How to detect and relieve stress

Pounding heart, difficulty breathing, chest or stomach pain, headache or sweating… These are the most common symptoms of acute stress. Most of us have experienced it many times and the good news is that they pass rather quickly. It’s the long term stress, which is much more dangerous both for our physical health and mind. How to manage it?

How to cope with stress during a pandemic
What is stress exactly ?

Stress is the way our body reacts mentally, emotionally, or physically to stimuli.

Signs of physical and mental stress

“Good” and bad stress

Stress is a regular part of daily life. It’s the way our body reacts to any kind of demand or threat, no matter if it’s real or imagined. It’s a way to protect us, usually called the “fight-or-flight” reaction. Short-term stress is generally harmless and can be very useful in particular situations such as exams, an important presentation or in a car, because it helps us stay focused, concentrated and alert. The problem comes when we are exposed to stress too frequently or over a long period.

Long-term stress disrupts nearly every system in your body, including immune system, digestion or reproductive system. It increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and even speeds up the aging process. The most usual external causes of chronic stress are high-pressure jobs, financial difficulties, challenging relationships or major life changes. The internal causes are pessimism, unrealistic expectations, perfectionism and fear of uncertainty.

Identify the triggers

If you feel constantly overwhelmed, it’s time to pause and reflect – and put your body and mind back into balance. The most important thing is to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress. Particular self-help techniques can teach you how to manage stress easily and effectively – including developing coping and avoidance strategies, sharing your problems with family and friends, finding time for quality sleep and relax and positive self-talk. It’s important to say that the stressors are highly individual. While some of us enjoy taking care of small children or having a busy career with tight deadlines, for others it can be exactly the opposite.

The Circle of concern and influence

In his book The Seven habits of highly effective people, Stephen R. Covey introduces the concept of Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence. What is it about? The circle of concern includes a wide range of concerns you have in your work and life, simply everything that matters to you. And you must realize that some things you are concerned about are out of your control. You may worry about the covid situation or economy, but honestly, you can do nothing with it. The circle of influence, on the contrary, is a set of things you can influence in some way. If you are worried about the climate change, you can take certain personal steps to improve the situation and feel less stressed afterwards.

So the most simple and valuable advice on how to reduce stress is to accept the things you can’t change, find the courage to change the things you can, and be able to find the difference.

If needed, get help

Sometimes, it can feel impossible to implement new habits. In this case, it can be a relief to get some help.

mynd offers trained coaches and guidance available anytime, anywhere. mynd coaches use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you set micro-objectives – an effective way to make progressive changes. You are one free phone call away to start your journey towards feeling better.

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