How to determine stress and deal with it
It would seem impossible not to understand when stress sets in: this feeling is familiar to everyone and in the current rhythm of life, it occurs more often than we would like. But that is exactly why it is not so simple. Because stress is so familiar, it is easy to miss the moment when its impact becomes dangerous to health. After all, it can come not only when we do things that can really change our lives, like moving or changing a job, but also in everyday situations, like creating a PlayAmo login or looking for a new coat in an online store.
Stress itself is a state of increased stress in the body. It arises as a protective reaction to adverse factors, which can be physical and psycho-emotional.
Initially, the mechanisms that “turn on” in response to stress are designed to protect the body, mobilize its resources for a rapid response. Once upon a time, “fight or flight” mode was necessary mainly for survival: high pulse and blood flow to the muscles, as well as rapid breathing brought the body to “combat readiness” in the face of a threat. However, all these reactions, together with the production of cortisol in high amounts, were designed precisely for emergency situations.
Today, stress has become an everyday norm. Many people have become so accustomed to it that even the feeling of anxiety has become “background”. Cortisol outbursts are now destructive to the body rather than protecting it from danger. Some organ systems also stop “noticing” this hormone. The immune system is stimulated in moderate amounts, helping it to suppress inflammation in the body. If stress is frequent, the immune system becomes less sensitive to cortisol and is less able to cope with inflammatory reactions: so we start getting sick more often.
The problem is not only that stress has a negative impact on health and quality of life but also that it becomes difficult to recognize it: it is not always just an accelerated pulse and a feeling of anxiety. The body’s reactions, which, at first glance, may seem to have nothing to do with stress, can help you detect it.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress is best recognized at the beginning, otherwise, its level may grow so that nothing will bring any joy. Thoughts will appear that you are either sick or on the verge of such a state. Symptoms of stress can be divided into several groups:
- Cognitive. These include reactions such as inability to focus, concentration, forgetfulness, racing thoughts, feelings of anxiety and restlessness, the appearance of nightmares.
- Emotional. In terms of emotions and psychological reactions, stress can be felt, on the one hand, as a state of despondency and apathy, and, on the other hand, as greater irritability than usual. Stress can contribute to the development of depressive disorders and affect self-perception in the form of low self-esteem.
- Behavioral symptoms of stress may be as follows: aggressiveness, hostility and other “defensive” reactions, suspiciousness, and sometimes, on the contrary, lostness, insecure speech. Changes in appetite and sleep patterns can also be attributed to this type of symptom. Some people sleep more shallowly – with awakenings in the middle of the night, some have insomnia, and some, on the contrary, sleep much more than normal, but do not feel a burst of energy.
- Somatic symptoms are physical manifestations of stress. It can be about the most opposite phenomena: weakness in one case, hypertonicity of muscles in the other. Tachycardia and bradycardia, chest pain, headaches, cramps, sweating, dry mouth are a number of other symptoms that may indicate stress. It may also be accompanied by the appearance of acne, hair loss; the condition of the skin, hair and nails in general may worsen during periods of stress. In addition, allergic reactions may appear under its influence.
The presence of one or two symptoms from this list shows that you are stressed. If there are more symptoms, you can say that the stress is severe.
How to Deal With the Problem
It is important to identify stress and not let it remain hidden: what normally benefits the body, when stressed, begins to harm it. Physical activity usually increases the body’s resistance to stress, but when stressed too much, it’s easy to overwhelm it. Cortisol is a breakdown hormone that brings muscle aches and feelings of overtraining. It impairs protein synthesis, which also contributes to the breakdown of muscle fibers, and slows down metabolism. And the adrenaline in the blood, which makes the heart work harder, carries a higher risk of heart attack in such conditions.
Having identified stress, it is best to abstract away from the outside world and focus on the load, choosing for it those exercises that are pleasant and enjoyable. You can remove strength training and replace it with cardio, add elements of stretching or myofascial release, and go to the pool.
In nutrition, the response to stress can be different. Those who are not struggling with being overweight often lose their appetite, while those who seek to lose weight are likely to “binge” more to produce the pleasure hormones dopamine and serotonin. It is possible to increase the caloric content of your diet during times of stress, but at the expense of the “right” foods: healthy fats, proteins and slow carbohydrates. And this will require self-control so as not to overeat and stay within the list of “healthy” foods. This will help to support yourself and your body rather than aggravate the effects of stress; but it is even more important to monitor its manifestations and protect yourself from the causes of stress while the body’s signals in response to it are still small.