Do you feel heaviness in your head? Or do you feel worked up even though you did nothing all day? All these symptoms can point towards you having stress. According to a 2020 research by the Mental Health Foundation, the number of people who said they were 'coping well with the stress of the pandemic' fell from 73% in April to 62% in November of last year. While the trigger points may be external, stress happens when you respond to that situation, creating a significant difference.
What is Stress Cycle?
A stress cycle is a series of phases that we go through. Starting with the trigger from the external environment to feeling safe while facing it. Completing the stress cycle is very imperative for our health. According to Psych Central, there are five main stages of the stress cycle. These stages of the stress cycle are discussed below:
1. The External Stressor: This is the triggering event that happens to you. It might be a snarky comment from a friend, a colleague, or a family member, or you saw something that might have triggered anxiety, like an accident. This is the only phase of the stress cycle where your mind or body does not have a direct role.
2. Internal Appraisal: This phase usually comes before, during, or after the actual triggering event. It is said that the human body is designed to sense danger, commonly known as your intuition or the 6th sense. When your senses detect something that they perceive to be a threat, they send a signal to your amygdala, an almond-sized part of your brain responsible for processing extreme emotions such as fear and pleasure. When the amygdala in your brain is triggered, it sends signals to the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, the two organs responsible for balance in the body. These organs then send signals to your nervous system that lead to changes in your heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, respiration, and sleep.
3. Physiological response: This is the phase where your body is aware of the danger in the environment, and you feel the situation is not under your control. Now the physiological response depends upon the problem you are in, and it's really about what happens after this point and how much stress you are under at any given moment.
4. Internalization: This is where you start noticing changes in your body, like your heart beating faster, your stomach might get upset, backaches, and your head starts feeling very heavy. At this point, you might ask yourself to calm down while having unpleasant thoughts in your mind. You might also have the desire to feel emotional.
5. Coping: Once you notice that you are in any kind of discomfort, physical or emotional and try to choose something to distract you or soothe you down. You start finding methods that can help. The decision that you take at this moment will decide how your future situation is going to be.
Methods to De-Stress
The external stress you get is never going to stop. You have to practice stress management and learn how to de-stress your mind. Tell me the last day, you thought that you won’t stress yourself and the very moment something hasn't come up to make you even more anxious. So, this is a never-ending vicious circle, today it is the office, tomorrow it will be something in your personal life. You will have to learn to cope with it or in simpler terms, live with it by balancing and taking up only that much, which is not harmful to you and completes your stress cycle.
So here are some of the ways that tell you how to de-stress your mind or complete the stress cycle.
1. Stress Management Meditation Techniques: There are many studies that prove that mindfulness and meditation for stress & anxiety are helpful. It is all about paying attention to the little things we typically do in our daily lives and not rushing through them. Basically, doing what you do with full awareness. This helps you turn down the volume in your mind making it relaxed. Embracing stress relief meditation not only aids in quieting the mind but also offers an additional advantage—enhanced attention and concentration. Making your work more effective and giving you a sense of satisfaction, in turn making you less stressed. Incorporating yoga and meditation in professional ethics promotes holistic well-being and fosters a balanced and mindful approach to work.
Here are a few types of meditations for stress management:
2. Deep Breathe: Deep breathing is one of the most effective methods for stress management . Whenever you feel anxious or stressed, deep breathing can work miraculously. When you take a deep breath, it enables more airflow in your body, which calms down your nerves, reducing stress and anxiety. So, next time you are in a stressful situation, start taking deep and conscious breathing.
You can try Anapanasati meditation that will help you gain deep peace with mindful breathing.
3. Laugh: A burst of laughter always fires up and then cools down your stress response, making your heart beat faster and your blood pressure lower; it is definitely a relief from stress. Other than that, this laughter also stimulates organs, boosts immunity, soothes tensions, and we all know that laughter is contagious. No matter if you start with voluntary laughter, it will always end with the real one.
4. Spending time with your loved ones: When you feel stressed, anxious, unsuitable or depressed, talking to people you love or trust and telling them what you feel makes you feel better. There are mainly two reasons why you can feel good after spending time with your loved ones. Firstly, all that build-up in your mind is now out, so you can finally feel relieved, and secondly, when you share your thoughts and might be facing some tensions, a piece of advice from someone or just the presence of the people you trust could be beneficial to solve the issues you had been facing.
5. Do something creative: It distracts your mind from all the worries and stress and takes you to a happy place. You can always try different creative techniques to make you feel more peaceful and calm like drawing, singing, dancing, painting or listening to some good music. You can even engage in some physical activities like cycling, swimming, and exercising. These also help you in distracting your mind from thoughts that might stress you out.
6. Cry: Now, this is absolutely contradictory to the above statement. But these are two separate actions that can help depending on the situation you are facing. It has a very simple explanation. Whenever there is emotional crying, stress hormones are released along with tears, lowering your body's stress levels and making you feel better.
While these stress reduction methods are subjective, for most people, stress relief meditation can help them de-stress. So, whether you use meditation for stress management or spend time with your loved ones, the important thing is you get through the stress cycle and complete it because it is vital for your mental and physical well-being.