How to Reduce Stress

How to Reduce Stress

Each and every one of us experience stress from time to time. The term ‘stressed’ has become a part of our daily vocabulary; but, what is it exactly? Stress has been described as the psychological and physiological response to a stimulus that is physically and/or mentally too demanding to cope with.

Different people react differently to stress; a stressful situation for one person may not be so stressful for another. While having stress is normal, and often times unavoidable, making it a lifestyle choice is detrimental to health. Some levels of stress are deemed to be good for you – in that, it helps you concentrate better and sharpens your mental and physical faculties; too much of it or prolonged period of being stressed, however, can harm your well-being and poses a great risk to your health.

Origins of the Conception of Stress

The conception of biological stress was as recent as the late 1930s when scientist and endocrinologist Hans Selye first identified and documented it. Through his work the General Adaption Syndrome, the father of modern stress theory observes how the body reacts to short and long-term stress, and consequently through other books he authored, namely The Stress of Life and Stress without Distress, Hans Selye drew attention to the damaging effects that it can have on one’s body.

Identifying the Source of Stress In Order to Reduce Stress

There are several ways you can decrease the stress in your life, but identifying how to reduce stress and understanding the contributing factors that cause you stress (also known as stressors) is the first step towards addressing the problem at the roots, thus helping you cope successfully and improve the way you react to a stressor.

Stressors can either be external (environmental) or internal (cognitive) to a body.

How to Recognize External Causes of Stress

External stressors are outside environmental factors that cause us stress. We experience external minor annoyances every day such as being stuck in traffic jam when you’re running late to work, misplacing keys, dealing with inconsiderate people, and so on, and the frustrations caused by these annoyances causes us stress. External factors that can affect us include major life changes, work, relationships, family, friends, and even adverse physical conditions. For instance, shifting from a home which you have lived in for years to a new neighborhood, or moving away from family and friends to a different city can cause stress. At work, pressure can be caused by various reasons including job satisfaction, pressure from the management to meet deadlines, work overload, office politics, and such like. Problems with family and friends can cause a mental strain. Adverse physical conditions such as being exposed to prolonged low noise, uncomfortable temperatures, and so on can cause stress.

How to Recognize Internal Causes of Stress

Stress is not caused by external factors alone. Stress is also caused by internal underlying conditions that come from within us. Our perceived ability to cope with the external stressor, how we view it, interpret it, and our attitude towards the stressor tend to create stress. Some of the internal factors that influence the way we react to stress include pessimism, negative thoughts, unrealistic expectations, perfectionism, and lack of assertiveness as well as our inability to accept what we do not understand.

Both the external and internal factors create a physically uncomfortable environment that can cause stress. So, it becomes important to know how to recognize the factors that cause stress in order to reduce stress.