So, what is chronic stress? The definition of chronic stress is as follows:
“the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period over which an individual perceives he or she has no control. It involves an endocrine system response in which occurs a release of corticosteroids. While the immediate effects of stress hormones are beneficial in a particular situation, long-term exposure to stress creates a high level of these hormones that remains constant. This may lead to high blood pressure, damage to muscle tissue, inhibition of growth, suppression of the immune system, and damage to mental health.”2
Interestingly, many people don’t understand that it isn’t the actual event or stressor that causes health problems, but rather our response to these stressors.
This is where stress management techniques come into play. By using these techniques, we create a protective barrier around ourselves which allows us to respond more appropriately when we enter a stressful situation.
So, what are these techniques?
Well they come in all shapes and sizes! What works for one person, may not work for someone else. For example, some of us find that tai chi, or a restorative yoga session helps to quiet the mind and restore a feeling of balance. For others, this slow movement can actually increase feelings of stress. For these individuals they may prefer hitting a punching bag, sprinting or other fast paced explosive movements.
As a caveat to this, what constitutes as a stressor can change day to day and person to person. For someone who is suffering from lack of sleep, has a busy homelife and a demanding job, may increase their stress by participating in high-intensity exercise. 3
While someone else (or even the same person during a different time in their life) may thrive with participation in high-intensity exercise. Therefore, it’s important that we listen to our body and adjust our actions accordingly, especially when it comes to exercise.
Other stress management activities may include:
Talk it Out – Human Connection
You can also visit Positive Psychology where they outline additional stress management techniques.
What activities have you incorporated that you have found particularly helpful in managing your own stress? Share with us in the comments!
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