High-stress levels will decrease your quality of life and put your overall well-being in danger, so it’s important to find ways to overcome the stress as soon as possible. When you are stressed, it has a negative impact on your mental well-being as well as your physical health. Stress management provides us with a variety of techniques for resetting our alarm system. It may assist our mind and body in adapting. Our body may remain constantly on high alert if we do not practice stress management. Eventually, chronic stress will lead to major health concerns. Hence, it is critical to understand how stress affects your health and how to develop effective stress management skills that can help you use stress to your advantage rather than against you.
In this article, we discuss the cause and symptoms of stress, as well as ways to reduce stress and improve your quality of life.
4 Common Causes Of Stress
Each person’s type of stress is different. Below are the common causes of stress.
1. Work Stress
It is natural to have some stress during work, but excessive stress may have a negative influence on your productivity and performance, as well as your physical and mental health, relationships, and home life. Here are some common reasons how work stress can be created
- Dissatisfaction with your work.
- Excessive workload or commitment.
- Extended working hours
How you deal with your work stress can even determine whether or not you succeed at work. Whatever your goals or work responsibilities, there are actions you can take to protect yourself from the negative impacts of stress, increase job satisfaction, and enhance your overall well-being at work and at home.
2. Job Loss
Loss of employment is one of the most stressful events in one’s life. It’s natural to feel angry, disappointed, depressed, or to be fearful about the future. Job loss and unemployment require a big shift at once, which can ruin one’s sense of purpose and ego.
While stress may have a negative effect on us, we must constantly think positively to overcome the stress. According to the law of attraction, our mindset has the ability to manifest our life. For example, if you think positively and imagine yourself with sufficient money to live comfortably, you could attract endless possibilities that will help you achieve these aspirations.
3. Financial Stress
Financial concerns and uncertainties are troubling many people worldwide. Financial stress is one of the most prevalent stresses in modern life, whether it’s due to job loss, debt accumulation, unexpected spending, or a combination of causes. According to a study by Malaysia’s Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) in 2021, over half (65%) of Malaysian working adults said that financial stress had a negative impact on their job performance.
4. Death of a spouse
Dealing with the death of someone you love is one of the most stressful aspects of life. Oftentimes, the suffering and stress associated with the loss of loved ones might feel overbearing. You may encounter a range of challenging and unexpected feelings, ranging from shock or fury to disbelief, guilt, and great grief. A healthy technique to cope with pain can help you cope with your stress, discover a new purpose, and go on with your life.
Symptoms Of Stress
- Moodiness, irritability, or anger
- Loneliness and isolation
- Aches and pains
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea, dizziness
- Chest pain, rapid heart rate
- Eating more or less
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, shaking hands or legs)
5 Ways To Manage Stress
1. Exercise Regularly
Exercise has been proven to be an efficient stress reliever in addition to physical health advantages.
- It stimulates the release of endorphins.
Physical activity may assist boost the synthesis of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good hormones. Cardiovascular exercise such as jogging may provide a similar effect.
- It improves sleep quality
Exercise can also improve our sleep quality. Getting adequate and good quality sleep might also help us to relax and reduce stress.
- It has a mood-lifting effect.
Regular exercise can boost self-esteem, enhance mood, aid in relaxation, and alleviate minor depression and anxiety symptoms.
According to WHO, adults aged 18 – 64 years old should perform at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity:
- Brisk walking
- Cycling leisurely
Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity:
- Running at 6mph
- Swimming laps
- Jumping rope
In addition to improving your mental and physical health, the practice of meditation may help you achieve a state of inner peace and calm.
Two types of simple meditation are:
It is a form of meditation that involves paying attention to our ideas or thoughts as they flow through our minds. There is no need to pass judgement on the thoughts. We only discover and observe the patterns. Concentration and awareness are combined in this technique.
It required focusing on any of the 5 senses. For example, you can focus on your breathing.
- Listening to a gong
- Staring at a candle flame
- Counting your breaths
You may watch this 5-minute meditation video below for further info
3. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is one of the most effective methods for reducing stress in the body. Because when you inhale deeply, your brain receives a signal to quiet down and relax. The brain then transmits this information to the rest of the body. All of the physiological responses associated with stress, such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and elevated blood pressure, reduce when you breathe deeply to relax.
You may watch this 3-minute video below of deep breathing method.
4. Relaxation Techniques Yoga
Yoga is an ancient Indian, non-religious mind-body approach classified as a form of complementary and alternative medicine by the National Institutes of Health. It’s a series of postures and regulated breathing techniques that will help you develop a more flexible body and a more peaceful mind. When you go through poses that involve balance and attention, you are encouraged to shift your focus away from your hectic day and onto the present moment.
According to Sivaramakrishnan et al. (2019), there was a significant effect favouring yoga for depression, perceived mental health, perceived physical health, sleep quality, and vitality.
Below is a 15-minutes video of calming yoga for stress relieve and anxiety.
5. Healthy Diet
Diet has an impact on every dimension of health, including mental health. According to Schweren et al. (2021), those who consume an excessive amount of ultra-processed meals and added sugar are more likely to have a greater reported stress level. Therefore, consuming a nutrient-dense diet and avoiding ultra-processed foods may help your body obtain the nutrients it requires for optimal health and reduce your risk of nutritional deficiencies that aid in stress control. Recommended healthy diet: Mediterranean Diet
A Mediterranean diet may be helpful in reducing stress and promoting healthy ageing (Shively et al., 2020).
The general guidelines of the Mediterranean diet recommended to consume:
- A wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
- Healthful fats, such as nuts, seeds, and olive oil
- Moderate amounts of dairy and fish
- Very little white meat and red meat
- Few eggs
- Red wine in moderation
Taking Probiotic Supplements
Adding probiotic supplements to our diets also helps in digestion and stress reduction.
Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to the human body, particularly the digestive tract. Probiotics are sometimes referred to as ‘good’ bacteria due to their role in maintaining the health of your gut. Probiotics have many different strains while the strains that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 and Bifidobacterium longum Rosell-175 have evidence on reducing stress and anxiety.
One of the best ways to obtain these probiotics is by consuming YourGutt’s Pre + Probiotic series probiotics because it contains probiotic strains of B.longum Rosell-175, which are scientifically proven to reduce stress and cortisol levels (Diop et al., 2008).
Diop, L., Guillou, S., & Durand, H. (2008). Probiotic food supplement reduces stress-induced gastrointestinal symptoms in volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial. Nutrition Research, 28(1), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2007.10.001
Exercise and stress: Get moving to manage stress. (2022). Retrieved 7 February 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469
Schweren, L., Larsson, H., Vinke, P., Li, L., Kvalvik, L., & Arias-Vasquez, A. et al. (2021). Diet quality, stress and common mental health problems: A cohort study of 121,008 adults. Clinical Nutrition, 40(3), 901-906. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2020.06.016
Shively, C., Appt, S., Chen, H., Day, S., Frye, B., & Shaltout, H. et al. (2020). Mediterranean diet, stress resilience, and aging in nonhuman primates. Neurobiology Of Stress, 13, 100254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ynstr.2020.100254
Sivaramakrishnan, D., Fitzsimons, C., Kelly, P., Ludwig, K., Mutrie, N., Saunders, D., & Baker, G. (2019). The effects of yoga compared to active and inactive controls on physical function and health related quality of life in older adults- systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition And Physical Activity, 16(1). doi: 10.1186/s12966-019-0789-2