Mental Stress, Symptoms and Solutions

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What is Stress? Before digging more into the topic, it is necessary to know what we mean by mental stress. Stress is nothing but the response of our body to any undesirable situation or events that we might face. Everyone has a limit, a limit to which a person can handle pressure, when the pressure crosses that limit we start feeling overwhelmed, this feeling is stress.

When we feel stress, our body responds to it, it releases hormones, which activate what we know as "Flight or Fight response"; our immune system is activated as a result. This is normal; coming across an undesirable situation, experiencing stress as a result, and after that situation has ended, returning to normal behavior.

The problem starts when the intensity of this process increases and instead of spending most of our time behaving normally, we are constantly engaged in this vicious cycle. This could lead us to a situation where we are permanently in Fight or Fight mode, which could further develop as a chronic situation, known as long-term stress. Anxiety and depression are some of the side effects of excessive stress. Quite opposite to the general misconception that stress affects mental health only, it can have a negative impact on physical health as well.

Symptoms of Too Much Stress

As discussed earlier that stress in a limited amount is normal and has no bad effects on your health, too much stress is what we should be worried about. So how do we know that we are stressed more than we should be? How do we know that we have crossed the limit?

Below are a few signs and symptoms that indicate you are taking too much stress.

1. Memory Problems – Being often in a stressful situation can risk prolonged exposure to cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by adrenal glands in humans. In any normal human being, the cortisol level increases during any stressful situation, which is natural. However, when cortisol level is high in any person for longer durations, it can have negative impacts such as the shrinking of the hippocampus, which happens to be the memory center of the brain. All of this will ultimately result in a lack of concentration power and problems related to memory.

2. Insomnia – Sleep is a significant factor that contributes to good health. Insomnia is a situation in which people have trouble getting the amount of sleep that is required to live a healthy life. Do you find yourself awake during the late hours and find it difficult to get a night of proper sleep? This may be because of excessive mental stress!  

3. Fatigue – Fatigue is often found in people facing insomnia. Decreased energy levels and tiredness are caused due to stress. Sleep is an important tool that helps us to recharge our energy for the following day, but due to stress, a person might face insomnia, which can ultimately result in fatigue. 

4. Frequent Sickness – Do you fall sick frequently? This might be a side effect of stress too! There is a huge misconception about stress, many people think that stress has nothing to do with physical health and all the negative impacts of stress are on mental health but this is not true. Mental stress affects our immune system. The hormonal changes during stress leave our bodies more susceptible to sickness.

5. Prolonged Headaches – If you are experiencing severe prolonged headaches and you feel pain in other areas such as neck etc., then there are high chances that you are severely stressed.

Now that we have learned about the symptoms of excessive stress, we must focus on how to overcome stress.

1. Improvement in Diet – "We are what we eat" Few positive changes in your diet can help you to reduce stress. For many people, Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine are a part of their daily intake. Alcohol acts as a depressant if taken in large quantities. Caffeine and Nicotine are actually stimulants and they do not reduce stress levels, in many cases, they increase the stress level. You should try to reduce the intake of these substances. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks can be swapped with Herbal tea, green tea, and fruit juices. Intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help, a study indicated that people who have omega-3 fatty acids in their diet experienced a 20 percent reduction in stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is an ayurvedic herb, which is used to treat anxiety, and stress can prove to be helpful.

2. Breathe and Breathe – I know it sounds simple, but believe me, it works. You must have heard about alternate nostril breathing technique, which involves inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through others. This has a harmonizing effect on your entire system and can prove to be an effective stress management strategy.

3. Spend time with your loved ones – Talking to your loved ones or spending time with them can prove to be a great stress buster. When you are with your loved ones you get a feeling of belongingness which proves to be helpful while in stress.

4. Laugh – Laughter is the best anti-depressant. A study indicated that people in a laughter intervention group were performing well to stress management as compared to people who were not a part of that group. Laughter helps in relieving tension by relaxing muscles. Besides, do you think it is possible to be stressed while laughing? No, right!   

5. Mindfulness Meditation – Mindfulness is recognized as a very effective tool for stress and anxiety management. The main goal of mindfulness is to pay attention to the present moment. A daily practice of 15-30 minutes can be a very healthy addition to the daily routine.

6. Talk to someone – If you are not able to manage stress on your own and you are feeling that stress is consuming a significant part of your life then it is best to talk to someone about it. You can talk to your loved ones about it, the people whom you trust. Today professional help is also readily available. There are many professionals on both, offline and online platforms, to whom you can talk about your issues.

Written by – Chandan Kumar 

Edited by - N.Nargis Fathima
Mental Stress, Symptoms and Solutions Mental Stress, Symptoms and Solutions Reviewed by N.Nargis Fathima on May 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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