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    How Stressed Am I?

    What You Need To Know About Stress

    Everybody suffers from stress in some way. Stressors could come from family, work, or even personal problems. However, the sad part is that very few of us can cope effectively with the stress that life brings us. Therefore, awareness campaigns on stress are coming up, and a day has even be reserved for raising this awareness on a global scale.

    The 2014 National Stress Awareness Day falls on November 5th. Of course, there are greeting cards for this special Wednesday in our lives. The Day celebrates those who have overcome stress successfully, and this 16th anniversary promises to exceed expectations.

    Experts do not consider stress to be an actual illness. However, it can lead to serious medical conditions.

    Common Stressors

    Money, relationships, and work are the most common stressors in our lives. The Health and Safety Executive reports that up to 500,000 people experienced work-related stress or the resulting anxiety or depression in the last financial year. This alarming figure emphasizes the need for us to take action.

    Stress occurs when we feel too much pressure mentally or emotionally. At some point, if you feel like you can no longer cope, you are likely to be much stressed. Since everyone is different, we react to stress differently, and each person has a unique way of dealing with stress. More so, a stressor to one person might simply be a source of motivation to another.

    Anxiety, low self-esteem, and mood swings are common feelings that could arise because of stress. Thus, you may find yourself somewhat in a bubble where you withdraw into your shell and keep worrying.

    At some point, you might get irritable at the slightest thing done to you, drink more than usual, or act inappropriately. When this happens, it becomes even harder to sort out your daily schedule, and this can ultimately affect your feeling, thinking, behaviour, and health.

    Stress Signs

    You are stressed when you experience the following:

    1. Sleep problems
    2. Excessive sweating
    3. Loss of appetite
    4. Mental exhaustion

    Other stress signs include headaches, muscle pain, and dizziness.

    When you are stressed, there is an increase in the production of certain ‘stress hormones.’ The body produces these hormones to help you cope with the pressures you face. In other words, your body prepares for a “fight or flight” response. After the danger subsides, the hormone levels fall. However, when exposed to prolonged stress, increased baseline hormonal levels occur, and you start showing signs of being stressed.

    Experts do not consider stress to be an actual illness. However, it can lead to serious medical conditions. For instance, unchecked stress can lead to high blood pressure and hypertension. There are several ways to cope with stress and elevate your mood.

    However, only you can determine what is best for you. The ideal coping mechanism should fit seamlessly into your lifestyle and promote the expression of healthy habits.

    For instance, some healthy ways to cope with stress are regular exercise, breathing exercises, meditation, and proper time management skills. Studies have shown that individuals who were taught basic meditation courses saw improvements in their moods and reduction in stress levels after several weeks.

    Find out more about coping mechanisms for stress at the International Stress Management Association (ISMA).

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