The term stress is defined as a condition where an object or individual is under pressure. From a medical point of view, stress is related to a situation where the individual feels some sort of mental or emotional pressure. This pressure may be obvious to the individual. In most cases, in fact, individuals are often unaware that they are under stress. Stress usually produces a physical and emotional response in your body, which is how the body deals with the stressful situation. This is actually good for you as it works to stimulate your body into action. However, over time, this may prove to be harmful to the body as it will continuously be exposed to the stressful state this will eventually have an adverse effect on your health. When the body is under stress, the brain initiates the release of adrenaline and cortisol, both of which have the effect of bringing the body into a state of alertness. Under the influence of these substances, the body will be prepared for the situation that has arisen.

Symptoms of Stress

When we discuss stress symptoms, it is important to understand what type of stress one is talking about. When it comes to stress that is associated with a sudden onset of danger or pressure, the body will react in a particular way. When the body is under continuous stress, the reaction will be different.

For sudden stress, the symptoms include increased heart rate, increased respiration, sweating and generally an increased state of alertness. This is part of the human body’s self preservation mechanism. When the body is faced with a dangerous situation or with a situation that brings on stress, it reacts in such a way that the body ends up being more alert. This is the reaction that helps individuals react when they are confronted with dangerous situations. This type of stress may occur when one is in an emergency situation such as when one is required to execute an emergency maneuver while driving.

Long term stress is far more dangerous for the body and is known as ‘bad’ stress. This kind of stress occurs when an individual is in a situation that subjects him or her to emotional or mental pressure for a considerable period of time. There are many reasons why chronic stress might affect an individual. People who work in high pressure jobs are likely to suffer from chronic stress. Common examples of high pressure work environments include finance related jobs. It is possible that an individual may suffer from chronic stress even if the person is not involved in a high pressure job. Issues associated with an individual’s personal life or financial stability may make it likely that the individual will suffer from these issues. There are several personal situations that can cause stress, such as failure in a relationship, constant nagging at home or work and insufficient relaxation time between hours of work.

Long term stress may cause physical symptoms that include high blood pressure, headaches, digestive issues, general aches and pains and a loss of sex drive. There are many emotional symptoms that an individual will suffer from as well. These include agitation, depression, feelings of loneliness and irritability. An individual suffering from stress will also display some behavioral symptoms that are linked to the condition. These include appetite changes, procrastination, isolation from others and changes in sleep patterns. One’s thoughts are also not immune to stress. People suffering from stress tend to worry and think negatively. Furthermore, such people also tend to be forgetful and lacking in proper judgment. To add to this, such individuals are often faced with constantly racing thoughts which impairs their ability to concentrate effectively on the task at hand.

Causes of Stress

Stress is an extremely complicated condition that has many possible triggers, most of which an individual may not even be aware of. As explained above, stress causes behavioral, cognitive, physical and emotional changes to occur in the body of an individual. This means that there could be a huge number of possible triggers for stress. When it comes to the instinct of danger avoidance, stress may be caused by some physical injury or some event unfolding in front of the individual. Aside from this type of stress, one can categorize causes of stress as those factors in the life of an individual related to emotional and mental wellbeing.

Stress is therefore associated with any of the reactions that may take place. Setbacks suffered by an individual both in terms of work life and in terms of personal life may affect the individual such that he or she starts suffering from stress. Another important cause of stress is associated with the life goals of an individual. Most people set targets that they would like to reach, many of which are time based. Failure to achieve such targets is often a cause for stress as it leads to the individual doubting his or her own ability. This type of issue is often described as a silent cause for stress because it is something that weighs on the individual’s mind without actively being present in the day to day happenings of the person’s life.

Remedies for Stress

The first thing one needs to do is to accept that there is a problem that needs to be tackled. Stress can be tackled by reducing one’s triggers of stress. One must reduce excessively long work hours to get rid of stress. Stress release techniques can be used by the individual to get over stress. When one is on holiday, one must not think about work and about what needs to be done on returning from a holiday. Instead, time should be spent on relaxing activities. The use of massage techniques can be applied for people who suffer from stress. Massages provide mental and physical relief to the individual as they tend to boost blood circulation and slow down the heart rate. Massages are often coupled with aromatherapy sessions to provide a good release to the individual.

Any activity that brings about a sense of relaxation to the individual must be pursued. This could include activities like walking, jogging and exercising or non physical activities like reading books or any other thing that would relax the individual. Relaxation time is of great importance because it helps the individual focus more effectively when he or she returns to work.

In some cases, medication will be given to the individual to deal with stress. Medication must only be consumed under supervision of a doctor. This is done in cases where there is a chance that the individual’s health will be under threat from long term stress. Medication is an option that must be accompanied by the other remedies mentioned above as it can work more effectively if one takes steps to avoid stress as well.

Diet for Stress

There are some guidelines that need to be followed when it comes to the type of food an individual should consume when he or she is stressed. Generally speaking, a healthy diet is required for all people. Stressed individuals tend to be more prone to consuming junk food. Individuals suffering from stress also tend to consume food at odd hours, often skipping meals. This combination of irregular consumption and junk food consumption tends to be typical of those in high stress situations. Many people suffer from this condition which is known as ‘stress eating’. A replacement of unhealthy food with healthy alternatives will be good for the health of the individual.

Several studies have suggested that stimulants should be removed from the diet of an individual, especially when he or she is suffering from stress. Caffeine is a common stimulant present in various products that we tend to consume excessively when afflicted with stress. Salty foods should also be avoided as much as possible. Salt tends to raise the blood pressure which is further harmful to someone who is already under stress. Oily foods are, in any case, not good for the health of the individual. If a person has time constraints when it comes to meal times, then he or she should pack some healthy snack options such as whole grain sandwiches or salads. These can be both nutritious and healthy for the individual, thus providing balanced nutrition for the body.

Suggestion for Stress

Stress is a chronic condition that often goes undetected. People who are under stress must understand their situation so that they can do something about it. The diagnosis of stress is also quite vague in that there are no commonly agreed upon parameters for this condition. People also tend to respond differently to stress which is why each individual case is different. Individuals must therefore be aware of the various different symptoms that could be linked to stress. When any of these symptoms become apparent, the individual should visit his or her doctor for a checkup. It is far more prudent to do this than to avoid the symptoms and ignore the problem. Stress can be easily and effectively dealt with if it is identified. People who are free from stress tend to perform more efficiently. This is something that every person would like to be capable of. Therefore, effective stress management will lead to an improved quality of life.

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8 Stress remedies suggested by our users
Prayer and friends that share the same faith
suggested by Carrie on Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My remedy is prayer! As a Christian, my Lord has been my life perseveres. I have been dealing with stress for the past few years and I have finally come to an inner peace. As a woman, I need to talk too, to release...This is a message that is powerful for me...The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you...My prayer is that you, the reader, experience an inner peace...Its indescribable and such a blessing!

counseling to avoid stress
suggested by nadzirah on Monday, April 7, 2008

Actually, I was also one of them.. So, I used to go for counseling. It is one of the best ways to avoid stress. Find someone to talk with.. But if you really really stressed, the breathe slowly and hold for a few second then breath out slowly. Empty your mind at the same time.. Repeat it until you feel calm..

relaxation for temporary relief
suggested by abby on Sunday, March 30, 2008

What I do whenever I am stressed is I lie down somewhere comfortable and quiet. then i take a minute and take everything off of my mind just think about nothing...then once u feel relaxed, concentrate on every part of your body starting at your toes and calves to every face muscle to rest your body...sometimes it helps if u try to nap afterward. It just makes u feel refreshed.

Keep your friends close and your enemies far
suggested by Cameron on Saturday, June 9, 2007

I find the best(and most obvious)way to relieve stress is to just generally do something that promotes positive emotions. More specifically, cuddle with your favorite cat or other pet and spend some time with them. Take a walk with them. As was also already mentioned, exercise helps greatly, but it is my personal opinion that sports will stress somebody. Stress can be caused by many things though and often short term fixes won't help. Talking with friends about your issue can also help, have you and your friends ever gotten mad at something and ranted along with your friends? It feels good! :P Stay around your friends, they'll really help. Go on fishing trips with them or maybe go ride dirt bikes, whatever you're into, but thats best advice I can offer. If you don't have any friends try and make some, and if you're really desperate, I'd recommend a friend from the animal category if you don't already have one. But of course, you've gotta take good care of them, so make sure it's not stressful! I'd recommend a cat, pretty low maintainence and very friendly, if you pick the right cat. Or a bird, also generally low maintenance, just make sure they don't fly away and try to pick a quiet one if their squawking will stress you out. (I personally find having a dog stressful, but that's just me.) Make sure your pet is very healthy, going through the tragedy of losing your friend when you're already depressed could be devastating. Some other pet ideas: A Guinea Pig. You might be surprised how emotional they are, this is clearly exhibited when you have many of them in the same cage, not necessarily negative ones either. They can be expressive too, they have many sounds they make according to different emotions, and if they're hungry or thirsty, they'll let you know! Make sure you change their bedding at least once a week, but they'll be much healthier if you change it every 3-4 days. Should you choose bedding that's made from wood shavings, do NOT use cedar! Guinea pigs can be allergic to cedar, and finding out if they are is a big pain. Also, be careful when feeding them anything other than pellets, some seeds absolutely don't digest well and acidic foods aren't good. Some safe foods: Celery, carrots, kael, lettuce (careful, I've heard too much lettuce can be bad in that it gives them very bad gas), and other foods of this sort. Or you can try something like starting an ant farm or raising butterflies as a hobby to take some things off your mind. Certainly won't feel the emotion radiating from them though.

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