Stress is an integral part of our lives, with everyone feeling it to some extent. However, the difference between feeling stressed and being stressed out matters. This article identifies the different types of stress and how to appropriately manage each type.
What is Stress?
Stress can be simply defined as an individual's response to pressures and demands in their environment. It is also known as the "fight-or-flight" response. When the body perceives a threat, it releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that prepare the body to react quickly. These hormones cause physical changes, such as increased heart rate, faster breathing, and heightened alertness, to help the body respond to the threat.
Being "stressed out," on the other hand, happens when stressful stimuli become overwhelming and persist for longer periods. It can be a result of a stressful situation or a combination of circumstances that lasts longer than one passing instance. It is common for people to feel stressed out constantly and be unaware of what's causing the stress.
Stress manifests in one of three ways: tame stress, tolerable stress, and toxic stress.
Tame stress is the stress we don't notice, such as small challenges in our daily lives. These challenges can help us prepare for larger challenges in the future and maintain balance, which is the result of hormones and mediators that are released in tame stressful situations.
Tolerable stress is uncomfortable but manageable, such as a shift in our role at work or moving into a new home. While tolerable stress can negatively impact our mood or sleep, we can use control to overcome the circumstances and even grow from them.
Toxic stress is the most severe form of stress and takes place when there is no support or way to manage stress. The body becomes fatigued from toxic stress to the point where even minor frustrations feel like agony. Toxic stress can be a result of several different kinds of serious stressors, including abuse, neglect, poverty, violence, and food scarcity. In some cases, it can also be compounded by less severe but chronic stressors on the body, including poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, and failing to take breaks when needed.
Identifying The Signs:
To understand and manage stress, it is crucial to identify its signs, assess its sources, and make lifestyle changes. Knowing the common signs of stress, such as brain fog, headaches, restlessness, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, appetite changes, worrying, and depression, can help us better understand how stress manifests in our bodies. If stress is impairing your day to day life, it may become necessary to speak with a medical professional and take a stress assessment to determine if your stress levels are higher than they should be.
Tips For Managing Stress:
Making lifestyle changes to manage stress can be life changing. Exercising, maintaining a nutritious diet, and healthy lifestyle can help our bodies cope with stress. Regular exercise is a great way to relieve and manage stress and make us feel great overall. Proper time management and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule are also essential as sleep can help the body repair and restore itself after stressful events.
Recharging regularly is also essential to stress management, including making time to connect with others and engaging in fun and relaxation. Companionship can be incredibly calming and can trigger the release of natural stress-relieving hormones. Recharging with fun and relaxation can be done through various activities, such as leisure sports or a simple bubble bath.
If you're looking for a holistic approach to managing stress, consider exploring vagus nerve stimulation, a non-invasive, drug-free way to manage stress that has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Discuss with your healthcare provider if Xen by Neuvana, a device that uses vagus nerve stimulation to improve your overall wellness, including better sleep, mood, and focus may be a good option for you.
In conclusion, stress is an integral part of our lives, and understanding its signs and sources is crucial to manage it effectively. By making lifestyle changes, regularly recharging, and seeking help if necessary, we can reduce stress levels and improve our overall well-being.