For as long as there is life, there will be stress. Stress cannot be avoided altogether. Stress is not always harmful though. People generally endure short-term stress rather well, whereas prolonged stress can lead to a complete burnout.
A stressed out body produces hydrocortisone, which is needed to give us enough energy to survive a challenging situation. Nevertheless, if the situation continues for a long period of time, different symptoms of stress start to emerge.
Long-term stress strains the body in many ways. Common symptoms of stress include stomach problems, headache, rashes, back pain, recurring colds, anxiety, irritability, depression, problems with sleep or memory, and weakened decision-making abilities.
Our culture often glorifies people who make it all alone, without the help of others. “He left with his boots on” is a common salute to someone who – although died suddenly and perhaps before their time – was a heck of a worker!
Still, accepting the fact that we need each other might be better for our wellbeing. Most studies on happiness agree on at least one thing: co-operation with others makes us feel better.
Stress can be prevented and treated for example by learning to manage time. Work or studies should not take up all our waking hours. There should be enough time for relaxing, resting, and spending time with friends and family. Most adults sleep far too little, and stress can make falling asleep even harder.
Excessive consumption of coffee or alcohol can put a strain on the body, while there is no doubt about the benefits of exercise in stress control. It’s always a good idea to spend time outdoors. Fifteen minutes spent in the open lowers your blood pressure and makes you calmer. The affect on blood pressure can be reached merely by sitting at a park bench or in a forest, while exercising in the open helps improve your immunity – which stress tends to weaken.
One of the most important changes to make when aiming at better stress control is surprisingly simple: let yourself believe you are in control of your feelings. The way you experience stress and how you learn to live with it has an effect on how well you cope with it. Do you see more threats than opportunities around you? To control your stress, learn to focus on the opportunities instead.
We can all learn to clear our minds and slow down when things start spinning out of control. Different mindfulness-exercises help to relax and calm down, and to focus on the moment. It’s very important to learn lower your demands on yourself as well. You should not spread your energy too thin.
Sometimes stress can make us dream of work that is easy and doesn’t require thinking but in fact, a job that is too unvaried and boring can also cause stress. Stress can also be caused by “work underload”.
Positive stress helps us achieve things, but it is important to consider ways to prevent work overload at work places. Ways to manage time and taking care of yourself during hectic times can be discussed in the working community. Teams should consist of people with different strengths, so they can compensate each other and help each other get through busy times.