Stress relief: 12 symptoms & 6 tips for stress management
Stress can be very burdensome. Whether private or professional – many people suffer from permanent stress. We tell you about the symptoms of stress and show you how stress relief works.
Rushing from one meeting to the next, getting your child to kindergarten on time, shopping quickly before the supermarket closes – you may know these stressful situations all too well. In the long run, however, you should reduce your stress level.
What stress is
Stress is a natural reaction of the body, which was already known to prehistoric man.
At that time, stress hormones such as adrenaline ensured that humans could prove themselves in a possible fight or escape situation. Stress was essential for survival.
It is therefore not a modern phenomenon, although chronic stress is occurring in more and more people today. This is also where the difference lies.
While stressful situations used to subside after a short time, people today are often exposed to stress on a permanent basis.
The reasons for this are, for example, professional pressure and constant overstimulation. Recovery phases, on the other hand, often come too short.
The two types of stress
According to the physician Dr. Hans Selye, stress can be divided into two types. While one form tends to have a positive connotation, the other can bring significant consequences.
Eustress is also called the original stress. Here, the stress phase is relatively short and is usually accompanied by a relaxation phase.
By working toward a goal and with the end of the stress phase in sight, it seems as if one is actively working toward the relaxation phase. This form of stress is actually positive and can spur peak performance.
Distress is a modern form of stress, in which the stress phases are much longer than in the original stress.
Often there is no goal and no prospect of a relaxation phase. This makes it seem as if there is no escape from stress.
Those affected are usually in a very negative mood and feel that their situation is hopeless. They feel that they cannot actively combat the stress and are overwhelmed. These people are often affected by both work and leisure stress.
Stress can arise anywhere. Since one and the same situation is evaluated differently by different people, in principle any situation can be stressful. Various factors come into play.
Stress is always a mixture of external and internal factors, the stressors, which are made up of the individual evaluation of a situation and the actual circumstances.
For example, if a person does not feel able to cope with a situation or is even forced into it, the stress level is very high. If, on the other hand, he voluntarily enters the same situation, the stress level is lower, because the circumstances are evaluated much more positively.
Symptoms of Stress: How stress manifests
Stress has a great effect on the body and mind. This can be both positive and negative. In particular, distress, the lasting stress, affects physical and mental health and can bring some serious symptoms.
Exactly how stress manifests itself can vary greatly from person to person.
Stress can psychosomatically manifest itself, bringing with it some physical symptoms and promoting illness.
Many people do not know that their ailments are favored by stress. However, these can also have completely different causes. The various symptoms should therefore be discussed with a doctor. Stress symptoms include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Cardiovascular complaints
- Muscle cramps and tension
- Concentration problems
- Sexual problems
Psychologically, stress can also manifest itself through some symptoms and severely affect the quality of life of those affected. If many physical and psychological symptoms coincide, this can sometimes be very stressful for those affected.
Stress is one of the main causes of burnout and should therefore not be taken lightly. Other symptoms include:
- Internal agitation
- Aggressive behavior
- Feeling helpless
Stress management: here’s how to relieve stress
Perhaps you already know that stress is a burden. Some people cope better with it, others less so. If numerous symptoms of stress appear, it is better to pull the emergency brake and take care of stress management.
However, you should make sure that you do not resort to unhealthy means. Some people turn to cigarettes and alcohol in stressful situations. If this happens regularly, there is a risk of becoming addicted.
There are many healthy alternatives that you should consider instead to better cope with stress. We have compiled the best ones for you.
Stress relief is a matter of attitude
Stress has a lot to do with your attitude towards a certain event. If the attitude is negative, the stress level is relatively high. So you can reduce it if you approach some situation more positively.
Often characteristics like perfectionism are the reason for a negative attitude and thus the trigger for stress. Many people also approach a matter in a very negative way. If you try to be optimistic and more self-aware, you can avoid and reduce stress.
To do this, you can follow four steps:
- Determine negative attitude: Before you can reduce stress, you should first determine the attitude that causes stress in you. What did you fear when you felt stressed? Are you afraid of not meeting the demands? Try to put the cause of stress into words and thus call it to your consciousness.
- Compare with reality: If you have identified the problematic attitude, you should compare it with reality. In doing so, be critical and honest with yourself. Is the situation really as problematic as you assess it?
- Loosen up attitude: To loosen up and change the negative attitude, you can now try to formulate it differently and more positively. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t make mistakes, tell yourself that mistakes are something natural and you can learn from them. Affirmations are also good for a more positive attitude.
- Change Behavior: Finally, you can try to change your behavior with the help of your positive attitude. Try to act more positively and keep track of your successes. A diary is suitable for this. Write down every day what was good that day. So you feel more gratitude and can see positive changes in your behavior.
Time management for stress reduction: organization is everything
To avoid stressful situations, it’s beneficial to have your day carefully planned out beforehand.
Being organized and keeping track of your appointments can lower your stress levels by quite a bit.
Time management is an important factor here. Set your main tasks each day and divide them into set blocks of work. Plan these around set meal and break times.
You’ll be most effective if you take a few minutes break after every hour and vary your tasks several times during the day.
However, don’t focus too much on this schedule and the set times. That can create even more stress. The schedule is only meant to be a rough guide. So if you need a few minutes longer for a work area, you should remain calm.
A healthy work-life balance is essential to relieve stress. For many people, their jobs are very stressful. They are often consistently tense during this time. To turn this tension into relaxation, leisure time is of great importance.
It should provide a balance so that the mind and body can regain their composure. That’s why it’s important to have a life outside of work, for example to meet friends and pursue hobbies.
However, you should make sure that these activities do not turn into leisure time stress. Therefore, also allow yourself free evenings where you have time for yourself and can relax.
Relaxation techniques for stress management
Techniques for relaxation can help you better manage stress and strain. If you use them regularly, they can provide lasting resilience and balance.
There are many different techniques and exercises you can use to be more relaxed. Many techniques can be easily integrated into everyday life, take little time and can be used anywhere.
These include, for example, Jacobsen’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation, which is based on alternately tensing and relaxing individual muscle parts.
Meditation and Autogenic training are also good for relaxation, although these techniques require more practice. Breathing also has a strong effect on your stress level. You can use various breathing exercises to influence how you feel about stress and have a calming effect on yourself.
Stress management in everyday life
In addition to regular relaxation, a few little tricks can also help lower your stress level in everyday life.
These often take just a few seconds and no practice at all to make you feel better and manage stress better. Try incorporating some of these into your daily routine.
- Nature: Nature has a calming effect on humans. Therefore, try to spend a little time in nature every day. If you just have a stressful moment at work, it already helps if you look out the window for a few minutes. Even a nature photo can already have a calming effect.
- Laugh: When you’re stressed, it’s time to laugh with all your heart. A laugh or smile releases happiness hormones and gives you a positive feeling. If you don’t feel like laughing right now, try an artificial laugh. Even that can help you relax.
- Celery chew: Chewing has been shown to lower stress hormones. In addition to chewing gum, celery sticks are particularly suitable for this. These also contain the active ingredient apigenin, which has a calming effect.
- Warmth: Heat can not only relieve tension, but also have a positive effect on your stress level. Just washing your hands under lukewarm water will hit your relaxation nerve and you will be more balanced.
- Exercise: Exercise and sports are essential to reduce stress. Especially meditative sports and endurance sports are suitable to get a clear head and switch off. However, do not overexert yourself. This only means additional stress for your body.
- Switch off smartphone: The smartphone ensures that you are constantly accessible. This can be stressful, especially after work. Therefore, turn off your smartphone when you are at home after work. Also try to stop looking at your smartphone before going to bed. Digital Detox can take stress out of your everyday life.
Stress management at work
For many people, the biggest stressor is their job. That’s why you should ensure a stress-free and relaxed atmosphere, especially here.
This starts with furnishing your office or desk in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Hang pictures and put plants in your office. Both have a calming effect and create a pleasant atmosphere.
If you’re going through a particularly stressful time, make sure you take enough breaks. These not only provide a bit of relaxation, but also help you to concentrate better.
You can use the breaks to read a good book, for example. A few minutes can be enough to calm you down and take your mind off things.
Overwork is also often a stress factor at work. Learn to say "no" once in a while. You don’t always have to step in when someone asks you to. Of course it’s nice if you want to help, but make sure that you can really fit it in with your other appointments.