The times we live in, have made stress an inevitable part of our lives. It is omnipresent right from the workplace to home, family to acquaintances, past to future and everything in between. Rapid urbanization, increasing competition, changing lifestyle, and several other factors have created a furor that is leading to the exhaustion of our minds, bit by bit.
While we all know what exactly stress is, let us go through the scientific explanation of the matter and understand all that runs in its background, before jumping to the discussion of stress management weapons.
What is stress?
Stress is the way our brain and body respond to the demands. It is the physiologic, behavioral, and psychological response that occurs when an individual fails to cope with the stipulations made on them or with threats on their well being. Stress can arise from various incidents such as:
- Stress-related to the pressure of work or any other responsibility.
- Stress-related to any negative change in an individual’s life.
- Stress-related to any traumatic incident.
The way stress affects people varies from person to person. While some people are able to handle the mental pain impeccably, there are others who fail to cope with it. Stress response goes on for too long and with time it becomes chronic and starts affecting the functioning of the body. It is associated with many psychological and physical health disorders that contribute to detrimental changes on the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, nervous system, and immune system of an individual.
Experts say that stress is the new smoking since the harmful effects of stress on the human body are similar to that of smoking. In recent years, the role of stress in explaining disparities in health outcomes have received immense attention. However, coping up and reducing stress considerably is largely in the sufferer’s own hands.
Here we have compiled the list of few ways in which you can manage and reduce stress personally-
Studies have reported the benefits of exercise on mental health. Exercise is known to alleviate negative thoughts from the mind and promote better psychological well being. Exercise is conducive to enhancing positive emotions such as pleasure, increased energy, decreased tension, and decreased anger. People involved in regular physical activity have fewer stress symptoms as compared to those who do not.
There are various mechanisms that support the relationship between exercise and a reduction in the level of stress. One of the mechanisms is that exercise leads to the release of endorphins from the brain. Endorphins is a substance that produces a sense of comfort and encourages the nerve cells in the brain to release chemicals that have mood enhancing effects. Another mechanism that reduces the symptoms of stress is that exercise distracts a person, means it distracts a person from thinking about the cause of stress. Many people have claimed to have experienced positive emotions after engaging in exercise and positive emotions indicate happiness. Also, as stated, stress is associated with various health problems, especially cardiovascular disease and exercise is to improve overall health and decrease the risk of developing health problems.
Yes!! Traveling or a small vacation can work wonders in improving the psychological well being of an individual. Multiple researchers have stated that traveling can act as a stress buster. Studies have been conducted to investigate the role of traveling on psychological health and it was observed that even a small vacation lasting less than five days can improve the overall mental health of an individual by reducing the symptoms of stress.
One of the reasons why and how traveling reduces the level of stress is that traveling promotes positivity. Stress is often associated with negative thoughts and emotions and management of stress can be done only through promoting positivity in life. Thinking in a positive way may not solve the problem but can help it cope with the effects of it, such as stress. Also, sometimes stress is associated with low self-esteem and low confidence which worsens the symptoms of stress, but traveling can be helpful in such situations as it boosts the confidence level in an individual.
There is no doubt in saying that meditation is one of the best ways to reduce and manage stress. Meditation is associated with peace and calmness and meditating for even just a few minutes can help in restoring peace and calmness. Therefore trying meditation is an effective way to reduce and manage stress in life.
Meditation is a powerful practice that has many advantages. It is considered to be an effective method to alleviate stress, anxiety, pain, depression, and insomnia. In the human body, prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in the regulation of emotional functioning. Another system in the body is the limbic system which consists of nerves and networks that are linked to the instincts and mood. Meditation helps by training prefrontal cortex to control the emotional limbic system. It works by increasing the flow of blood in the prefrontal cortex and improving the overall mood of an individual. It also reduces the effects of stress on psychological health.
Meditation can help in treating conditions that are associated with stress such as sleeping disorders. Stress is strongly correlated with the occurrence of sleeping disorders, insomnia is the most common disorder. Multiple studies have stated that the symptoms of sleep disorders can be treated or reduced by practicing meditation on a regular basis.
Although stress is associated with sleep disorders, taking a good night sleep at the initial stages of stress can help in reducing its effects on the body. Most often, people under stress are likely to ignore the importance of sleep for their health but sleep is essential to manage stress. Good night sleep is a good way to minimize stress while its deficiency can have negative effects on the mood of an individual that can worsen to symptoms and effects of stress. Therefore, compromising with sleep can be the worst thing an individual can do while dealing with some psychological problem.
5. Try chocolate
Have you ever realized that eating chocolate makes you happy? Well, there is a reason behind it. Science says changes in the behavior after the consumption of chocolate and it is associated with enjoyment and pleasure. Chocolate is believed to have the ability to lift the spirit, inducing better feeling and better mood state.
Oxidative stress which is caused by free radicals is strongly associated with stress. It can have a major impact on the health of a person. Chocolate contains various compounds such as flavonoids that have antioxidant properties and prevents the body against damage caused by oxidative stress.
Cocoa which is the primary ingredient in the chocolate offset pathophysiological processes that trigger stress. Cocoa also contains many other compounds that contain mood elevating properties which helps in reducing the effects of stress on the body and promotes better mood state. Chocolate functions on all the systems in the brain that could affect the mood of a person.
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