Generally, people have a habit of using the word ‘stress’ to express their emotions when it all looks too much for them, and they don’t think they can cope with the demands put upon them.
Situations or circumstances which create stress are known as ‘stressors’ and they include a complete range of circumstances. Stressors are always considered to be negative, such as divorce or a long term illness. But the fact is stressors can also include positive occasions like getting married or getting promoted to a top level.
Stress – A Personal Response
It’s important to understand how much stress is okay for people to handle. Since no two individuals are identical, stress limits differ from person to person. So what may be a stressor to one person can be a stress reliever to another person.
Types of Stress
We are often influenced by various types of stress. So, let us see what are the different categories of stress that people often encounter with:
  • Eustress: General conception is stress is not good because of the negative effects it is identified with. But this stress is positive. When a person physically or emotionally reacts to stressors, it is known as stress response, also called as ‘the fight or flight response’.  A little of this stress response can be good as it provides a defense mechanism and helps a person to execute well under pressure.
  • Distress: This is a negative type of stress. Here the body and mind experiences stress when the regular routine is continuously changed. The mind is not at ease with this change and longs for the regular routine it is used to. This stress is further divided into acute stress and chronic stress.
  • Acute stress: Acute stress is a stress which comes instantly with a change in routine. This is an extreme type of stress, but passes away quickly.
  • Chronic stress: If you are facing stressors very often and realize that you have no control in these situations, you are going through a chronic stress. This is a negative stress which affects the body for a long period of time and can cause serious health problems.

Stress by Demographics
Do you feel like you are over burdened? Having breakfast while driving to office because you have a busy schedule? Stop worrying. You are not the only one. Everybody experiences stress at some point of time in their lives, be it adults or children alike. We’ll be addressing the effects of stress and stress management requirements of specific categories of people in our website.

  • Men and Stress
  • Women and stress
  • Children and stress
  • Stress at work
What causes stress?
What causes stress depends upon person to person and how an individual perceives it. For instance, commuting to work place can make someone worried about getting stuck in traffic thereby reaching late to office. But for some other person, this can be a relaxing trip enjoying listening to music while driving. Let us cover some of the key causes of stress in our lives:
  • Major life Changes: Significant events in life which are out of our control can bring in great amount of stress all at once. Some of the important life changing events include, getting married, going for a child, taking up a new job, and also includes disturbing crises such as death of a loved one.
  • Relationship Problems: Research indicates that people generally find it hard to cope with emotional pain engaged in personal relationships. Most men and women today are found mainly stressed out because of separation, divorce and problems in marriages like sexual complexities, children, infidelity, etc.
  • Family Problems: Sometimes our loved ones, whom we look upon as our greatest source of comfort can be considerable cause of stress. Some of the common causes of stress within the family may be related to parenthood, unsettled family differences, caring for aging parents/in-laws, sibling rivalry.
  • Financial Problems: Increasing inflation and on-going recession is making life really difficult for people. Also, there is a general absence of good financial knowledge amongst most people. Financial stress may result due to short of savings, credit card or loan payment, taxes, unexpected expenditures, etc.
  • Job Problems: This is one of the major causes of stress today. Work stress may arise due to many things like getting sacked from job, too much of  working hours, project deadlines, problems with seniors or colleagues, sexual harassment at work place, retirement, etc.
  • Health Problems: Worrying about health is again one of the main causes of stress. Serious illness like cancer or stroke, accidents, hospitalization, surgeries, inability to give up addictions like drugs, smoking and drinking, etc. can bring in a lot of emotional and physical stress on people.
  • ‘Within you’ Causes: Stress is not always caused by external factors. Sometimes, people may also encounter self-generated stress. The way of seeing situations and circumstances can have a significant impact on your experience of stress. Self-generated stress may arise from pessimism, negative self-talk, perfectionism, out of reach expectations, inability to accept uncertainty, etc.

Effects of Stress
Constant exposure to stress can have negative effects on your overall health. No wonder, stress is often referred to as silent killer. In order to efficiently manage stress, it is very important to know the symptoms and effects of stress.

  • Physical symptoms/effects: Symptoms such as chronic fatigue, dry mouth, palpitation, loss of sex drive and aging. Effects such as increased cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar levels, migraine, and aggravation of Peptic Ulcer
  • Emotional symptoms/effects: Mood swings, anxiety and depression
  • Thought symptoms: I am exhausted, I give up, I will never finish, I can’t do this, and I can’t take it any longer.
  • Behavioral symptoms/effects: Lack of concentration,  eating more or less, trying to relax with the help of drugs and smoking and drinking.
Stress management
Stress management techniques is all but taking charge of your life and leading a balanced life. There is no such thing like effective stress management technique because stress management will vary from person to person. What is fit for one person may not be okay for another person. Every individual has to find out what is best for them.
Attitude is everything: Managing stress is all about facing challenges head on. For that you’ll have to be optimistic and happy, have a good sense of humor, being in control, overcome perfectionism, lower your expectations, positive assertions, let go of anger and stressful thoughts.

Healthy Lifestyle: Boosting your physical health will help you increase your stress resistance power, which can be achieved through:

  • A good diet may include fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products, dry fruits and fish.
  • Moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes daily can be a great way of releasing tension and stress.
  • Stay away from drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.
  • A good night’s sleep will stimulate your mind and body.
  • It’s ‘me time’ Gifting yourself some ‘me time’ to recharge and have fun will help you to handle stressors better. 
Natural stress relievers:
  • Yoga: This is a combination of the mind, body and soul. By focusing on your breath and posture, yoga helps you to take charge of your mind.

  • Meditation: It is a very good relaxation technique which is very simple and at the same time very effective. Meditation lowers blood pressure, heart rate and adrenaline levels, making you mentally and physically more calm and attentive.

  • Self-hypnosis and Visualization: Every individual has diverse images which he finds very relaxing and soothing. Visualization/self-hypnosis is a process in which one can imagine places, objects or people which help us to relax.

  • Massage therapy: Massage therapy, an ancient healing skill, is a gentle practice of controlling the body’s tissues in order to heal and relax.
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