We all know what it's like to feel stressed but the exact way an individual feels when stressed may be different from how the next person feels. How you react may not be the same as how a friend reacts. Likewise, once feeling stressed, the strategies that help you cope may be different from what helps someone else. Furthermore, one person will find what works for him/her to reduce the causes of stress is not the same as someone else. It's a matter of finding what works for you.
How a person feels when stressed How do you feel when you are under a lot of stress? Common reactions from the body include one or more of the following -
aching neck and shoulders
I find my head aches and my neck and shoulders tense up. If I am really stressed I also experience nausea.
Headache Courtesy of Pixabay
Reactions to stress How do you react under stress? Sometimes you may not have realised the degree of stress you are experiencing until you notice you can't sleep. Other reactions can include -
over eating or under eating
conflict with others
withdrawing from usual support network
not completing tasks
inability to make decisions
sleeping too much
While one person can't sleep when stressed another may be sleeping too much. Some find they have no appetite when under intense pressure but others overeat.
Likewise some turn to drugs of some type, alcohol or other harmful ways of coping when stressed.
However, many have more positive ways of dealing with stress. Professor Lyn Littlefield, the Australian Psychological Society executive director, believes the majority of Australians adopt fairly positive strategies for dealing with stress.
Ways people cope These will either be ways of distracting from the cause of stress or gaining support from other people. Research done by the Australian Psychological Society has found the most common strategies used by Australians for handling stress are -
watching television or a movie
looking for the positives in life
being with family and friends
listening to music
changing their expectations
having something nice to eat
avoiding people and situations that cause them stress
Reading a book can relieve stress Courtesy of Pixabay
Some participants in the research also managed stress by sleeping, using social media, video games and partaking in some sort of spiritual activity.
Different things work for different people. Also, some activities may be helpful in small doses but not if they are taken to the extreme. For example taking a stroll around the shopping mall and making a couple of purchases of things you will use can be a good distraction. However, compulsive shopping, buying clothes you will never wear or maxing out your credit card will lead to additional stress. Communicating with others through social media can be helpful but too much time on social media can have negative outcomes.
It has been found a degree of stress can be helpful. It can motivate a person to do something about their problems. It may stimulate creativity or encourage people to pool their resources and support each other through a difficult situation. However, too much ongoing stress has a negative impact on a person's health.
Some ways of reducing stress Depending on the cause of stress some of the following may help -
adopt a positive outlook on life where possible
accept you aren't responsible for everything
accept you are not able to control certain aspects of life
don't feel guilty about things you can't control
practice relaxation techniques
look after your physical health by exercising regularly
eat regular meals based on healthy foods
spend some time out of doors
spend time with people who provide emotional support
have some 'me time'
avoid television and other media that stresses you
learn to say 'no'
delegate or share tasks and responsibilities
cut out unnecessary tasks
Some stress is unavoidable and sometimes is even positive. Being stressed to the max isn't. If you feel overwhelmed or near breaking point, perhaps you would benefit from talking to your doctor to get some extra help.