What is Stress?
Stress is a physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension. It is the body’s response to a threatening situation or to change.
Eustress vs Distress
The manner in which stress affects us depends on how we choose to think about stress, and how we respond to it. Eustress is “good stress”, while Distress is “bad stress”.
What are the Types of Stress?
- Acute Stress – Stress that we experience on a daily basis. It is brief and specific to the demands and pressures of a particular situation.
- Episodic Acute Stress – Stress that results from acute problems that happen more frequently than normal. It can add up, making it harder to recover.
- Chronic Stress – Long term debilitating stress that seems to go on endlessly. It continues to wear people down and can negatively affect relationships and health.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
- Cognitive Symptoms – Inability to concentrate, forgetfulness, excessive worrying, seeing only the negative, and poor judgment.
- Emotional Symptoms – Impatience or irritability, feeling overwhelmed, feeling bad about yourself, and becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody.
- Behavioral Symptoms – Over or under-eating, sleeping too much or too little, using alcohol, cigarette, or drugs to relax, social withdrawal and isolation, reduced work efficiency or productivity.
- Physical Symptoms – Aches and pains (e.g. muscle spasms, headaches, back pain), constant tiredness and fatigue, chest pain or rapid heartbeat, gritting or grinding teeth, and cold or sweaty hands, feet.
- Major Life Changes – Starting college or transfering to a new school, moving to a new house, loss of a loved one, marriage, pregnancy, break-ups or divorce.
- Health Issues – Chronic illness, injuries, vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Problems at Work – Job loss, working under dangerous conditions, conflict with co-workers or boss, being unhappy in your job, having a heavy work load, or too much responsibility.
- Traumatic Events – Accidents, natural calamities and disasters such as fire, earthquake, typhoon, landslides, etc., Physical and sexual violence or abuse, war or acts of terrorism.
Tips for Coping with Stress
- Take care of your physical health (Eat well-balanced meals; Exercise; Get enough sleep)
- Do something you enjoy (Read a book, Sing, Watch a movie)
- Express yourself (Write in a journal; Create an artwork; Make a blog)
- Be positive (Make a list of the things you are grateful for)
- Manage your time (Organize your activities, learn to prioritize)
- Manage your finances (learn how to budget, distnguish your needs from your wants)
- Learn ways to relax your body (focus on the present; practice deep breathing exercises, meditation or mindfulness; listen to music)
- Spend time with people who care (share your feelings with a trusted friend or family; spend time with positive people)
Note: If you continue to feel stressed and unable to cope, consult with a mental health professional who can help you learn ways on how to manage stress more effectively.
Reference: Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc. (The blogger is a member of Philippine Mental Health Association, taking up Master of Arts of Education (MAEd) with major in Administration and Supervision, a Mental Health Advocate)