I have a lot of stress and I don't know how to handle it
May 17, 2022
Stress is commonly known as something external to us; we usually say “I have a lot of stress” or “work stresses me out” for example.
Stress is an adaptive response of the organism to events or situations that require both physical and cognitive or mental effort. That is why stress itself is useful, it gives us the strength and energy to deal with this type of situations: accelerates heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tone, among other effects that activate.
Thus, stress is not something negative in itself, although it is commonly created that way. The problem comes when that stress is maintained over time..
- Related article: "How does stress affect the nervous system?"
Two categories of stress
Some authors speak of two types of stress, differentiating stress as a motivator for change and the stress generated by a health problem:
positive stress or eustress
In this case, the person interacts with the stressor and is able to adapt appropriately. The response is usually brief, mild, and under the assumption that it is controllable..
This type of stress arises frequently in our lives and is necessary for the adaptation and development of the organism.
Negative stress or distress
Here the demands of the environment or the person's perception of these are excessive and exceed the person's ability to resist, as well as adaptation to the environment, so it generates negative consequences for our body both physically and psychologically.
- You may be interested: "Types of stress and their triggers"
What is stressing me out?
We call stressor things or situations that cause us stress. It can be something physical, such as an accident, or psychological, such as an expectation, or social, such as a family conflict..
If we consider that stress is something external, then the same things should stress us all with the same magnitude and this, normally, is not the case. Each person is stressed by different things and with different intensity, because this has to do with our coping strategies for each situation and the way in which we evaluate the environment, among others factors.
Besides, It is not only negative stimuli that generate anxiety, but they can also be positive circumstances or situations, such as a promotion at work, or building your own home.
- Related article: "Mental health: definition and characteristics according to psychology"
What is it that makes you perceive something as stressful?
There are various qualities of the events that make them be perceived as more stressful, they would mainly be the following.
1. Change or novelty of the situation
Here we can include, for example, a change in work or in the place of residence; are situations that require the person to adapt, it is perceived as stressful when an assessment is made that adequate resources are not available or may not be available for change.
2. make it unpredictable
It occurs when we know something is going to happen but we don't know when; this usually occurs in diseases in which we do not know the course they are going to take, such as autoimmune diseases that emerge in outbreaks, but without a specific continuity.
It is a variable that is present to a greater or lesser extent in our daily lives. It largely depends on the person's ability to tolerate that uncertainty., although there are cases, such as problems at work, or the course of a serious illness, which can generate higher levels of stress.
- You may be interested: "Fear of uncertainty: 8 keys to overcome it"
4. uncontrollability of the situation
When we interpret the circumstances as aversive and in which we cannot do anything, they are perceived as threatening and very stressful, since nothing can be done to change it. Such an experience can be for example, the death of a close relative.
- Related article: "The 8 types of grief and their characteristics"
What elements buffer stress?
These are the main aspects that They help us counteract the wear and tear caused by stress.
- Social support.
- healthy habits like sleep hygiene, balanced exercise and a healthy eating routine.
- Personal variables such as flexibility, resilience and self-esteem.
- Style of coping with stress and the assessment of having resources to cope with it.
- biological predisposition.
How does stress affect us?
Prolonged periods of stress can affect both physically and psychologically, highlighting among others the following problems:
- Immune system wear.
- Cervical pain.
- Hair loss.
- Digestive problems.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Increased irritability.
- skin problems
- Failures in memory and attention.
- Apathy and depression.
If you think you may be going through a negative moment or situation and it is generating consequences on a physical level and/or psychological, or you perceive that a relative has a problem related to stress, you can contact the Blanca Esther Psychology Center, we will be happy to help you.