Stress is a natural response of the human body to a perceived dangerous situation, it’s the mind’s and the body’s way of preparing you to deal with that situation. When this kind of physical and mental response happens occasionally and in moderation, there is not at all a problem. But if stressing situations happen all the time, for longer periods of time, and the mind and body are experiencing a high level of stress, there may arise some unpleasant effects. Therefore, it is mandatory to learn how to reduce naturally stress in order to prevent its negative effects on our health and well-being.
Effects of a high level of stress for a long time
- feel constantly fatigued
- poor concentrating
- skin irritations
- heart disease
- pains at the base of the jaw
- interfere with sexual function
- high blood pressure
- immune system problems
Why do we experience a high level of stress
Sometimes our life seems to be so filled with so many stressful events that we feel cannot cope anymore with them. These events can be very irritating, such as: a nasty work colleague, unexpected heavy traffic on the way home, a dominant boss, a nagging or abusive partner, lack of money etc. These daily hassles can be an ongoing source of stress, more than major life events. Even positive situations can be sometimes a source for stress, like going on a vacation or planning a wedding, and that because of the extra work we need to take to organize them.
On the other hand, there are some people who experience also stressful situations, but they are able to deal with any situation, no matter how difficult may be. They have strong personalities and cope well with any difficult situation.
So we can say that toxic stress comes from a combination of the events in the world around us and our personality. When the environment is very stressful and our personality is weak, then we feel overwhelmed by the life’s challenges. But when our response to a negative environment is more adaptive, then we can deal better with difficulties. Simply put, the degree of stress we feel depends on a combination of how stress provoking is the event happening at the time, and the way we respond to that event.
Common stress triggers
The things that cause stress are known as “triggers,” and they are different for each of us. Most common triggers are:
- Death of close friend or relative
- Divorce or break-up of a relationship
- Moving in a different city
- Being unemployed
- Getting married
- Having a baby
- Financial debts
- Changing job
- Having a job interview
- Legal matters
- Facing bad weather (like storms or tornadoes)
- Home repairs
- Car maintenance
How to naturally reduce stress
Relaxation is the best way to reduce stress and any technique is best for any particular type of person. Select a certain time and place to practice relaxation, when no one else is around for about 15-20 minutes. You need to find a quiet room, turn down the lights, and sit in a comfortable chair or a bed.
Changing your beliefs. Our emotional reactions are the direct result of thoughts and beliefs we hold about an event. Not two people react the same way to an event and that because they think differently about it. The relationship between events and reactions is shown below:
events ———— → beliefs ————-→ reaction
People who are highly stressed tend to make two types of errors in thinking: either they overestimate
how likely it is that an unpleasant event will happen (overestimating the probability) or they
overestimate how bad the consequences will be if that event does happen (overestimating consequences).
Identify things you can change and things you cannot change.
We’re not able to change some events, no matter how we’ll like to. We cannot change what already happened. But we can change our attitude to any unpleasant event. Positive thinking is working. Be positive.
Learn to be assertive
One of the major cause of stress for many people is the lack of assertiveness. In a nutshell, assertiveness means to insist on what you want only when it is appropriate. Being assertive reduces considerably daily stress.
Time pressure, the feeling that there are many tasks and chores to do in a single day, could cause in many people a high level of stress. You need to learn how to manage time better, so that you can take control of your life. Every morning, while drinking your first cup of coffee or cappuccino, take time to record everything you intend to do during that day. You may use a recording sheet like the Daily Planner.