Stress is a part of life. It happens to everyone every day as we cope with ordinary events, interact with people and meet all kinds of demands.
A moderate amount of stress
can be good for you; it gets you excited about life, motivates you and improves your performance. When stress becomes too intense or continues for a prolonged period of time however, it becomes harmful and impacts our lives negatively.
Everybody experiences stress. Some groups of people are more susceptible to stress than others. For example, healthcare professionals, pilots, firefighters, customer service officers, stockbrokers, teachers, students etc.
Stress can occur anytime. There are certain periods when we are more susceptible to stress, for example during exam periods, festive seasons, when someone in the family is ill, and during crisis and emergencies.
Related: Signs of Stress: Could Stress Be Good for You?
Causes of Stress
It might be an impending deadline at work, an important exam, relationship problems, or a traumatic event such as an accident. There are many different sources of stress and even positive life events such as planning your wedding may contribute to stress. Circumstances that cause stress are called stressors and we experience a wide range of stressors every day.
Related: Q&A: Dealing with Work Stress
If some stress is good, how does one tell when it turns into a negative impact on one’s life then? There are behavioural, mental, emotional and physical signs to look out for that tell us when the stress has become too much to handle.
When this stress is prolonged and not managed, it may lead to medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, and depression.
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Stress is inevitable and a part and parcel of life. To effectively manage stress, it is important to first identify your stressors. Once you have identified the cause of your stress, it becomes easier to manage it.
Most of us might already have methods to cope with stress. Talking to a loved one or a close friend about how the day went can be a great stress-reliever. Sometimes, all we need is a listening ear to help us let go of our fears. However, not all methods are good for us. Stress eating, stress shopping, or binge drinking after a long day might help ameliorate a stressful situation by providing quick relief, but they are neither healthy nor effective long term solutions.
There are foods that aid in counteracting stress, but remember that moderation is key. Opt for healthy snacks like nuts or fruits, and enjoy a cup of chamomile tea instead of a Long Island to calm your thoughts and ease those anxieties away.
A healthy body and a healthy mind makes a happy life. Be sure to get enough sleep and exercise regularly to release those endorphins that keep us positive and happy. Proper breathing techniques, yoga, and meditation not only help manage stress, they are also highly beneficial to your
We might not be able to control the situations that cause us stress, but we can control how we manage it.
Stress Management: Be a Master of Stress
Self-awareness, recognition and acceptance of ourselves are important for stress management. We need to know what are the things that can make us tick and react to stress.
Being able to recognise and change our negative thinking styles would alter our feelings and eventually actions, towards external and internal sources of stress.
Related: The Keys to Happiness: Mindfulness and Positive Experiences
Stress can come about as a result of a sense of loss and insecurity. To balance, be more flexible in matching your response to the context and situation.
Related: Your Guide to Stress Management
Goals provide us with a sense of direction and perspective. With a clear focus and passion, we feel a greater sense of control and purpose in life.
Related: 5 Good Eating Habits to Achieve Your Health Goals
We are social beings and we function with others. We do best when we are surrounded by supportive family or friends. They provide us with the assurance and validation that we need in the midst of a stressful situation.
Related: Fun and Healthy Activities with Friends for Stress Relief
We can also receive assurance and hope from our spiritual beliefs. Many studies have confirmed the benefits of having strong faith as a powerful stress-buffer, enhancing our ability to cope with life's more serious stresses.
Related: The Science of Happiness
A healthy body is a natural defence against stress. Eating and sleeping well ensures better health and a sense of well-being. Regular exercise helps to build physical and mental strength against stress.
Related: How to Stop Craving for Junk Food and Be Happy with Healthier Food
It is important to have good and effective outlets and coping strategies. Poor coping strategies will worsen stress.
Some examples of effective coping strategies are:
In a nutshell, the 3A's of Effective Stress Management are:
Remember: Work on a plan; then the plan will work for you!
Related: Reduce Caregiver Stress by Practicing Mindfulness
Where to Find Professional Help
Whilst some people may benefit from self-help strategies, others may need some professional support to help manage their stress. There are
support options available for people who may find their stress overwhelming.
There are various hotlines available to the general public.
Professional Consultation Is Also Accessible At:
Related: Helplines for Mental Health
Visit MindSG for more tools to take care of your mental well-being.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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