1. Eustress vs. Distress or How To Turn Stress into Energy

    December 16, 2013

    How To Turn Stress into Energy

    Modern anti-stress techniques urge us to deal with stress, to nip it in the bud and to build a life without it. We are striving to gain well-balanced life and are searching for methods of “defeating stress” to avoid anxiety and depression resulting from too much stress. Yet, we do not take into account one important issue: stress is life itself, you cannot live your life without experiencing stress. What matters is the way you handle stress. The only step we need to take in a stressful situation is to transform stress into energy!

    Stress is one of the most “fashionable” topics. Many scientific papers are devoted to stress. We are discussing stress on TV screens and radio programs. And it is impossible to count how many techniques aiming at fighting with stress have been created recently! Stress is to blame for all our problems and diseases, starting from depression, hair loss and menstrual disruptions ending with unsuccessful relationships and deficiencies in parenting. Stress is a cult that needs to be maintained! But otherwise, we are living in conditions that require us to produce urgent and emergency reactions and decisions, as we know, these decisions and actions become a reason for stress. Do you really believe that our ancestors did not know what stress was? Do you think that only in the age of information technology we are facing this problem?

    In 2009, Canadian scientists examined the remains of the ancient Incas in order to find samples of cortisol (a stress hormone) in hair. The result was unexpected: people living in the 1530-1550 years BC were not just familiar with stress, they lived in conditions of constant stress. Thus, we can’t blame civilization and our informational society for problems caused by stress.

    It’s normal to be nervous!

    Try to avoid stress is the same as avoiding life. Stress is a natural reaction to any psychological or physical effects, causing loss of balance in our organism.

    There are two types of stress:

    Eustress – positive (favorable) stress

    Distress – negative (unfavorable) stress

    Eustress helps us to concentrate and defend ourselves in case of threat or danger. In most cases, eustress positively affects a person: strengthens the immune system, improves physical and emotional endurance, develops abilities for adaptation. However, please note an important point: eustress usually does not last long. In other words, in a stressful situation, the human body, “released” hormone cortisol, mobilized forces, solved the problem and immediately relaxed. This is a kind of training.

    Distress is another thing. It occurs when, despite of all efforts, the problem can’t be solved and the organism can’t relax. The body remains in an extremely tense state. Immune system suffers first leading to further health problems. It is possible to cope with distress only with the assistance of a specialist. But, fortunately, such situations are infrequent in our everyday life. Usually, what we used to call stress is eustress. Therefore, our task is to benefit from it!

    Eustress as a source of energy

    Imagine the situation: a person lives a quiet, even boring life. He doesn’t have to make special efforts to do something. And suddenly he faces a serious problem, for example, he is dismissed. Suddenly he has to survive, thus, a person has to try new areas and things and eventually succeeds. Under stress the body prepares to deal with danger and this generates a huge amount of extra energy. Our task is to “catch”  the moment and send this energy in the right direction. If you learn to manage the specified energy – you can achieve anything you want!

    Dealing with stress

    The logical question is: what to do when you experience stress? First of all let’s see what we are forbidden to do:

    – to get caught in an endless loop of negative situation or rather perception of it as negative;

    – to ignore stress (even a small problem can turn into distress in case you choose to do nothing);

    – suppress stress (the problem remains unresolved, the organism can’t “relax”). This is your sure route to clinical anxiety and depression.

    It is important to understand that stress needs to be managed! Once you find yourself in a difficult situation you have to do something and try to fix it. It is important to act, even if actions do not bring the desired effect. After surviving stress you should help the body to recover and simply relax: at physiological level the muscle tone will go down and excess cortisol will be neutralized.

    5 effective ways to manage stress

    Physical activity. During the stressful situation, and especially after coping with it, you need to give your body the physical activity that will bring a desirable muscle relaxation. If relaxation is not achieved, you cannot come out of the stressful state, even when the danger is left behind. So get used to end any negative situation with physical exercises. After an argument with a colleague, you can go outside and walk briskly. Difficult day can be finished with the training in the gym, etc.

    Breathe! If you are extremely nervous, the wisest decision will be to step aside and make 10 deep breaths. In this situation, an additional dose of oxygen will be useful and  will help to gain relaxation.

    Meditation! Take advantage of the method of meditation excellent for you: audio (listen to music), light (look at the calming color, starry sky, the candle flame) or dance. The main purpose is to stop the flow of negative thoughts. Neuroscientists recently proved that meditation repairs damage to your brain cells and is the best stress recovery tool you have in your disposal.

    Speak! The most ancient method of solving the problem was speaking about it. Talk to a close friend, share the situation on the forum, or just talk to yourself.

    Laugh! Laughter is one of the best remedies against stress, as it accelerates the synthesis of serotonin (the hormone is efficient against stress hormone). Watch a fascinating comedy movie or communicate with a person having a great sense of humor and you will see that the problem is fading away.

    Psychologists claim that stress is not the situation itself, it’s our attitude towards it. In order to successfully fight with negative emotions, you need to work on yourself. Remember, stress is the potential that can lead you to a dizzying success!

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/71038389@N00/3278662048

  2. Learn How To Defeat Stress

    October 5, 2013

    defeat stress by Sam Cleveland

    Stress can get incredibly burdensome. It can affect both your productivity and health. This is why it pays to take control of frustrating situations by training yourself. With good coping skills, you can surely take on seemingly unbearable challenges of the day. Below are practical tips for you to handle pressure, and enjoy more out of life.

    Find the Source of Your Stress

    First, you need to know why, how, and when you feel pressured, so you’ll have a better perspective of yourself.  This can be difficult as there are many factors which disgruntle you. For other situations, the reasons for stress may not be obvious.

    To avoid the confusion, you need to be more attentive on your daily tasks. You may realize how certain deadlines can always put you on the edge. Perhaps heavily reading through documents make you feel drained. A good way to find the sources of your stress is to make a journal. You can plot the days when you mostly experience straining activities, and which times are more relaxed.

    By identifying the culprit scenarios, you can find ways to avoid or control them. If your keyboard is not easy to use, you can have it replaced. When it seems you have too much task to work on, discuss it with your supervisor. In time, you will see the pattern of your stress levels. When you understand how you react in given situations, you can find a way to lighten your load.

    Get an Adequate Amount of Sleep

    Sleep recharges your body after a whole day’s work. Try get to less of it, and you’ll end up feeling lousy the day after. It also doesn’t help if you’re constantly stressed out with irregular sleeping habits. You end up feeling tired and when it’s time for you to finally rest, you’ll have more difficulty to snooze.

    It’s best to sleep for six to eight hours a day. This is the optimum amount of time for your body to rest through the night. You should also rest early, so you won’t feel pressured of dozing off within a scheduled time. If you are having a hard time to get sleepy, try doing a breathing exercise. This helps you lessen the tension in your body as well as the stress hormones in your body are lowered.

    Visit a Health Retreat

    Most people experience lifestyle tensions due to pollution, noise, and other urban environmental factors. You can to recharge your body by taking a trip to a health retreat centre. This venue is not just a resort for you to go to on vacation. It’s specifically made to make sure you establish a healthy state of mind.

    Most health retreats consist of specialised facilities such as day spas, heated pools, and dance studios for yoga sessions. They can even be located in mountainous areas, so visitors could engage in mountain trekking, hiking, or other physically enriching activities. Health retreats also serve nutrient-packed dishes. All in all, the activities, facilities, and food selections help to detoxify your body. When you get home, you’ll be more ready to fight another batch of stress-related challenges.

    Organize your life

    Clutter in your office, home, and even your car can mentally influence you. It shows disorder, and these would make you feel even more stressed out. You’ll end up thinking of a schedule to get your place in order. You might often feel out of focus in your daily work task because of the mess. Important items such as the keys to your car might be lost in the shuffle. Organising your desk, the rooms of your house, and everything else you see in your life can benefit you. It can give you a clear mental state which aids you to combat stress.

    To have a healthy state of mind, remember to be active and organize. You should also consider a trip outside the city to help you in lowering your stress levels.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chaparral/730400293