Stress & Self Care – How to Manage Stress and Live Happy


Stress is common in modern society. People have accepted stress and expect themselves to be stressed out all the time. Some even like to brag about getting stressed over their work and personal life. However, the real effect of stress can be seriously harmful to both physical and mental health. People who suffer from stress go through all types of issues. This is why, you need to know how to manage stress and live happily. However, before getting deeper into the discussion, let’s have a look at the definition of stress. What is it and how it can affect health.

Understanding Stress

Stress is a physical and psychological response to challenging and demanding situations. It triggers the "fight or flight" response by releasing hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Stress can be caused by various factors, including work or school pressures. Sometimes it stems from relationship issues, financial problems, health concerns, or major life changes. While some levels of stress can be motivating and even beneficial in some situations, chronic or excessive stress can have harmful effects on both physical and mental health.

Symptoms of stress can come out in various ways.  The common physical symptoms of stress are headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. Stress also creates psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, and irritability. This is why – you need to know how to manage stress.  

Sources of Stress

Stress can stem from various sources. It can differ greatly from person to person. Here are some common sources of stress:

  1. Work Pressure: Pressure to meet deadlines, perform well, handle heavy workloads, deal with difficult coworkers or classmates, or job insecurity can all create stress.
  2. Relationships: Conflict with family members, friends, romantic partners, or colleagues can be a significant source of stress. This includes issues such as misunderstandings, disagreements, or feelings of isolation.
  3. Financial problems: Struggling with debt, unemployment, unexpected expenses, or financial instability can cause significant stress and anxiety.
  4. Health concerns: Dealing with illness, chronic health conditions, injuries, or concerns about the health of loved ones can be highly stressful. The effect of stress can be serious if not treated in time.  

Effects of Stress on Physical & Mental Health

The impact of stress on physical health is profound. Chronic stress is linked to a range of health problems, including cardiovascular issues, weakened immune function, digestive disorders, and even chronic pain conditions. Prolonged suffering from stress can increase the risk of developing serious illnesses over time.

Stress also has serious effects on mental health. It can cause anxiety and depression, and lead to feelings of overwhelm and burnout. Chronic stress has been associated with an increased risk of developing mental health disorders as well.

Self-Care to Combat Stress

Prioritizing self-care is essential for effectively managing stress. This involves taking out time for activities that take care of body, mind, and soul. Here is a list of self-care to manage stress:

  1. Regular Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins. These are natural mood lifters. Engaging in regular exercise can help reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.
  2. Healthy Eating: A well-balanced diet can support your body and help it cope with stress. Avoiding excessive caffeine, sugar, and processed foods uplifts mood and energy levels.
  3. Adequate Sleep: Lack of sleep can cause stress and make it harder to cope with daily challenges. Prioritize getting enough restful sleep each night by establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
  4. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation can help calm the mind and reduce stress.
  5. Engaging in Hobbies: Participating in activities you enjoy promotes feelings of fulfillment and relaxation. This is why, people who follow some hobbies like reading, writing, or painting usually stay away from chronic stress.
  6. Spending Time in Nature: Spending time outdoors, whether it is going for a hike, picnicking in the park, or simply taking a walk in nature, can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Nature can reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.
  7. Practicing Self-Love: Be kind to yourself and practice self-love during stressful times. Treat yourself with the same affection and understanding that you will offer to a friend facing similar challenges.

When to Speak to a Counselor

While self-care strategies can reduce the effect of stress, there are times when professional help becomes necessary. If stress is significantly affecting your daily activities or mental health, it is important to seek support from a qualified therapist or counselor. You need to understand that professionals are there for a reason. They know how to offer you guidance in time of your need. Even though information is available online, there are times when personalized assistance becomes essential. So, if stress is getting in the way of a peaceful life, speak to someone with expertise to offer you guidance.