Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. In a typical scenario, stress helps you to stay focused, energetic and alert by boosting your strength and energy. Unfortunately, individuals suffering from crushing stress succumb to health, mood, productivity and relationship challenges. Eventually their vitality decreases thus negatively impacting their quality of life.

If you are suffering from stress you are not alone. According to WHO there are 300 million people suffering from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and stress in the world. Stress impacts the body negatively in the long term. It can lead to several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, ulcers or diabetes.

Types of Stress

There are four different kinds of stress: acute stress, episodic stress, chronic stress and post- traumatic stress. Each kind of stress has its own features, warning signs, duration and handling approaches.

Acute Stress :- It is by far the most common stress and everyone is bound to encounter it. Though it is prevalent it is not negative. It is a result of daily pressures and demands. Acute stress is the immediate response to a new challenge, demand or expectation. Individual cases of acute stress do not bear health effects, but repeated episodes can expose you to episodic stress.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder :- GAD is the most common form of anxiety. It is an extreme, intense and absurd worry usually associated with everyday life. People with GAD overly anticipate disaster about everyday things such as money, friendship, health issues, work and life. The physical effects of GAD include fatigue, nausea, headaches, muscle tensions, restlessness, sleeplessness and sweating.

Episodic Stress :- When acute stress occurs frequently nothing good comes out of it. At this stage, acute stress develops into episodic stress. Episodic stress is the outcome of a life overwhelmed with stress. You take on too much and cannot adapt yourself to keep up with the pace. Being overly competitive and always bearing a worrying state of mind is a typical fertile ground for episodic stress.

Chronic Stress :- When episodic stress is left unchecked and lasts for longer periods of time it results into chronic stress. Enduring chronic stress can negatively impact your livelihood and expose you to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can result in high blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart failure, speed up aging and contribute to infertility.

Post-traumatic Stress :- This is stress that arises from failure to recover after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Post-traumatic stress can arise from traumatic experiences from one’s childhood, war, poverty, sexual or domestic abuse. Patients of traumatic stress live on the edge of their nightmares and flashbacks.

Effects of Stress

Stress can lead to health problems such as diabetes, ulcers, high blood pressure and usually every mental health condition. If you are suffering from stress you should visit your nearest medical practitioner and get immediate attention. Remember that experiencing a certain amount of stress can be a good thing but only to the extent we can push back. If you think you are feeling overwhelmed, then visit your nearest medical practitioner.

Causes of Stress

We get stressed due to various reasons. Everyone experiences either an internal or external trigger of some sort and reacts differently to the situation at hand. The causes of stress range from external to internal factors. External factors may consist of the following but are not limited to relationships, financial problems or a busy schedule. Internal factors arise from our attitude, hormonal or genetic disposition.

Signs & Symptoms of Stress

Here are some of the common warning signs of stress. The more warning signs you notice in yourself, the closer you may be to stress overload.

  1. Cognitive
    • 1. Memory problems
    • 2. Poor judgment
    • 3. Constant worrying
    • 4. Seeing only the negative
    • 5. Inability to concentrate
    • 6. Anxious or racing thoughts
  2. Emotional
    • 1. Sense of loneliness and isolation
    • 2. Moodiness
    • 3. Agitation or inability to relax
    • 4. Irritability or short temper
    • 5. Depression or general unhappiness
    • 6. Feeling overwhelmed
  3. Physical
    • 1. Aches and pains
    • 2. Frequent colds
    • 3. Constipation or Diarrhoea
    • 4. Nausea or dizziness
    • 5. Low sex drive
    • 6. Rapid heartbeat and/or chest pains
  4. Behavioural
    • 1. Overeating
    • 2. Isolating yourself from others
    • 3. Neglecting responsibilities
    • 4. Loss of appetite
    • 5. Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
    • 6. Nervous habits like nail biting or pacing

How can I help myself?

The first step towards helping yourself is becoming aware that you have stress and accepting that it can be managed. Next, try incorporating some of these activities into your daily routine to make stress management a part of your lifestyle.

Identify that one individual you trust and talk to them about what is bothering you.
Sometimes when push comes to shove you want a medical opinion on your mental condition. Visit your nearest medical practitioner.
Sipping some green tea, bowl of nutritious salad or any stress relieving foods can help reduce stress.
Science has proved that doing yoga or meditation can improve your happiness hormones and help you overcome stress.
Spending more time doing activities that make you appreciate life a little more.

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