
If we talk about short-term stressful situations, then you should just listen to your body. In one case, you may be able to cope with the task and not even notice it, and in another - for example, after the first visit to the gym in the last year - you will feel tired, want to eat something sweet or sleep longer the next day. Such a "reward" can be afforded because it will help increase the positive effects of stress and next time you will have more confidence in the correctness of your decisions. The main thing is not to eat all the chocolate at once!
It is much more difficult to help ourselves cope with long-term stress, such as war - this is what we, our friends, families, and Ukrainians around the world live on now. Prolonged stress is often a situation that can not be corrected yourself, or at least changed right now, so - you need to learn to live with it.
- Being in long-term stressful circumstances, you first need to take care of the basic needs of the body: a balanced diet 2-3 times a day, enough water, at least 7 hours of sleep, do not forget about the vitamins or medications you need.
- The second step will be to create a series of small rituals that will help you live through stress through the body and at the same time create your own support, which will be easier to go through this period. Hot shower with a pleasant-smelling gel, a short and leisurely walk after work, and a cup of your favorite coffee every morning. Everyone will have their own list, but the most important thing is the actions that you liked before the stress came into your life, and will help you gradually regain a sense of control over your own life.
- When you gradually begin to feel that you are coming out of a state of shock - feeling something, having some desires, etc., move on to more decisive steps. If you can change something in a situation that brings you stress - think about strategy, break into small tasks and move in the desired direction. If you can not - at least listen to your desires and regain a full routine. Resume sports or hobbies, meetings with people, take care of loved ones, engage in self-development. In no case do not put pressure on yourself and do not plan everything at once, but try to live your life.
These simple steps will help you become stronger and have good support for further life in stress and get rid of it, at least in part. And with Balanceo this process will be even easier and more enjoyable!