Everybody encounters stress. It may occasionally aid in maintaining attention and completing the work at hand. But regular and severe stress can wear on your body and make it difficult for you to perform. To live properly, one must learn practical coping strategies.
How Stress Affects You
Stress affects your entire body, mentally as well as physically. Some common signs include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Jaw pain
- Changes in appetite
- Frequent mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
Your brain is exposed to higher quantities of a hormone called cortisol while under prolonged stress. Your immune system is weakened as a result of this exposure, which makes getting sick easier. Your mental illness's symptoms may get worse due to stress. For instance, it can promote delusions and hallucinations in people with schizophrenia, while it can set off manic and depressive episodes in people with bipolar illness. To deal with this extremely common experience, the first step is to understand the circumstances that lead to it.
When You Are Most Vulnerable To Stress
People are most susceptible to stress when they are:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Not having a network of support
- Experiencing a major life change such as moving, the death of a loved one, starting a new job, having a child, or getting married
- Experiencing poor physical health
- Not eating well
Each person has a different threshold. Some things that might irritate you might not even cause one of your buddies to flinch. Large crowds and boisterous situations have an impact on certain people, while silence and free time have an impact on others.
Ways To Reduce Stress
You can manage your mental health condition and enhance your quality of life by creating a customized stress-reduction strategy. Try out different coping mechanisms once you've identified your triggers. Typical examples include:
- Accept your needs. Recognize what your triggers are. What situations make you feel physically and mentally agitated? Once you know this, you can avoid them when it's reasonable to, and cope when you can't.
- Manage your time. Prioritizing your activities can help you use your time well. Making a day-to-day schedule helps ensure you don't feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks and deadlines.
- Practice relaxation. Deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to calm yourself. Taking a break to refocus can have benefits beyond the immediate moment.
- Exercise daily. Schedule time to walk outside, bike, or join a dance class. Whatever you do, make sure it's fun. Daily exercise naturally produces stress-relieving hormones in your body and improves your overall physical health.
- Set aside time for yourself. Schedule something that makes you feel good. It might be reading a book, going to the movies, getting a massage, or taking your dog for a walk.
- Eat well. Eating unprocessed foods, like whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruit is the foundation for a healthy body and mind. Eating well can also help stabilize your mood.
- Get enough sleep. Symptoms of some mental health conditions, like mania in bipolar disorder, can be triggered by getting too little sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs. They don't reduce stress: in fact, they often worsen it. If you're struggling with substance abuse, educate yourself and get help.
- Talk to someone. Whether to friends, family, a counselor, or a support group, airing out and talking can help.
If the steps you've taken aren't working, it may be time to share them with your mental health professional. He or she can help you pinpoint specific events that trigger you and help you create an action plan to change them.