November 17, 2021

How to Overcome Stress

Zaemelys Ramos

Stress has become a huge part of our lives from dealing with schoolwork, family, and other responsibilities. It can have a significant impact on our physical and mental well-being. We all deal with stress differently, and our ability to cope with stress can depend on our circumstances and personality. Therefore, it is so important to find ways to identify our stress and then manage it.    

Stress is often defined as the “feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure” (Mental Health Foundation).  

There are two types of stress:
– Not all stress is bad for you—eustress, often known as “good stress,” can increase health and performance.  
– One example is the stress that your body feels when it exercises, or sometimes you need a little stress to motivate you to push you to your next goal or task.  
– However, distress is known as “harmful stress”; it decreases health and performance.
– It takes a toll on your body, decreasing your immune system and health and making it harder for you to sleep.    

So what are the ways that we identify stress?  

Ask yourself these questions when you feel stress:
– Are you clenching your teeth?
– Are you furrowing your brows?
– Are you tightening your shoulders?
– Do you feel some muscle tension?
– Do you feel knots in your stomach?  

These questions can be helpful to realize if you are currently feeling stress.  

Another type of stress that is now rising because of technology is technostress which is the inability to cope with technology in a healthy way. Technostress can be caused by constantly looking at your phone when there are notifications.  It creates an inability to be in the present moment.  

Some way to manage technostress are:
– Don’t automatically check texts or notifications.
– Turn off your phone or unplug, especially when spending time with friends or family.    

Now that we have identified some types of stress, there are helpful steps you can take to cope with stress.  

Three steps to cope with stress:  

  1. It is important to recognize the problem that occurs when you start to feel stress. Once you know the problem, try to identify and control what you can.  
  2. There might not be a lot you can’t control about the situation, but you can change your perspective. Gratitude is often a great way to change your perspective, looking at things you do have or are thankful for.  
  3. Lastly, it is essential to develop healthy habits to manage stress.

Here are some healthy ways to cope with stress:
– Physical activity & exercise
– Progress muscle relaxation
– Breathing techniques  
– Journaling, drawing  
– Essential oils/aromatherapy  
– Meditation, yoga
– Stay connect and in the community  

Set some time to try all of these! Use what works for you! Maybe combine some of these techniques.  

One way that I personally manage my stress is by taking a break from what is causing me stress (usually schoolwork or assignments); I often like taking a long walk. Initially, I never really considered trying to walk as a stress relief technique. However, now I usually go for a long walk with my brother during the evenings. It was always tranquil, and the weather was cool. I noticed the different plants, succulents of every kind, and tall, sturdy trees. I even noticed some of the trees were peppercorn trees. These trees had red seeds that inside had black pepper. I really enjoyed my walk as my eyes could rest from being on the screen for hours on end. Instead of thinking about all the things that I had to do, I was able to relax. After I came back home, I felt more calm and peaceful than when I started my walk. I also felt more energized, which was surprising because I walked a little more than a mile. I assume that exercise is beneficial for your well-being, which is likely why I felt more energized. I definitely want to continue incorporating more walks into my week because it is a great way to reduce my stress.  


References  
Mental Health Foundation:
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stress

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zaemelys Ramos is finishing up her last year of college at Biola University and plans to receive her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Art in December of 2021. She is working alongside Thaddeus as a psychology intern. In her free time, she enjoys illustrating and watching period dramas.