blog | 5min Read
Published on June 30, 2022
Did you know that there are two types of stress but that only one of them is negative? If yes, do you know how to manage this stress? If the answer is no for the latter or for both, do not worry, we have got you!
There are essentially 2 types of stress – Eustress and Distress, the former being positive stress that boosts performance and the latter being negative stress that hinders and deteriorates performance. It is this ‘distress’ that we need to manage.
First, it is important to know what not to do when dealing with stress. Many high school and college students often indulge in activities such as smoking, drinking and so on, thinking that their stress will go away; however, not only are they temporary fixes for stress but also cause long term health consequences. These are a few of the many ineffective ways of dealing with stress that you should avoid –
1. Having a pessimistic attitude– focusing only on the negatives and failing to see the stressful situation from another perspective will only cause more stress and the feeling of helplessness will slowly arise. It is so important to be kind to yourself and try to find the positives and a way out rather than dwelling on the negative.
2. Ignoring the problem– once in a while, it is okay to forget about your stress and watch a movie or sleep to avoid it, I used to do it all the time. However, I have started to realise that consistently avoiding our stress and putting it off is not helpful at all. It only adds to the existing stress and it really helps to get a plan of action in place instead of ignoring it. To do this you could make a to-do list, create a schedule for yourself if it is schoolwork related stress, or confront the source of your stress. These solutions will be further elaborated in the “5 Do’s” section.
3. Smoking, drinking, and other vices– I have seen my friends fall into the vicious cycle of using drinking, smoking, and other vices to deal with stress. This is bound to build up stress once the ‘high’ achieved from these activities wears off. Moreover, all of these will harm your body and in doing that, your ability to deal with the stress will reduce further.
4. Pushing people away– Talking to people and asking for help is important; if not in the early stages of the stress, at least in the later stages when it gets out of hand and difficult to deal with alone. I have made this mistake before and it was not beneficial for me. Pushing the people who are willing to help you is not effective. Keep them around!
5. Eating the stress away– I could be the epitome of eating junk food as a coping mechanism for stress (and for foodies like me, high calorie and high sugar comfort foods have always served as a go-to solution for everything.) However, over time your body starts associating negative feelings, which arise out of distress, with food. Any time you feel these negative emotions, you will find food before even trying to solve the problem and deal with your emotions. Moreover, overeating will cause weight gain and further mental health and body issues.
Now, let us look at some of the effective ways to deal with stress:
1. Exercise– Not only is exercise good for our bodies, physical fitness and immunity system but also releases happy hormones called endorphins. These elevate our mood and help us cope with the negative emotions that arise out of stress.
2. Sleep– Getting the right amount of sleep – at least 8 hours – helps us feel rested, improves our mood, and increases our cognition. This in turn helps us find solutions to deal with stressful situations quicker. However, sleeping for extended periods to avoid your problems can actually cause lethargy which causes the body to go into a slump. This in turn hinders our ability to cope with stress. It is, thus, necessary to get 7-9 hours of sleep; not less, not more either.
3. Problem-focused coping- This is the method of coping wherein you directly try to overcome the stress inducing situation by acting on the stressor or the individual causing the stress. So if your exam is giving you stress, to overcome that, you attend all the classes, take up doubts with your teacher, make a schedule to study efficiently, spend more hours studying etc. If a person is the cause of your stress, you can directly confront them and speak to them about the problem.
4. Emotion-focused coping- While problem-focused coping is more likely to be used effectively in instances where you think the stressor can be modified in order to overcome it, emotion-focused coping is when you think the stressor is beyond your control. This method is more about taking charge of your emotions and amending the negative feelings that may be arising due to the stressor. One can start by being more positive, practising relaxation techniques, and reaching out for help. Talking to others, seeking social support or taking time away from social media can be very helpful. In the past, I have chosen self-isolation and taking a break from my phone as methods of dealing with my stress. While the latter worked wonders for me, self- isolation was not as beneficial. This is because when I told a third person, the advice and tips they gave brought in a fresh and positive perspective that I could not have reached alone because of my stressed-out state.
5. Meditation- 15-20 minutes of meditation every day will help calm your mind and relax your body which helps release stress (honestly, I thought I would fall asleep while meditating, but it was actually really relaxing and it was a real stress buster).
For delving deeper into the world of stress, causes, effects, its management etc you can have a look at this link. The image below is taken from there which highlights a few apps that can help with stress management.
P.S. Do not forget to ask for help, reach out to counsellors and go for therapy if needed! Feel free to even email us with your problems; our inboxes are always open!