Stress: Beginner’s Guide and FAQs

Sustained stress over a prolonged period of time can lead to various health issues and psychological disorders. Here are some easy ways to manage stress in your life.

Stress: Beginner’s Guide and FAQs
A beginner's guide to dealing with stress

Imagine that you suddenly see a snake in your path. The two most common responses to such a perceived threat are either moving away from it (the ‘flight’ response) or pushing the snake away with a stick (the ‘fight’ response).

However, threats are not always physical; they can also be emotional. You could be stressed when there is that little voice in your head that says, “ Something is not right!”, “ It doesn’t feel good”, or “ I need to get away from this.” You might also experience the following signs.

Physiological signs of stress include:

  • Aches and pains
  • Palpitations
  • Change in sleep and appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Emotional/behavioural signs of stress include:

  • Irritability, anger
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling overwhelmed/on edge
  • Losing interest and feeling unmotivated
  • Inability to stay focused
  • Outbursts
  • Irrational racing thoughts
  • Problems with concentration or memory
  • Impaired decision making, feeling of being on the ‘edge’
Effects of Stress
Effects of Stress

Social signs of stress include:

  • Avoidance of social interaction
  • Self-isolation or social withdrawal
  • Fear of being judged
  • Aggression

Also read: Workplace Stress and Depression: Signs, Causes, and Management

Is stress a bad thing?

There is nothing unnatural about stress. In fact, stress has been specifically designed by nature to protect you from danger and threat. It can even be a motivating force. But sometimes, our perception of stressors can become distorted. Our perception of a threat may be out of proportion, or we may be unable to find even obvious solutions to the problem. Your stress starts to become ‘bad’ when it impairs your ability to grow or interferes with your positive experiences.

Try Manah's free emotional wellbeing assessment now!

Why is it important to reduce stress?

Importance of reducing stress
Importance of reducing stress

Think of an elastic band. It can accommodate a certain amount of stretching, but beyond a point, it breaks. In similar fashion, our bodies can also hold stress only for a certain period of time. Sustained stress over a prolonged period of time can lead to various health issues and psychological disorders. They can also start to affect your professional image as well as your relationships.

Also read: How To Prevent Work Stress From Affecting Your Family and Relationships

How can I reduce stress?

You may often find yourself focusing on concerns or factors that can’t be changed (at least in the short term) – such as a difficult coworker or a challenge in your marriage. But focusing on what cannot change only gives you more anxiety and frustration.

Similarly, the future is one thing that is out of our control. And yet, we want to control it or spend time and energy worrying about the future.

If you have been associating your happiness or satisfaction with something you can't change, you will need to find a core value that is under your control and not in the hands of external forces. Then you can actually work on improving things if you fall back and not feel stuck, and you will feel better.

Practice affirmations daily
Practice affirmations daily

Here are a few things you can do to maintain a positive mind space.

1. Try positive affirmations: Focus on what’s strong, and not on what’s wrong. Remind yourself of the good things about yourself and about your life.

2. Seek calm through a fact-check: Ask yourself if what’s bothering you is really in your control. If not, think about something that you can do – something that is really in your control – to make the situation better.

3. Identify the negative and positive influences and engage more with the latter.

4. Use the 3-3-3 grounding technique: Locate 3 things you see, focus on 3 sounds you can hear, and feel 3 parts of your body. This will help you centre yourself by changing your focus from your unpleasant thoughts or feelings to the present.

Also read: Leadership and the Art of Dealing With Stress

Are you an HR or business head, an entrepreneur, or a team leader? If the wellbeing of your team is a priority, Manah can be your go-to partner. Do check out our services:

Wellbeing Ambassador Programme

Wellbeing Assessments for Employees

Employee therapy and counseling

Wellbeing challenges for organisations.

Subscribe to Manah Stories