4 Ways to Overcome Stress

By Alpro Pharmacy

July 14, 2021

What is Stress?

Stress is a natural feeling that the body has when changes occur. People can simply be influenced upon mood, our sense of well-being, health and behaviour. Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional or psychological responses. Stress is a very normal thing in our lives. People can simply experience stress when there is specific events, environment, relationships, work, financial pressures and other situations. Individuals act differently in coping with stress. The response to a stressful event is depends on the way you see a situation and your general physical health. Stress can be positive in some situations such as when your work is hitting the deadline to keep us be alert and motivated. Sometimes, stress response can be an inappropriate reaction. If a person is facing multiple challenges without relaxation or relief, the stress becomes negative. It may harm your health when the stress last for a long time. As a result, the person will overwork, worry about everything and some other stress-related tension actions. Negative stress reaction can affect one’s body internal balance which leads to some physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pain, digestive system slows down, sex drive decreases and sleeping disorders.

What Causes Stress?

  • Work stress

Being under stress is a normal part of life as everyone has different stress triggers. One of the stresses is comes from work. For instance, being unhappy in your job, having too much of responsibility, too long working hours, working under hazardous environment, facing discrimination or harassment at work or not achieving expectations of your work can make people feel stressful.

  • Life stress

Life stresses can also have a big impact. Some examples of life stresses are the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job and financial obligations. The situations that cause stress are known as stressors. Many people usually think that stressors are negative but anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful as well. This includes some positive life events such as getting married, buying a house or receiving a promotion. Most people think that stress is caused by external factors. External factors include major life changes, work or school dilemmas, relationship struggles, financial issues, children and family. However, stress can be also occurred internally such as when you over-worry about something that may or may not happen.

  • Own perception

Moving on, stress can also cause by your own perception. In general, perception is one’s ability to see, hear or become aware of something through the senses. It is based on our beliefs, assumptions and values. Something that is stressful to you does not mean someone else feels the same way too. For example, you are terrified and nervous of giving a speech in front of people but others might be enjoying the spotlight given by the crowd. Another example of a daily hassle would be traffic jam. You might get annoyed in the car because of the delay but someone in the same traffic jam may quietly accept the situation, listening to music and enjoy the ‘me’ time. This is the two different responses for both drivers and these two responses are depend on the perceptions by both individuals. Similarly, you enjoy helping to care for your friends that are in need but your friends may find the demands of your caretaking stressful.

  • Fear and uncertainty

Coming right up, fear and uncertainty can leave you feeling stressed as well. Life is filled with uncertainty as many things remain outside your control and it is all around us. For instance, the current Covid-19 pandemic has heightened uncertainty over the economy which affects human beings’ employment, finances and mental health. Fear and uncertainty can cause you to feel stressed especially because you feel like you have no control over those events. As an example, when you regularly hear about the threat of terrorist attacks even though it is a very rare events, you will still stress out yourself because you feel insecure. Common internal causes of stress include pessimism, inability to accept uncertainty, lack of flexibility, negative thinking, unrealistic expectation and afraid to change.  

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

Stress can be short-term and long-term. Everyone experiences stress differently in different situation. Sometimes you might feel totally fine and able to say it out under stress but other times you might keep going without recognising the signs and symptoms. Stress can affect you both emotionally and physically and it can influence the way you behave. Stress symptoms may be affecting your heath even though you might not realize it. This is because you may think that it is a normal sick or headache but stress can cause you frequent insomnia or decreased productivity at work. It is necessary to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress to help you to manage them. Some common signs of stress include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Memory problems
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dizziness
  • Poor judgement
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Constant worrying
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Moodiness or mood swing
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Headache or pain of any kind
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Chest pain or heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia
  • Nervous habits such as nail biting

Types of Stress

Stress is our natural response to danger but not all types of stress are negative. There are two main types of stress:

  • Acute Stress

Acute stress is a short-term stress that goes away quickly. This is the type of stress that comes on quickly and always unexpectedly but it does not last too long. We actually experience acute stress multiple time throughout the day. Acute stress is experienced as an immediate perceived threat, either physical, emotional or psychological. Acute stress can be easily managed because it happens and then it is over. It is a common form of stress. Acute stress usually occurs when people consider the pressures of events that have recently happened or face upcoming challenges soon. An acute stress occurs due to a particularly stressful event. These events are normally very serious and an acute stress response typically occurs after an unexpected life crisis. For example, stressors like an alarm clock going off, a new task at work or even a phone call interview. Acute stress response is activated by the autonomic nervous system and the body experiences increased levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones that produce an increased heart rate, quickened breathing rate and higher blood pressure.

What are the symptoms of acute stress?

Our body is good at handling episodes of acute stress. Symptoms of acute stress usually develop very quickly over minutes or hours. The symptoms normally will be gone very fast but can sometimes last for several days or week. Symptoms of acute stress response may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Irritability
  • Poor sleeping schedule
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurrent dreams
  • Avoidance of anything that will trigger memories such as people, conversations or other situations that cause distress.
  • Reckless behaviour
  • Very emotional
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive worrying

In acute stress, your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate and levels of muscle tension may skyrocket for a short while. If you are young or healthy and in good condition, these symptoms of stress will quickly return back to their normal levels.

  • Chronic stress

Chronic stress is the response to emotional pressure that suffered for a lengthy period of time in which an individual perceives they have little or no control. If your stress stays activated over a long period of time, it can lead to more serious health problems. It involves the immediate effects such as high blood pressure, heart disease and etc. Our body is not good at dealing with chronic stress. Over time, chronic stress gradually increases your resting heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate and levels of muscle tension therefore it causes our body has to work harder when it is at rest to keep you functioning as usual. In other words, chronic stress creates a new normal inside our body and this new normal can lead us to have health problems. Many factors can trigger chronic stress response which includes dangerous situation and psychological pressures.

What are the symptoms of chronic stress?

Chronic stress affects the whole body. It can cause several physical or psychological symptoms which can also affect on your daily basis functions. Symptoms of chronic stress can include:

  • Extremely irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Rapid thoughts
  • Digestive problems
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feeling helpless
  • Low self-esteem
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Nervousness
  • Frequent illness
  • A perceived loss of control

Chronic stress puts pressure on our body for an extended period. This can cause a number of symptoms and increase the risk of developing certain illness.

4 Ways to Overcome Stress

Stress is part of our lives and it can help motivate ourselves to get things done. Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life such as work, family, relationships and financial problems. We can perform better in a moderate amount of stress but too much stress can lead to physical problems. Here are some simple ways to overcome stress and anxiety.

  • Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat stress. Exercise does not necessarily mean heavy workout at the gym or a marathon. Activities that involve repetitive movements such as a short walk or simply standing up to stretch during a break at work can be particularly stress relieving. People who exercise regularly tend to experience stress lesser than those who don’t exercise. Exercise helps us to lower our body’s stress hormones such as cortisol. It also helps to release endorphins which is the positive feeling in the body that interact with the receptors in our brain that reduce the perception of pain and improve our mood. Besides that, exercise can also improve sleep quality and better sleep means better stress management. People who exercise tend to get better deep sleep that helps renew the brain and body.

  • Eat healthily

Eating healthily with a healthful and balanced diet that contains plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein can help you feel better in general. It may also help to control your moods. Avoid or reduce the use of nicotine and any drinks that contains caffeine and alcohol. Some people used to consume much alcohol whenever they feel stress as they feel stress relieved after they drunk. However, alcohol is a depressant when taken in large amount so using alcohol as a way to relieve stress is inappropriate. Moving on, skipping meals will also can actually increase your stress. A poor diet can lead various illness and additional stress.

  • Take a break

A pack schedule will not help anything but cause stress. Goals and resolutions are good but this may cause stress if you set inappropriate goals which are not dependant on your ability. Taking a break from a stressful situation can help you to perform better for the next task. Restful events such as meditation, yoga, prayer, listening to music and spending time with your love ones can help you to temporarily escape from the stressful reality. Sometimes, you need to set everything aside and make time for your hobbies. It will be effective to relieve stress when you try to something that makes you feel good. 15 to 20 minutes is more than enough to do something you like every day. Relaxing hobbies include reading, knitting, drawing, watching a movie, doing puzzles and etc.

  • Speak out your problems

Sharing your feelings and concerns with family and friends can help you to lower down your stress. This is because stress can influence your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly and also different people have different perspectives so they may be able suggest unexpected and workable solutions to help you with dealing the stress. Talking to someone can distract you from your stressful thoughts and somehow releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it.


In a nutshell, stress has its own advantages and disadvantages. Stress is a common problem in modern life and no one can escape from it. Therefore, people need to learn how to manage stress effectively in order to produce the positive outcomes from stress. If people will handle stress effectively, this can provide a lot of advantages to them. In the other way, if people will not handle stress effectively, this may lead tons of problem to people. Too much stress can weaken your immune system and increase the possibilities of getting physical illness. Everyone should have their own ways to reduce stress. Positive stress can help you perform better in certain situations.

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