Modern life, for all of the wonders it can undoubtedly bring, is also inherently stressful. When juggling so many different requirements and responsibilities – on both professional and personal levels – it’s fairly normal to experience a few flutterings of stress here and there, and some even argue that this stress is helpful; that it helps to increase productivity, and isn’t inherently bad for us in moderation.
The key, however, is the phrase “in moderation.” A little stress can have its benefits; it might not be the most pleasant of sensations, but the sense of urgency and the need to focus that stress tends to bring can be useful in certain situations. Unfortunately, a person’s experience of stress can cross a line, to the point where the benefits are almost completely nullified, and stress becomes harmful rather than helpful.
What are the signs that stress has become excessive?
Everyone tends to process stress differently, but there are a few signs that can suggest stress levels have exceeded the normal/helpful classification and become more problematic, such as:
- Feeling overwhelmed on a regular basis, even when completing tasks you understand well.
- Struggling to enjoy normal activities or relax and have fun
- Being more susceptible to bugs and viruses and/or experiencing more frequent headaches or stomach-related issues, such as acid reflux
- Exhaustion, even if you have slept normally and should feel rested.
- Using coping methods, such as eating or drinking alcohol to excess, to try and ease feelings of stress or “unwind”
- Feelings of hopelessness or lethargy, particularly when it comes to planning for the future
- Emotional changes, such as being more liable to cry or experience bursts of anger
If any of the above symptoms develop, then it could be that the balance has tipped: stress is no longer a helpful motivator and part and parcel of modern life – it’s now a worrisome issue that has to be addressed.
What are the next steps if you develop the symptoms above?
It’s always advisable to check out the above symptoms with a doctor before attempting to make any changes. Should your doctor confirm that the symptoms are attributed to stress, then you can start to make lifestyle changes that can potentially help to manage the symptoms of the condition, in the hopes of finding a long-term cure.
Here are a few ideas you might want to consider:
- Reaffirm the basics of healthy living: ensure you get enough sleep each night, eat a balanced diet that is rich in foods that are thought to help lower stress, ensure you stay hydrated.
- Exercise can be especially helpful when it comes to combating stress; aim for around 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week to help address symptoms.
- If coping methods, such as consuming excess amounts of alcohol, have been an issue, then seeking assistance from the likes of Renaissance Ranch can prove to be advantageous.
- If experiencing GI symptoms, avoiding foods and beverages that can exacerbate these issues (such as nuts, fried food, spicy food, artificial sugars such as maltodextrin, and alcoholic beverages) can provide relief.
- Many people dealing with stress find that therapy or life coaching can be very beneficial.
- Cut back on as many activities as possible in order to address feelings of being overwhelmed or too busy.
- Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, can help with management of stress symptoms.
- Keeping a diary can allow you to externalize any concerns you have and process them, which in turn can assist with alleviating stress.
Can excess stress be cured, so that you only experience “normal” stress in the future?
Stress is the kind of condition that can, on occasion, rear its ugly head and become problematic – there is no absolute “cure” that will ensure the issue never comes up again. However, the key to managing stress is to be on the lookout for any of the symptoms that indicate stress has become problematic, and if these manifest, to take action – using the options above – accordingly.
It is also helpful to be aware of circumstances that are more likely to cause harmful stress – such as a house move or a change in personal circumstances – so that you can be particularly cautious to monitor your well-being during these times.
Stress may have its uses, but it can be a hindrance if it becomes excessive. In such a scenario, treating the condition directly and making changes to your lifestyle can help bring it under control, and help you work towards a future where the only stress you experience is beneficial in nature.
Thank you for reading!