It's hard to see the silver lining when you are overwhelmed. For some people, it is difficult to focus and concentrate under pressure. Stress is one of the factors that affect the performance of an individual. A little bit of stress enables them to perform their best. And for others, it hampers their performance. Various stress relief techniques can be followed for those who are not equipped to handle stress. These are ways to improve mental health, manage and reduce their distress and anxiety, and lead a balanced life.
When we face any physical, mental, or emotional pressure, our body responds with stress. It causes chemical changes in our body and brain, increasing blood pressure, heartbeat, and blood sugar levels. It can also manifest into anger, frustration, anxiety, and depression. Stress can form due to a traumatic event or a grave emotional problem.
With the fast-paced life in the 21st century, hardly a person has not suffered stress. We all go through stressful events daily, which pile up on our shoulders. We must learn things to improve our mental health, manage stress, and not overlook the indicators. Ignoring these stressors do more harm in the long run. It is essential to know that there are few health benefits of stress. It enables us to be more alert, improves our cognitive function, improves child development, and makes human beings stronger through natural resilience.
Learning the stressors and stress factors helps identify those symptoms when they manifest and undertake a holistic healing approach. These are effective in healing, help to reduce stress naturally, acting as the best mental health service. There are four categories under which Stress Factors are divided –
● Physical Stress – Overexertion, trauma, illness, hormonal imbalances, substance abuse, fatigue, low oxygen supply to the blood, increased blood sugar.
● Psychological Stress – Cognitive Stress, emotional Stress, perceptual Stress.
● Psychosocial stress – relationship problems, marriage problems, lack of social support, loss of employment or a loved one.
● Psychospiritual Stress - Joyless striving, the crisis of values, less productive work, less satisfying work.
● Acute Stress – It is the most common type of stress. It is the body's immediate go-to reaction when facing a challenging situation. It can be both positive and negative. It can occur when you have just missed a car accident or when you are on the roller coaster in an adventure park.
● Episodic Acute Stress – Episodic acute Stress occurs when you frequently have episodes of acute stress. It can be due to the nature of your work or the environment you live in. Along with these episodes, such conditions can lead to poor mental and physical health. Examples of this are high-risk jobs like fire fighting, mining, or police duty.
● Chronic Stress – Prolonged exposure to high-stress situations and conditions leads to chronic stress in a person. Chronic stress has severe effects on a person's mental and physical health and can cause anxiety, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart problems, and other issues.
When our adrenal glands release cortisol, it helps the body deal with stressful situations. The brain and nervous system trigger our 'fight or flight system, which handles different kinds of stressful situations. There are several ways to improve mental health through which a person can cope with stress. These methods are straightforward and can be used by everyone looking for some relief –
● Regular exercising releases endorphins that manage stress and anxiety, helps to improve self-image and result in better sleep.
● Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, lemon balm, green tea, and antioxidant-rich products can reduce stress and anxiety.
● Aromatherapy has been proven to be helpful in stressful situations. Lighting a candle or using scented oils can bring a calming effect and improve the mood, helping the situation.
● Cutting back on caffeine and nicotine is one way to lose the jitteriness and control the stress and anxiety.
● Journaling has a positive effect and helps in stress management. It is used to identify and record the emotions and reflect on improving those factors.
● Chewing gum gives the mind an illusion that the brain is preoccupied with something else, and thus it helps a person relax. Stress has been found to affect a person much less when they chew gum vigorously.
● Having a solid support system through family and friends helps you through your times of stress, anxiety and enables you to relax even more.
● Laughter is the best medicine. Reading a funny story, watching a comedy, or spending time with funny friends is an excellent way of letting stress go.
● Drawing boundaries, learning to say no is an excellent way to control the parts of life that cause stress. Taking on more than you can handle is a sure shot of increasing your stress.
● Time management is essential. Do not let procrastination and poor time management pile up your work. This causes stress and anxiety and panic later on. Prioritize what needs to be done and do it.
● Yoga is helpful for stress reduction. It helps lower the levels of stress hormones in the body and lowers blood pressure.
● Mindfulness teaches you to be in the present moment. It helps a person combat anxiety and negative thoughts. It also increases self-esteem and lowers depression.
● The power of positive touch is an excellent reliever of stress. Physical touches such as hugging a loved one can be a great mood improver and release oxytocin, lowering blood pressure and improving the mood.
● Listening to soothing music calms our minds down and helps to relieve stress. The type of music can depend on individual preference and liking.
● Spending time with a pet is highly therapeutic and helps to improve the mood and lower stress. It also serves a purpose, keeps a person active, and provides companionship – all of which are beneficial in reducing anxiety.
● Deep breathing activates the relaxation response in our body. Through multiple deep breathing methods, we can manage our distress and reduce the anxiety in our bodies.
While short-term cortisol release is helpful in dangerous situations, prolonged-release and high cortisol levels can hurt us more than it helps and benefits us. Over an extended period, this can lead to complexities like weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, low energy levels, mood irregularities, and lower sex drives. One must visit the best psychiatrist for mental health treatment if one observes these signs persistently.
Stress has become synonymous with 21st-century living. The multitasking, busy lives leave no time to focus on one and advocate self-care. With increased cortisol and adrenaline levels, the body and mind are both at high risk of stress attacks and high-pressure situations. As we saw, there are several ways to improve mental health through which stress can be managed. Still, some individuals do not have the time, scope of knowledge about these methods and practices. There are special wellness centres and Best Mental Health Counseling Services that teach stress management.
These centres teach practical methods to manage stress and provide the person with psychological help. They try to pacify the person through a holistic approach, get in touch with their emotions and feelings, identify the stressors through Best Mental Health Assessment, and manage them. Individuals with OCD, PTSD, ADHD and other disorders can benefit from these techniques.
Stress management strategies are effective alongside medication and therapy. Several strategies work effectively reducing stress and result in exhibiting signs your mental health is improving–
● Making a connection with another person
● Asking for help when you require it
● Working smarter and not necessarily harder
● Limiting the pessimistic attitude
● Being grateful and cultivating gratitude
● Practising emotional first aid
● Not running after perfectionism
● Embracing the stressful situation
● Regaining control and lowering the physical stress response by breathing
Stress can be moulded and used for a great rewarding career or mismanaged poorly and ignored for a short run, causing eventual burnout. It all depends on the person. The person must seek help from a trained professional if they need help managing their stress and anxiety. The quicker they respond to the stress stimulus, the better is their control over the situation.