Everyone faces stressful situations on a daily basis, but if these situations lead to persistent mental and physical problems, it may be time to stop and act. People face different challenges every day, from overwhelming work tasks, caregiving responsibilities, financial problems, and traumatic events, such as the death of loved ones or illness. Stress puts the body on overdrive, causing it to wear out faster if not managed.
The body reacts to stress by putting up some physical and emotional responses, which could have negative effects on health and wellbeing if they persist.
Stress can cause:
- Anxiety and other mood changes
- Sleep problems
- Physical symptoms, such as body pain, headaches, cramps, and digestive problems
- Increased use of psychoactive substances such as tobacco and alcohol
These often worsen chronic health problems and mental health conditions if they persist and are not managed early.
Here are some ways to help you cope with stress:
- Take breaks: One important step to de-stressing is taking breaks away from the source of the stress. If the stress is coming from work, negative news, or a toxic relationship, it is important to be away from the source of the stress to allow your mind and body to recover from the stressful event.
- Avoid unhealthy habits: You could get easily tempted into drug and alcohol abuse when dealing with stress. However, these activities worsen the body’s response to stress and make you less able to deal with stress.
- Stay active: Physical activity improves mental and physical wellbeing as well as sleep. Moderate exercise improves blood flow to the brain, thereby improving your mood and emotional wellbeing. Physical activity has also been found to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and lower the risk of mental health problems.
- Don’t isolate: Stay connected with friends and family during these stressful situations. You could also connect with support groups of people who are dealing with or have dealt with similar challenges. Isolating yourself during stressful situations may keep you overwhelmed by the stressor.
- Eat healthy: Craving heavy carbs, fats, or soda is a typical response to stress, but it is unhealthy. These unhealthy foods raise the level of inflammation that may limit your body’s capacity to heal or even increase your risk of other health problems. Eat lots of fruits and veggies to improve your body’s level of nutrients that lower inflammation. This would improve your mental wellbeing and lower your risk of stress-induced health problems.
- Get Professional Help: Sometimes, you cannot deal with stress alone, especially when it is causing some serious mental health problems. Seek help as soon as possible by talking with a licensed medical professional to help you with coping skills and other medical interventions.
Stress is a big risk factor for several health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. While everyone faces stress every day, it is important to learn the right coping skills to deal with stress and prevent its negative effects.