How do you deal with a stressful life

Stress!!! Causes, Symptoms + Tips How To Cope With It

Not a day without stress. A large number of employees regularly suffer from stress at work or in their private life. Anyone who only rushes from A to B, no longer knows where his head is because of all the tasks and feels the negative consequences of the ongoing hectic, should urgently reduce stress.

Unfortunately, stress often becomes a constant companion - and is the main cause of mental illness. Many employees complain of typical symptoms that can be triggered by a stressful everyday life. These include headaches, palpitations or sleep disorders. So that you can do something about it, we explain the causes behind the stress, how it works in your body and what you really should know in order to be able to reduce stress ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

What are the causes of stress?

Surveys show that more than half of Germans find their own life stressful. Anyone who thinks that they are primarily managers, executives or other employees is very wrong. Stress is not a question of age, job, or current employment. Stress arises everywhere. Children and adolescents experience stress at school, students at university, adults at work - regardless of position or hierarchy; We feel the increasing pressure in the office as well as in our free time, in sports, in traffic jams, with friends, in marriage and during sex. However, the causes are also overstimulation and decreasing social contacts: When working hours increase, they become scarcer for friends and family. Most workers cite the following as the main causes of the increasing pressure:

Permanent availability

The mobile phone and also the e-mail inbox do not rest even in the evening. There are always friends or colleagues who have a question that urgently needs to be answered. Something is always. It is hardly possible to switch off, people can hardly relax and have no time to relax or recharge their batteries.

High demands

Many employers literally demand everything from their employees. An enormous workload and the increasing intensification of work as well as increasing demands of the supervisor put many employees under enormous pressure. Added to this is the stress that your own expectations of yourself bring with it.

Constant deadline pressure

Some deadline is always imminent and when this is done, the next one is already waiting. This time pressure is also a psychological burden for many employees, who are always afraid of not being able to complete their tasks within the given time frame. To make matters worse, everything has to get faster and faster these days. Nobody can wait for an answer, everything has to happen immediately. That creates enormous stress.

Bad compatibility

Balancing one's job and family is a big problem for many workers. In addition to a full-time job, there is often not enough time to meet all wishes and expectations. The double burden heats up the existing work stress again.

In addition, other causes can lead to stress:

➠ Health problems
➠ quarrel and anger
➠ Financial burdens
➠ Unachieved goals
➠ Constant interruptions
➠ Bad working conditions
➠ Lack of feedback
➠ High volume of work
➠ Unclear tasks
➠ No recognition

Stress symptoms

Many get sick from it, because tress begins in the head. Especially those who constantly work against their motivation, torture themselves to work and have to cope with tasks that they no longer enjoy, who feel how the stress gnaws at their soul and then at their health. The physical reactions and symptoms of stress are:

A headache: The overload, constant brooding and muscle tension make for painful hammering or throbbing.

Concentration problems: If you always think about working on different construction sites at the same time, you cannot focus on any of them.

Insomnia: Many employees not only take their problems home with them, but also to bed with them and then can't sleep at night.

Cardiovascular diseases: The constantly increased blood pressure caused by the stress hormones damages the blood vessels and increases the risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Burnout: Those who cannot reduce their stress level in the long term also have a greatly increased risk of burnout. The physical and emotional exhaustion can go hand in hand with other serious mental illnesses such as depression.

Since everyone reacts differently to stress, there are many more symptoms and consequences that can be attributed to stress:

➠ loss of appetite
➠ gastrointestinal problems
➠ irritability
➠ inner restlessness
➠ fatigue
➠ exhaustion
➠ Sexual aversion
➠ erectile dysfunction
➠ anxiety
➠ Persistent dissatisfaction
➠ feeling helpless

This is how stress works in the body

Stress works like a drug: if you stay in contact with it for a long time, it is difficult to come down again. However, what happens in the body during stress is still unknown to many. Understanding is the first step in dealing with stress better and reducing stress in the future. It is important to note that stress is originally the human body's reaction to potential dangers. Even our ancestors reacted in a very similar way - physically speaking. To this day, the processes in the body are based on the fight and flight instinct. This is exactly what happens in the body when the stress level increases:

1. Stress Triggers

Alarm! The stress level increases. This brings the body up to speed within seconds. First, the brain activates the autonomic nervous system and thus the two nerve strands of the sympathetic (fight / flight) and the parasympathetic (recovery / digestion), which control all organs in the body.

2. Readiness

The sympathetic nervous system notifies the adrenal glands. The messenger substance (also called neurotransmitter) adrenaline is then released in the adrenal medulla; At the same time, noradrenaline is released into the blood from the nerve endings of the sympathetic nervous system within milliseconds. Both neurotransmitters are distributed in the body in a flash. This accelerates all processes: the heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, the muscles are optimally supplied with oxygen and tense up. At the same time, the flow of saliva is reduced via the adrenaline. That's why you literally get rid of your spit even under stress. Sugar and fat reserves are also mobilized in the body. The brain is wide awake: thinking power and decision-making speed increase enormously. Stress also causes the pupils to dilate to absorb more light. The blood is diverted to the internal organs, hands and feet are often cold under stress. All of this signals a willingness to fight or flee.

3. Resistance

The stress hormone axis is also activated, which, however, reacts to stress with a delay compared to the sympathetic nervous system. The neurotransmitter CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) is released in the hypothalamus, a region in the diencephalon. The CRH stimulates the pituitary gland - the body's hormonal center. This releases the hormone ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) into the blood. The ACTH reaches the adrenal gland via the blood and triggers the release of cortisol. The cortisol also mobilizes the glucose and fat reserves. At the same time, it lowers the sensitivity to pain, can suppress the immune system, but accelerates blood clotting - if there are wounds.

4. Exhaustion

As soon as the danger is averted, the body takes countermeasures to find its way back to calm: The neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline are broken down again as quickly as possible. The cortisol itself inhibits its own secretion. It uses negative feedback to curb the further production of CRH and ACTH. The stress level goes down again. We'll soon be reacting normally. In the following graphic we have put together again clearly how stress affects the body.

All of this is initially a completely natural process - conceived to protect us from danger. If these functions work naturally, there is no physical harm at all. After all, we even experience stress when we are happy, fall in love or kiss. It only becomes problematic when stress becomes a permanent condition. The human body is not designed to run under high voltage for long periods of time. To prevent this from happening, it is extremely important that you relieve stress before it becomes a problem.

reduce stress

People can handle stress differently. Some bloom first, only seem capable of top performance under stress and use the tension successfully. Others falter, make mistakes and suffer from the stress even under slight stress. With increasing stress, however, everyone comes to a point where they urgently need to reduce stress. Therefore, if you find yourself in an acute stressful situation, you should react and not wait until it becomes too much for you. The following tips can work as an immediate relief when you need to relieve stress in the short term:

  • Get some exercise
    If the stress level increases, one thing often helps: exercise. The physical reaction originally set the human being to flee or attack. Both are active responses. Exercise then helps to release the pent-up pressure and reduce stress. It may be enough to take a walk around the block or, if there is no other option, to move around the office for at least a few minutes.
  • Take a break
    Sounds self-explanatory, but is done far too rarely. In stressful situations, most of them plunge deeper into work, step up a gear and want to work their way out of the stress. This usually increases the pressure, the body has to work a lot harder and you go far beyond your limits. It is better if you take a break, forget the stress at least for a short time and give your body the opportunity to regulate its functions again.
  • Talk about it
    Talking helps. What the vernacular has known for a long time has now also been scientifically proven: whether about problems in the project, anger at home or general frustration in the office - pronunciation not only makes the soul easier, it also improves the mood in the long term. As soon as we name something depressing and discuss it with others, the brain is activated much more strongly than when we brood over the grief alone. This in turn means that the negative emotions subside faster and are processed more quickly and better. The prerequisite for the stress-reducing effect, however, is that both interlocutors show a comparable emotional reaction to the situation. Or to put it another way: if the self-doubter speaks to the cool dog, it doesn't work.
  • Use a stress ball
    Squeezing, squeezing, pressing - there is a magic bullet for acute stress: the stress ball. It is pushed around until either the fingers go numb or the stress subsides. But does it really work? "Yes," says sports psychologist Jürgen Beckmann from the Technical University of Munich, who has examined this in more detail - with soccer players, basketball players, volleyball players and martial artists. If the athletes squeezed a stress ball before the competition, the performance improved noticeably and the error rate decreased. Choosing the right hand for this is not unimportant, says Beckmann. Right-handed people in particular should choose their left hand (and if you don't have a stress ball, just squeeze your hand a few times).
  • Smile a lot
    You may not feel like smiling while under great stress - but you should. Even if you smile for no reason, it creates the same physical responses as if you put on a really happy smile. In other words: happiness hormones are released, you immediately feel better and happier, you no longer care too much about stress.
  • Use relaxation techniques
    There are numerous relaxation exercises and different techniques that you can use to relieve stress. Try different alternatives and find a relaxation technique that works for you. Even short breathing exercises can noticeably reduce the perceived stress within a few minutes.

Stages of the stress light

In order to find a personal solution for dealing with stress individually, Gert Kaluza has developed the so-called stress traffic light. Basically, it is nothing more than an analysis in three phases, each accompanied by a guiding principle:

1. Stressors

Guiding principle: I get stressed when ...

The basic question is: what exactly is causing you stress? So it's not about serving general prejudices, but rather looking for specific triggers in your personal environment, especially at work. Do you feel stressed when you have too much work to do, when deadlines are getting closer or when there are disagreements with colleagues? For many, it is helpful to write down these stressors and keep them in mind. This is the best way to know for yourself at which moments the stress is particularly great.

2. Stress enhancers

Guiding principle: I put myself under stress by ...

If the first phase is about observation, the second level of the traffic light leads deeper and requires critical self-reflection. In addition to the external circumstances, it is often your own attitudes and thoughts that lead to even more stress. It is precisely this that needs to be found. A particularly strong stress intensifier is perfectionism, for example, as you put yourself under enormous pressure to always work flawlessly and not offend anywhere. Kaluza also names impatience or the constant striving for control as classic stress intensifiers.

3. Stress reactions

Guiding principle: When I'm under stress, then ...

Stress affects everyone differently and it is precisely these individual stress reactions that one should be aware of. Many react emotionally, for example through fear, but also through stress-induced aggression towards other people. Suddenly you're just annoyed by everyone and let the others feel it too. Others try to manage the stress by rushing to work and getting results as quickly as possible. Physical reactions to stress are also possible, for example in the form of headaches or abdominal pain.

avoid stress

In addition to the tips against acute stress, there are a few recommendations that you can use to prevent a stressful everyday life in general. It starts with the right attitude. Always remember: you are not helpless in the face of stress and circumstances. You can always do something and it is up to you to reduce a high level of stress yourself. The following advice can help you make your work day less stressful and protect yourself from excessive stress:

  • gratitude
    With all the striving for professional, material and personal success, there is no more time for gratitude. It is important not only to strive for more, but also to appreciate what you already have. Health, family, friends, job - there are many reasons for gratitude. Additionally, researchers found that grateful people are healthier and happier.
  • optimism
    Always having your head full of worry and always expecting the worst result inevitably leads to stress. Pessimists in particular develop stress before the actual stressor can even appear. On the other hand, if you look to the future with optimism, you will not only lower your stress level, but you will also find that tasks are easier for you.
  • patience
    Restlessness and hectic pace create stress. Slow down your day and your soul will thank you. A good way is to actively train yourself not to be constantly rushed, but to be patient. This applies to work as well as private life. Plan enough time for tasks and breaks, organize a shopping trip with good friends or treat yourself to a long walk - give yourself time for things. Everything does not always have to be done quickly.
  • preparation
    This advice seems obvious at first glance, but very few take it to heart. Stress often arises in situations that arise unexpectedly or that we feel unable to cope with. With good preparation, you can eliminate these stressors. For example, if you have to give an important presentation to a large client, you will feel less stress if you have been able to practice and study it sufficiently.
  • satisfaction
    Higher, faster, further - in a performance society these are often the criteria that employees use to plan their careers. But this claim is also the reason for the high self-imposed pressure. But if you recognize that there are things that you cannot influence personally, you will be able to take some of the pressure off yourself. Sometimes you have to be content with things that you can't change.
  • nutrition
    “You are what you eat” - that also counts in times of stress. Eating a bratwurst from the chip shop in five minutes at lunchtime will certainly not have a positive effect on your stress level. The diet can be a great addition to make the day more relaxed. In this PDF we have summarized for you which foods are particularly suitable for this.
  • end of working day
    And that means: a real end of the day! No business phone calls, no checking emails and no tasks to take home. Leave work where it belongs - at work. Just switch off and do the things that are good for you instead. Read a good book, spend an evening with friends or visit family. Things that are good for you are real stress killers.

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