Global Issues

Stress Management Skills


            If you have feeling of stress and it overwhelmed you then don’t worry because you are not alone. According to a survey it is claim that 85% of college students experience stress on the daily basis. It can be good for you if it motivates you but sometime it wears you down that is harmful for you. There are so many factors that contribute in the stress that you experience. It also causes changes in your body that affects your overall mental, emotional, and physical health.

            In my previous article (STRESS: Someone Trying to Repair Every Situation Solo) we have discussed about what is stress, when it happened, its causes and signs of stress. In this article we are going to discuss about different psychological disorders those are related to stress. As well as we also discuss about the management of stress.

Stress VS Anxiety

            Stress and anxiety both are the natural part of the “fight and flight” response. Both are our body’s reaction to any threatening and dangerous situation. The main purpose of these responses is to make sure that the person is focused, alert and ready to deal with the situation. However, stress and anxiety both are normal on a specific range. But sometime both become chronic. In addition, both stress and anxiety are emotional responses but still there is a fine line between them. The main difference between them is that, Stress happened in response to a recognized and perceived threat or danger. Stress happens for a short period of time. On the other hand, Anxiety doesn’t have any identical or recognized trigger and can be linger.

            Stress is mainly caused by external threat that triggers it. The triggering threat can be short term. Such as, deadline for work or school assignment, marriage, being a parent, and fight in a relationship. Sometimes it can be long term such as, discrimination, unable to do work, and chronic illness. People under stressful situation can experience symptoms such as irritability, anger, fatigue, muscle pain, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping.

            Anxiety can be define as persistent and excessive fear and worries. These worries and fare don’t go away even when there is no any threat and danger present. Meanwhile, anxiety has the same set of symptoms as stress. Such as difficulty concentrating, insomnia, irritability, fatigue, and muscle tension.

            Mild stress and mild anxiety both are well respond to similar coping mechanisms. A varied and nutritious diet, physical activity, sleep management, and setting priority are very good strategies to cope up with stress and anxiety. However, there are other coping mechanisms available.

Psychological Disorders Related to Stress

            Trauma and stress related disorders are the disorders in which exposure to any stressful and traumatic event is listed as the main criteria. These disorders are results from any childhood trauma and stressful event experience by person. These stressful and traumatic experiences can include exposure to physical as well as emotional abuse, physical and emotional violence or pain, negligence from family or friends and family conflict.

            Moreover, watching a parent being abuse and treated violently also can be a traumatic and stressful event as much as being victim of abuse and violence. Stressors such as parental separation or divorce can be a stressor. Emotional or physical neglect are even more severe stressors. These stressors cause severe problems when they are not addressed by someone caring and stay for long time. In addition, moving to other place and even birth of sibling is also a stressor. Those can generate significant difficulties for many children.

            Trauma and stressor-related disorders include following disorders:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

            This disorder is developed by a person who experiences any traumatic and stressful event. This terrifying event may be experienced or witness by person who develop the symptoms of PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD include repeatedly relive the traumatic event may be in nightmares, upsetting dreams, intrusive mental images, and sometime dissociative flashbacks. Some people experience physiological sensations such as, shortness of breath, racing heart when they relive traumatic event. People with PTSD feel detached from other people and lose interest in important activities. Some people experience amnesia; others become numb and unable to experience joy or love. They also experience symptoms such as excessive vigilance, irritability, insomnia, trouble concentrating, or sometime an intensified startle response.

Acute Stress Disorder

            This disorder is an unpleasant, dysfunctional, and intense reaction start shortly after a stressful, overwhelming and traumatic event that last less than a month. If symptoms present more than a month, than it diagnosed as PTSD.

Adjustment Disorders

            In this disorder a person have unhelpful or unhealthy response to stressful events as well as any changes happened in their life. These reactions are considered as excessive or unhealthy response to stressful event. These are may be emotional responses, such as nervousness or depressed mood and also can be behavioral responses, such as misconducting or violating other’s rights.

Reactive Attachment Disorder

            In this disorder young child or infant are unable to attach with his/her parent or caregiver. Child doesn’t feel comfort or happiness from their parents.

Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

            In this disorder young child or infant develop an abnormal attachment with stranger and have no worry if stranger take them away from their parents.  

Management Plans for Stress

            Stress can be manageable. It is natural response to something dangerous or threatening so it is helpful for some ways. However, if it also exceeded from a particular limit it will be harmful for your mind and body. You just need to understand when the it is useful for you and when it exceeding the normal range. A person has to practice some coping strategies and management skills to overcome your Distress. You have to learn how you can control you stress and don’t let it controls you or taking over you. There are some strategies that will help you to manage stress.

            There are two types of coping strategies according to the type of stressor and situation.

Problem Focused Coping Strategies

            In this type of coping strategies we mainly focused on the problem those are stressful. In this strategy we trying to change the situation that cause stress according to our demands. We use this strategy when we have control over the stressing situation or stressor. For example: if you are not able to drive in snow and you have to get somewhere. This situation cause stress but you can control this situation by taking bus or cab to get that place.

Emotional Focused Coping Strategies

            In this type of coping strategies we manipulate our emotions according to the situation and trying to overcome the stress. We use this strategy when we have no control on the situation that causes stress. There are some stressors that we can’t control or change so we try to overcome stress by manages our emotions. For example: when a person getting married or divorced he/she feel stressful. So they can’t control the situation but they can overcome their stress by controlling their emotion, replacing their negative thoughts by positive ones, and manage the anxiety.

            There are also two broad categories of coping strategies according to our resources to manage the stress.

Cognitive Coping Strategies

            In this type of coping strategies we manage stress with the help of our cognition. In this type we control our thoughts and manipulate them to manage the stressful situations. We manage our thoughts related to stress and those cause stress.

Reframe Your Thoughts

            In this strategy you have to replace your negatives thoughts with positive. Focuses on good and positive things in a situation that causes stress and it will help you to manage the stress. Whenever you have any negative thoughts, try to stop it. In order to do so, you firstly have to understand about what are the negative thoughts that cause stress. The next time whenever you have that thought try to stop it and replace by positive one.

Positive Self-Talk

            Always use a positive image about yourself and talk about positive things to yourself. When you have a conversation with yourself focus on to use more positive statements and positive words. It will enhance your self-esteem and boost your confidence and you will able to control negative stress causing thoughts.

Reverse Counting

            If you have any stressful situation and you can’t control the urge of negative thoughts and it increase your stress level. Start to count either backward or forward. It will help you to divert your mind from negative thoughts. Through this strategy you can build a control on your thoughts.

Behavioral Coping Strategies

            In this we use behavioral interventions to manage our stress.

Exercise, Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

            You can control you stress by maintain your physical health and by doing exercise. Exercise helps your body to stay active and your mind to stay motivated. During exercise there are some chemicals released in the brain that helps us to focus on things that make us happy and reduce our stress. Deep breathing also helps you to manage stress. When you experience stress try to deep breath, mediate, or do any other relaxation technique. This will help you to overcome your stress and give you strength.

Laughing and Smiling

            Always try to smile and laugh. It is a very useful therapy to release stress. When you physically practice something your cognition also work accordingly. So, when you smile it will boost your energy and you focused on positivity more.

Connect with Family and Friends

            When your stress get worse and you are not able to control it try to engage more with your family and friends. Don’t be shy and feel stupid to tell them about your problems. Share your problems with loved ones and people who care about you. If you don’t have any trustworthy person in your life, then seek professional help. You can’t manage all things by your own.

Time Management

            Managing your time or setting a schedule about things will help you to overcome stress. When you done all your work on time then you don’t face any difficulty or stressful situation.

Sleep Management

            Sleeping is also important. A healthy and peaceful sleep keeps you fresh and active. So you are able to manage stressful situation.

Set Your Priorities

            Always give yourself priority. Do your work first then others. If you don’t feel good to do something say no to that thing. Consider your comfort and happiness as your first priority. It will help you to stay away from stressful situations.

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