How Do You Handle Stress?
How do you handle stress? Some people resort to comfort eating, smoking, drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs. Unfortunately none of these actually help. In the short term they might seem to offer some relief but it’s only superficial. They disguise the problem that’s all. They don’t get rid of it or get it under control.
Stress is a part of everyday life these days. Bringing up a family, problems at work, traffic delays and so on can all cause us to experience stress at some level, and on a daily basis. We are all capable of dealing with the stress and keeping it under control if we approach the situation with a positive outlook, but when a negative attitude is present, the mental state of stress can lead to serious physical problems that affect our health.
It is how we choose to deal with stressful situations that determines whether we are in control. One stressful situation might make us worry, another cause anger and irritation. We could feel that we have lost control.
When we react in a negative way to stress we can subject our body to a lot of pressure. Heart rate might quicken: body tension increase; a tension headache could start. The side effects of recurring stress and feeling anxious can degrade body organs and systems over time. You wouldn’t notice anything after a single incident, but if the stress continued and you dealt with it in a negative way, the degradation would manifest itself eventually. Mentally, physically and emotionally.
One of the most common reactions to stress is in the way we eat. We hit junk food containing too much sugar, salt or fat. Or we overeat or we miss meals altogether.
Another is to keep thinking about source of our stress – the stressor. It’s constantly in our mind. We get no respite from the problem. We can’t sleep properly.
We can also let it affect our social activities. We can become withdrawn and show little enthusiasm for going out and relaxing.
How you handle stress determines whether you cope with it, manage it and overcome it. If you don’t manage the strain that it puts on your body you are at risk of the following:
- Cardiovascular system – heart disease, hypertension, heart attack.
- Immune system – Nutrient deficiency, allergies, diabetes, skin rashes, constant tiredness or fatigue, increased susceptibility to and slow recovery from – coughs, colds and flu, sweating, fatigue and constant tiredness, weight loss or weight gain.
- Digestive system – acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, loose bowel movements or constipation, stomach discomfort.
- Reproductive system – reduced libido in women, erectile dysfunction in men, menstrual cycle disrupted.
To keep in control you need to:
- Know the sources of stress in your life
- Have a strategy to overcome stressful situations
- Know how to relax
- Have a good night’s sleep
- Eat a sensible healthy diet
- Exercise or keep physically active
- Avoid comfort eating especially junk foods, caffeine, alcohol, drugs and smoking.
So. Back to the question. How do you handle stress?