Your stress is a natural reaction and is useful in moderate amounts. It prepares you to fight or flee so that you can survive and adjust in a changing reality.
Stress can be harmful if it is too strong, too long or too weak and causes:
- 70-80% of all diseases;
- long-term disability among the most competent employees;
- impairment in quality of life;
- depression, which is nowadays the 2nd leading cause of death.
You can discharge your stress by:
- physical action (“fight or flight”);
- changing the situation;
- answering the questions that have been torturing you;
- changing your expectations and strategy of behavior.
What causes stress?
The event itself does not always determine the strength and length of stress. Often the source of stress is the value that you attribute to the event. For example, for someone shopping is joy, for others - irritation, and there are some who just do not care.
Moreover, the imaginary stressor (e.g., the anticipation of a kiss ) may cause the same (if not stronger!) response than the real event (the kiss).
What is the best way to make stress chronic?
The public perceives “fleeing” as a weakness and “fight” as a threat to others. So the one who is stressed feels guilty for those impulses and tends to suppress them and to ignore conflicts behind them. But such suppression results in ongoing mental “re-playing” of stressful events and accumulation of pressure.
The stress of stress management
Stress management may increase stress by:
1. considering it to be harmful. But if so, by experiencing stress one will be frightened or angry. This is a great way to build more stress and to make it last longer.
2. giving unrealistic expectations ("to beat stress," "to manage stress") that will sooner or later bring disappointment.
3. being too difficult to apply in practice: You can know everything, but forget to use it, when emotions overwhelm your mind. It's even more frustrating: "I knew how to, but...!"