How to live under stress
What is stress?
Life without stress is impossible. Moreover, stress is a great driving force that makes us grow. Thanks to him, the formation of new neural connections in the brain occurs, valuable experience is formed and a person adapts to new conditions. Therefore, the idiot who cut you on the road, or the superior perfectionist should be perceived as part of the developing brain environment and treat what is happening with a reasonable amount of complacency. A new job that promises professional and financial growth, although it makes one worry, should be taken as a gift from heaven. This is “good” stress, which makes the brain work hard, but does not bear the risk of burnout, failure of all body systems. Its result is the emergence of new skills, increased self-confidence, the expansion of adaptive capabilities.
Another thing, when stress knocks out of a rut. A loan that takes up more than half of the income. Death of a loved one. A serious illness that requires a revision of the usual way of life and imposes a lot of restrictions. Such events force the body to go into "emergency mode".About adaptation there is no question - would survive. The body starts a chain of reactions that are not useful in the long term, but help to survive here and now. The level of the hormone cortisol in the blood rises. Changing appetite: either increases, there is a craving for sweet and fatty foods; either almost disappears, and the piece does not creep into the throat. Blood pressure is increasing. Mood is changing. An alarm appears. It is either constantly present, or rolling in waves of panic. Chronic diseases can become aggravated and new ones may appear.
It is important to understand that the division of stress into “good” and “bad” is conditional. For example, the birth of a child is clearly a positive event, which should give a unique experience. However, with a high level of anxiety, parenthood can turn into an eternity-long hell. And “good” stress becomes “bad.”
Many of us are forced to exist in a state of great stress. And there is no way to change the situation; you can only change yourself. Good news: healthy people with stable self-esteem, a low level of anxiety and an active lifestyle are more likely to survive long-term stress without significant damage to the body and mind.
To achieve, if not complete Zen, then at least a state of relative calm, it is quite realistic.Here are some simple steps that will help maintain health in a situation of prolonged severe stress.
Under stress, a considerable part of the mental resource is taken away by anxiety. Therefore, to carry out the usual things are becoming increasingly difficult. The whole problem is getting out of bed in the morning. Brushing your teeth is a titanic effort. Get dressed and go to work - a feat. The most difficult in this state is decision making. Therefore it is worth making your life simple and predictable. It helps in following the regime of the day.
It is necessary to make it reasonably, ignoring the hysterical advice of the mournful with the head of a healthy lifeline. To do this, you need to remember how much you have to wake up in order to plan an approximate time for bedtime. Breakfast, lunch, dinner - about the same time, but without violence against themselves. It is important to allocate a certain time for work, physical exertion, and necessarily - for your favorite activity. That is, the regime of the day should not turn into a prison routine, where there are only obligations to the family and society. Time for yourself should be as sacred as the timing of projects at work.Even if it will be just 15 minutes to cross-stitch daily or watch a funny cartoon.
In meditation, the hardest thing to believe is that there is nothing difficult in it, and just to start. This quiet place is suitable for this activity, where you will not be distracted for at least 5–10 minutes. You can meditate sitting or lying down. To do this, relax all the muscles that are not needed to maintain a comfortable posture, and try to stop thinking about anything, but just watch your breathing. At first it helps to repeat to itself “inhale” and “exhale”, fixing its own breathing cycle. Extraneous thoughts will still come. You just need to track them, let go and return to focusing on breathing.
Someone can help meditation walking. For example, in the morning, on the way to work, you can try to stop the flow of thoughts and listen to your own silence of the mind. At the same time, it helps to focus on the rhythm of the steps and the sensations that cool air brings, birds singing, the noise of cars, various smells. The main thing is not to allow yourself to be distracted by extraneous thoughts, but to switch to the “here and now” mode.
Just a few minutes of meditation per day help maintain the psyche in a resource state. Modern research shows that even a short daily "silence of the mind" helps to establish new neural connections in brain areas that are responsible for making volitional decisions, building plans, emotional reactions, memory and attention.
Sleep at least 8 hours a day is another important component for a normal state of the body and psyche. Under stress, sleep is often disturbed: disturbing thoughts and negative emotions interfere. In this situation, you can and should fight for a quality sleep by all available means: airing, full dimming of the room, the habit of lying down at the same time, giving up gadgets 2-3 hours before bedtime.
If this does not work, you can try herbal sleeping pills and preparations based on melatonin. It is not recommended to resort to sleeping pills of benzodiazepines (diazepam, alprazolam, clonazepam) - they disrupt the structure of sleep and, although they increase the duration, but make it unproductive. In any case, it is worthwhile to consult a specialist about medications to normalize sleep. In some cases, a cup of mint tea before bedtime helps.In other situations, a long course of antidepressants may be required.
Anxiety in a stress situation makes you constantly do something. And let these actions are meaningless and unproductive, it seems that a person maintains an active life position and does not allow stress to prevail. But it is not. Imitation of the Brownian movement does not bring relief and increases the destructive effect of stress.
However, it is important to separate the really necessary things from the fuss. This skill will help set aside time for an important therapeutic treatment for stress - doing nothing. He is especially useful to those who could not master meditation. A walk from work to home, half an hour in the kitchen with a cup of tea and an interesting book or just lying on the couch help to slow down and establish a dialogue with yourself, to better understand your own emotions and needs in the current moment.
A common mistake is to treat your body in a state of stress as an unloved horse, which you don’t feel sorry for. On this wave, usually there is a flood of liters of coffee, and if it does not help, the search for drugs with a psychoactive effect begins.The assurance that it is possible to “hack” your own brain with nootropics without consequences, to disperse it, like a tired beast, so that you can work for the benefit of the whole organism, is in fact a dangerous error.
Abuse of nootropics in a state of stress can lead to sleep disturbance, increased anxiety, the appearance of trembling in the hands, reduced concentration, mood instability, tearfulness.
The stressful situation should be perceived as a reason to treat yourself even more carefully than usual. Drowsiness, reduced attention and memory to current events is a sign that the “internal fuses” have worked and it’s time to take a rest, but not a signal “time to drink coffee and eat 200 g of sugar in the form of chocolate from a vending machine
The main problem in a stressful situation is anxiety. On the production of this emotion and the neutralization of its consequences, the body spends inadmissibly a lot of forces. Therefore, drug support for stress should be aimed at reducing anxiety. To this end, the doctor may prescribe "daytime" tranquilizers that do not cause drowsiness, reduce the severity of attention and do not affect mental activity in any way.as well as antidepressants with anti-anxiety action or other drugs.
Long-term stress is a test of endurance. Therefore, to overcome it you will need to think strategically. Chronic stress can be compared to a long distance race. A single effort will not play a special role here, but the ability to rationally use your own resources will help you win.
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