Stress is what we experience when confronted with situations beyond our perceived ability to deal with them effectively.
Prolonged, severe, or frequent stress does terrible damage to your body and mind. It can increase your risk of suffering chronic diseases and quickly spiral into depression, anxiety, and unhealthy behaviors that create even more stress.
There isn’t an easy system of measurement to quantify stress. While biomarkers such as cortisol levels can be tested, these measures aren’t constructive for most people in their day-to-day lives.
Most stress measurement systems rely on self-reporting and questionnaires that ask people to evaluate themselves.
Ask yourself, “Am I feeling stressed right now?”
This might sound too simple and easy, but most people don’t even spend that little moment noticing their current state.
Are you nervous, anxious, easily irritated, or unusually sad right now in this moment?
What recent experiences have triggered your feelings of stress or anxiety?
Do you feel unable to control the essential things in your life
Are you having trouble concentrating or sleeping?
Have you recently behaved in ways that are out of character for you?
Does it feel like life is always getting harder?
Regular self-reflection is a valuable tool in learning how we feel and want to feel. If you don’t make an effort to check in with yourself, you’re unlikely to find a better emotional state accidentally.
Once we recognize when we’re stressed out, we can take steps to make ourselves feel better.
Stressful situations can affect people in different ways.
One person might easily handle a complex problem, while another might feel completely overwhelmed.
Observing how you respond to stress is just as important as monitoring the triggers.
Do you find yourself suppressing or avoiding your feelings, escaping into distractions?
Do you act out in unhealthy ways, like drinking too much or abusing drugs?
Do you lash out in anger?
Do you give up and run away, or patiently try to fix the situation?
What can you do next time to respond in a healthier way?
Can you avoid the stressful situation or defuse it before it arises?
Can you ask for help?
Can you use this experience as an opportunity to evolve and get better?
If you recognize destructive or evasive behaviors in response to stress, search for healthier alternatives.
Creating Space For Stress Reduction
We need time and space to relax, recharge, and restore ourselves to a healthy state.
Schedule time for rest and recovery or therapy and counseling to help you deal with any underlying issues or traumas.
Create a physical space in your home where you can go to unwind and introspect.
Whether your stress comes from health issues, money troubles, relationship problems, professional conflicts, emotional trauma, or anything else, get intentional about how you want to deal with it.