In simple terminology, stress is a feeling induced in an individual when they are feeling overwhelmed and struggling to deal with demands associated with anything ranging from work to relationships to finance to basically anything that is professed as a challenge or a threat to someone’s comfort and health.
A situation that initiates a specific biological reaction, stress is the result of an array of hormones and chemicals rushing throughout the body in response to an intimidating situation. It instigates the fight-or-flight mechanism that enables a person to react when in danger.
A survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that the average level of stress reported in the US exhibited a rise from 4.9 to 5.1 on a scale of 1 to 10 in 2015. The main causes reported in the survey were employment and subsequent financial concerns.
According to the Regus Group, 6 out of 10 workers in major world economies are prone to experiencing workplace stress with China reporting the sharpest spike in high workplace stress levels: a staggering 86%.
Stress is the result of multiple causes and can present itself in a variety of symptoms ranging from emotional to physical to cognitive to behavioral changes. It is capable of affecting all aspects of your life leaving no part of your body immune to it.
There is no way to categorize stress symptoms because they are generally quite vague which is why it is particularly crucial that one discusses their peculiar symptoms with a professional. Common symptoms in people dealing with stress over a prolonged period of time include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Pain of any kind
- Sleep problems
- Autoimmune diseases
- Digestive problems
- Skin conditions, such as rashes and eczema
- Heart disease
- Weight problems
- Reproductive issues
- Thinking and memory problems
Types Of Stress
Stress can be categorized into 3 main types, namely acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic stress.
A rather common feeling experienced by everyone that instigates an immediate reaction to a difficult situation. These are not harmful but in fact help a person develop a good response to future stressful encounters.
Acute Episodic Stress:
When a person experiences frequent episodes of acute stress, he or she is said to have acute episodic stress. Often found in people with anxiety or people with high-stress jobs such as lawyers, doctors, firefighters, etc.
High-stress levels spanning over a prolonged period of time is termed as chronic stress that is also the most damaging to one’s overall health as it contributes to anxiety, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, decreased immunity and depression. If you think you’re going through any mental health issues, read through a few brain test reviews online and get yourself checked out immediately.
Dealing With Stress
More than just treatment, stress is something that must be managed. Dealing with stress is a gradual coping mechanism that takes time to strengthen. Stress management can start small. Some basic ways include:
- Adopting a healthy diet
- A good 7 to 8 hour sleep schedule
- Routine exercise
- Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake
- Interacting and socializing with others to initiate healthy conversation and have an outlet
- Self-care and relaxation
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Acknowledging the signs of the changes you are experiencing within you
- Finding a de-stressor that always works with calming you down
- Support network establishment to help others as well
Stress Management Using mHealth
In addition to seeking help for stress management via counseling, exercise or meditation, mHealth apps are becoming increasingly popular to help battle stress as well as other psychological distress and disorders.
Smartphones and tablets are the ideal platforms for providing a person with unlimited access to stress therapy, meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation therapy, and mindfulness.
There are multiple apps available at present that are low priced yet provide its users with new updated functions that come with a fully assimilated self-management system that possesses extra features such as online support groups, professional online assistance, etc.
Following is a list of apps that are designed to help an individual cope with stress and other situations that are causing them distress.
A simple meditation guide perfect for all levels that can help improve your focus, reduce stress, relieve anxiety as well as exercise mindfulness. From basic starter kits to advanced level meditation, Headspace has it all.
Just as the name suggests, Calm is an app designed to invoke a feeling of relaxation and calm within you. Featuring meditation programs as well as soothing background sounds, Calm is perfect for those who struggle with stress and anxiety.
Equipped with holistic tools to aid your anxiety by following a rather simple system that asks of you to keep track of daily activities and relating them to how they impact your stress levels. Simply recording your thoughts and actions on a daily basis will help you to figure out your strengths, weaknesses and coping mechanisms.
An app designed to help one feel happier, Happify works through mindfulness, positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy.
The perfect tool to help relaxation is breathing and Breathe2Relax does just that by helping one track his or her breathing whilst simultaneously helping you focus and relieve stress.
This app helps you build a daily mindfulness practice into your life by taking only a few minutes of your time by providing short mindful lessons to help you distress, unwind and rejuvenate.
Personal Zen (iOS):
What is the best way to keep someone engaged? Games. This app helps reduce stress with games that help reduce stress and general anxiety.
The easiest and most accessible way to do yoga from the comfort of your home without paying a hefty amount, Daily Yoga is equipped with easy yoga video tutorials along with advice and instructions about how to do yoga.
An app that helps one relax using colors and patterns.
An app targeted towards the younger population, this app is like a personal counselor for many to help with anxiety.
Everyone has a different response to different situations that induces the feeling of stress within them. However, triggers vary depending on the situation a person is in.
Short-term stress is said to be rather beneficial as it prepares an individual to act well under difficult situations. Long-term stress, on the other hand, is something that our bodies are not designed to deal with.
When under multiple stresses at a given time, it can have a massive toll on a person’s mental as well as physical well-being. Use these apps to help you stay calm and cope with stress better.