Mental Health& Safety Article

STRESS! The silent killer.

Anxiety disorders are often a product of stress. From generalized anxiety disorder to panic disorder, among others. Anxiety inducing moment in your life can be eliminated simply by reducing stress. Stress is normal in daily life no matter who you are, but if you let your stress take control of your life, serious problems will arise. Stress comes from different sources. From daily activities, to closing up assignments, meeting with deadlines, to raising the kids, attending the family issues, to the daily negative news, insecurity issues, upward cost of living, sudden sad news etc. Fortunately, ongoing stress is easy to overcome, but it is important to know the steps to doing so.

Stress is an internal reaction triggers by external factors, like pressure, when demand exceeds available resources. One of the best ways to overcome these is regular exercising which is an example of emotion focused coping strategies. Daily exercise can help you learn to physically deal with stress by improving your tolerance to stress during exercise. During a panic attack, most people feel short of breath and a pounding heart. A hard workout gives you these same experiences, but in a healthy way. As you exercise more and more, you push your body to accept these conditions without panicking.

Getting a good night’s sleep is also very important to reducing stress. Stress can physically wear out a person’s body, and without sleep, you will feel the effects of stress much more readily. This can lead to anxiety disorders very easily. To get enough sleep, make sure that you schedule at least 8 hours for sleeping. Don’t eat or drink lots of sugar or caffeine products before bedtime and try to do relaxing activities in the few hours before bedtime. If necessary, see your doctor for help with sleeping problems.

Another key to reducing stress is to schedule time for non-work related activities i.e. pursuing your hobby. Take vacations or at some days off in order to have fun and relieve yourself of the external sources of stress. Work is a major cause of stress, and with that stress comes worry about finance, health, and many other things. By setting aside specific time to relax and enjoy yourself with loved ones or on your own, you can physically and mentally set aside the stress for at least a few hours. Try to have at least an hour to yourself every day and an entire long weekend every few months to purely enjoy fun activities.

Lastly, work to reduce stress by learning to think a bit differently about life. Some of the most stressed-out people are perfectionists. While this can be a good trait, it can also go too far. Know when to let something go. Also, think positively about your life. When you worry that you aren’t good enough or are upset about little things, they really add up to hurt you. Managing your thought process is just part of the battle, but if you work at reducing stress, you can avoid developing anxiety problems.

When stress and what causes it are not addressed, it leads to anxiety provoking situation, which can aggravate to burnout. Burnout that is not effectively managed can lead to depression. Burnout can also lead to being hostile and violent. If depression is not well handled, it can either lead to a psychotic behavior or suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and finally suicide!

On our next safety article, we shall be learning about two types of positive coping strategies.

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