There are basically three phases of Stress:
- Alarm phase: This is a phase where an emergency signal is sent to the brain. Various parts of the body coordinate their functions for fighting or fleeing from the danger. Tension is clearly visible on the face. There is accelerated heart beat, sweating and fast breathing which may lead to indigestion and high blood pressure.
- Resistance Phase: When there is no relief in the first stage, the person feels a dip in his energy levels. But, the danger is still there and you are still fighting it. There is exasperation that sets in even over trivial matters. Sleep is hampered and you find the resistance too breaking.
- Exhaustion phase: When the stress continues for a longer time than the second phase, exhaustion sets in. You are totally sapped out of energy. You do not feel like doing any of your tasks. There is a breakdown of the entire system and a loss of equilibrium. This stage usually becomes the ground for blood pressure, heart diseases and ulcers.
How do people cope/manage with stress?
There are both healthy and unhealthy coping strategies that can help in reducing . The healthy ones may bring the individual out of the situation but the unhealthy ones may prove to be more dangerous in due course of time.
Here are a few unhealthy ways that people take to in order to manage stress:
- Smoking and drinking
- Overeating/under eating
- Withdrawing from family and social contacts
- Blaming others
Healthier ways for managing stress:
There are quite a number of ways in which one could manage as well as cope with debilitating stress. You should learn to change your reaction or change the situation. This is a challenging situation as you need to decide on what you would want to change…the reaction or the situation.
It is here that you can actually ponder upon the important 4A’s: avoid, adapt, alter or accept.
When you have decided to change your reaction: you can adapt yourself to the stressor or accept the stressor as a part of your life.
When you have decided upon changing the situation: you can avoid the stressor or alter the stressor.
Each one of us has our own way of reacting to stress. There is no “THE” technique that is going to work for all despite the kind of situation. So, you will have to try out different strategies and techniques to manage stress
Stress Management Strategies:
Eliminate unnecessary stress:
You do not have to be a part of the bandwagon if you are not interested in it. So, learn to say ‘no’ politely if you do not wish to be a part of anything that is stressing you. Avoid interacting with those people that bring about stress in you. Identify the ones that are prone to putting you constantly under stress and remove them off your list.
Change the situation:
Rather than bottling up and getting suffocated with your feelings deep inside, open up and communicate. Get more assertive and be open to compromise too if it means bringing back peace into your life. Manage time effectively by having a well chalked out plan.
Adapt/adjust to the stressor:
Reframe your problems and take a positive perspective into purview to adjust to the stressor. Shift your focus to other positive aspects that you really appreciate in life. Have reasonable and realistic goals set for yourself.
Accept the reality:
There are a few things you can change and a few none of us can change. So, controlling the uncontrollable will only intensify the problem. Look at challenges as opportunities for your self-growth. Talk to a therapist so that you can get cathartic with them.
Get some ME time:
Nurture yourself to beat the stress. There are umpteen ways in which you could de-stress, relax and feel rejuvenated.
- Go on a stroll.
- Spend quality time with family or friends
- Go for a good workout session.
- Pamper yourself with a massage.
- Read a good book
- Watch a movie or listen to music.
Do not get so preoccupied with the busyness that life brings along. There are ‘N’ number of relaxation techniques that will help in building emotional and physical resilience and heal your body. Meditation is found to have generated great results for people in ameliorating the feelings of goodness towards oneself!
Switch over to a healthy lifestyle. When you make exercise your daily routine, eat a nutritious and healthy diet, reduce sugar and caffeine intake and get around 7-8 hours of sleep, your ability to handle stressful situations will definitely improve.