Stress is how your body responds to a perceived challenge. This is a normal human reaction and may come from physical, mental, or emotional sources. Of course, positive forms of stress can help motivate a person to achieve a goal.
“Stress is good, and here's why. A little stress is a necessary factor to increase productivity and achieve success. Lack of tension leads to poor results and loss of expediency. However, excessive and prolonged stress has the opposite effect. Exhausted and irritated, we face conflicts, get tired and lose interest in our work. As a result, burnout occurs and this leads to losses,” explains Olga Panteleeva, mentor and certified PCC ICF coach, an experienced business leader with 27 years of management experience, facilitator, strategic mentor.
Negative forms of stress occur when stress persists for a long period of time and eventually affects a person's health and well-being.
“In itself, it is not a problem for us and does not bear negative consequences. Difficulties begin when a person does not have the opportunity or resources to cope with a stressful situation, and it does not change for a long time. Or there are so many situations themselves that there is not enough time to recover. In this case, we are faced with chronic stress that prevents us from fully living and functioning,” explains Maria Danina, Candidate of Psychological Sciences, founder of the online school of psychological professions “Psychodemia”.
A person may also feel guilty or ashamed about how they reacted during acute stress, as a result of their own or others' beliefs that such a reaction is wrong. And this can make the situation even worse.
“So, for example, a person may decide that crying as a result of a strong shock is wrong, you need to be distracted by work or not think about the problem. As a result, the state, which could naturally return to normal after a while, does not change or suffering increases about what is happening, ”says the expert.
Common signs of stress
People experience stress in different ways. On a psychological and physiological level, these may include sleep problems, abdominal pain, irritability, fatigue, decreased activity, headache, heartburn, diarrhea, withdrawal, and unwillingness to communicate.
There is nothing permanent in our life, and at any moment we can find ourselves in an unfavorable situation for us. Then we cling to external circumstances that could help us. In the meantime, the inner supports, if any, automatically deploy as airbags.
“A lot of people in severe stressful situations fall into a stupor, because life should have gone according to plan and nothing else. At such moments, two things happen to a person: - he begins to clearly show all the negative emotions that have accumulated over the years; - he is rapidly looking for external supports: he blames people and laws for failures, breaks off relations with loved ones if they refused to help, shows immaturity, ”says Valery Gut, candidate of psychological sciences, developer of the theory of adaptive intelligence.
Ways to deal with stress
Express your emotions. Share your thoughts and emotions with family, loved ones and friends.
“The opportunity to share your experiences with someone who understands and supports, as well as getting specific help in solving problems, is a good way to get out of a crisis. An active and responsible attitude of a person to the problem plays an important role - the more control we feel over what is happening, the easier it is for us to cope with stress, ”advises Maria Danina.
You can manage stress with physical or mental stress, or a combination of both. Try different options and decide what works best for you.
“In order to feel confident in stressful situations, you need to monitor your condition daily: do not forget about rest, engage in hobbies, give yourself pleasure. It is better to experience any stress in a resourceful state, take care of yourself in time, observe mental hygiene, then even in stressful conditions we will definitely cope with everything,” adds Valery Gut.
Communicate. Sometimes it is very difficult to cope alone in a stressful situation, and in such a situation you need to look for support on the side. Connect with those who support you.
“Being self-supporting doesn’t always mean managing stress on your own. This is the willingness, if necessary, to turn to someone who can really help with something. Everything that we cannot do alone, we can always do with someone who is more adapted to this, ”notes Valery Gut.
Look for "rock-pass zones". Determine what you can rely on to deal with the situation.
“Construct a positive vision of the future and a vector of movement forward. Mark what you learned during the day, praise yourself for each step forward. Allow yourself to stand on what works. This will make you feel “okay,” advises Olga Panteleeva.
Change your attitude towards stress. Life constantly throws us stressful, uncomfortable situations.
“So she “begins the sentences”, but it is up to you how to “finish these sentences”. It's only your choice. Under stress, it is important to ensure self-preservation and focus on getting through this stage with minimal losses.
The main thing is not to oppose the altered reality, not to demand "to manage oneself and control oneself." It is necessary to understand and accept that we are all in a cycle of acceptance of change and now it is especially important to live and let go of emotions, ”she adds.
Signs of stress that you should seek help from a specialist
Georgy Surenyan, Certified Health-Coach, Lifestyle Modification and Non-Medicated Wellness Specialist, European Coach Accociation Certified Coach, Member of the International Association for Preventive Educational Medicine, listed some of the main signs that you should see a healthcare professional:
- Chronic and severe symptoms. If symptoms of stress are persistent, severe, or significantly affect your daily life and functioning, you should seek professional help. These can be long periods of intense anxiety, debilitating panic attacks, or chronic insomnia.
- Inability to cope with the situation. If you find yourself unable to manage stress effectively despite your best efforts, it may be time to seek professional help. A qualified psychotherapist will be able to give you advice on how to better navigate and cope with a stressful situation.
- Effects on physical health: If stress begins to affect your physical health, such as chronic pain, gastrointestinal problems, or weakened immunity, you should consult your doctor. This will help to identify the main causes of stress and improve well-being.
- Relationship interference. When stress starts to get in the way of your relationships, whether it's frequent conflict, isolation, or an inability to connect with other people, it's worth seeking professional help. Relationship counseling or therapy can address these issues and improve your communication and coping skills.
- Suicidal thoughts or self-mutilation. If you have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, you should seek professional help immediately. Contact the mental health helpline or emergency services.