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How to deal with stress, or not giving in to adversity

How to deal with stress? Well, it is certainly not the easiest thing, but also not impossible. If we submit ourselves to certain principles and we will consistently carry them out, it will undoubtedly bring measurable benefits in many areas of life. Not only will it make life more bearable, but it will also prove beneficial to our mental and physical health. There are numerous indications that stress is the cause of numerous diseases of various nature.

What is stress?

Simply put, stress is the body’s reaction to a difficult situation. When the balance between the demands of the situation and our capabilities is disturbed, the organism is forced to respond to specific stressful stimuli. Thus, we always speak of stress when we feel physical or mental discomfort as a result of the circumstances.

In the physical sense, we are dealing with stress in the case of, for example, injury, illness, too high or too low a temperature, or great physical exertion that exceeds our capabilities. In the psychological sense, it is a traumatic circumstance that causes suffering, anxiety, fear, depression, anger, and tension.

Regardless of whether the source of stress are physical or mental factors, it is accompanied by certain purely physiological phenomena. The body is put in a situation of alarm, which is manifested by increased production of adrenaline and cortisol, heart rate is accelerated, blood pressure increases, breathing accelerates, muscle tension increases.

After this phase, the body, as far as possible, adapts to the new position. However, it is not difficult to imagine how extremely unfavorable is the persistence of a stressful situation for a long time.

Types of stress

 a woman sits on the edge of a pier and looks into the water

The course of the stress reaction and coping with stress depends enormously on our assessment of a particular situation. The first phase, which is of an alarming nature, evoking a state of excitement in the body and mobilizing all its forces, is basically the same for everyone. The second phase, resistance, is decisive – either the organism adapts to the new circumstances and everything returns to normal, or prolonged stress leads to the stage of exhaustion.

Psychologists and psychiatrists distinguish between so-called good stress (eustres) and bad stress (dystres). The former mobilises us to action, allows us to find a constructive solution, and, according to many researchers, enables personal development. For example, a person who is able to use stress to mobilize his or her mental strengths can better pass a difficult exam, or solve a professional problem. Mastering stage fright before a public performance will make us more resistant to similar circumstances in the future.

On the other hand, if we allow ourselves to be overcome by dystres and do not look for a positive solution, the feeling of discomfort and subsequent problems will grow. The answer to the question of how to deal with stress is therefore crucial to maintaining mental balance, and even health in the physical sense.

Stress – symptoms of a chronic stressful situation

A short-term state of tension is not unusual, and even, as already mentioned, it can be activating and promote a better result in some activity. However, long-term stress means a whole range of complications and negative health effects. Unfavorable processes take place in the whole organism, causing annoying symptoms, and may further contribute to the development of dangerous diseases:

  • hypertension,
  • diseases of the heart and circulatory system,
  • diabetes,
  • chronic digestive disorders,
  • osteoporosis,
  • dermatological problems.

The response of individual systems is as follows:

Nervous system

Stimulates the production of adrenaline and cortisol, which results in sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, depression, decreased mood, appetite disorders, and is often accompanied by persistent headaches.

Cardiovascular system

Heart works much faster, arterial blood pressure increases, which can lead to its permanent, increased level, that is hypertensive disease, heart attack or brain stroke.

Respiratory system

Faster breathing and consequently more intense ventilation of the lungs, can trigger uncontrollable panic attacks.

Musculoskeletal system

The musculoskeletal system is also subject to additional strain through increased muscle tension, which manifests itself through headaches and other body parts, muscle spasms.

The digestive system

Seemingly distant from stressors, very often reacts with metabolic disorders, which take the form of nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.

Endocrine system

Reacts with increased secretion of adrenaline and cortisol, which can result in a number of disease symptoms.

Immune system

Under the influence of large amounts of cortisol is weakened, resulting in infections or even cancer and exacerbation of existing diseases.

Reproductive system

Excessive stress affects the functioning of the entire system, the ability to reproduce, sexual desire, menstrual cycle, the ability to get an erection.

Causes of stress

 A nervous man working on his laptop

Nervous tension is inherent in our lives, especially in today’s danger-filled times. The constant rush, excessive responsibilities, stress at work, feeling of loneliness, inevitable tragedies and personal problems, and last but not least the pandemic, which has recently caused social isolation, all trigger negative emotions and make us cope less and less well with everyday life.

Stress becomes a negative factor with devastating consequences if it is prolonged and leads to a phase of exhaustion. In many cases it is due to fortuitous events beyond our control – death of a loved one, separation, dismissal or demotion at work, bankruptcy of a company etc.

Sometimes, however, high levels of stress result from poor judgment, when, for example, we exaggerate a problem or interpret normal circumstances as a potential threat. Then it is worth considering whether, for example, a small failure is really a disaster, a bad mood of the boss means that he will fire us, and a small indisposition is a sign of cancer.

Each person has a different level of resistance to stress and what for some is a challenge activating to action, for others may be a problem impossible to solve. However, certain reactions and behaviors can be learned to more objectively assess difficulties and minimize tension.

There are, of course, random events that are irreversible and beyond our capacity to solve the problem. These include the loss of a loved one, the experience of violence, a breakup, among others. But even then we can reduce the effects of stress. The solution then is not to fight to improve the situation, but to accept the event and to experience the emotions associated with it. The longer we dwell on and analyze what happened, the longer the pain and sadness will last.

How to overcome stress – ways to cope with stress

It would be best to act comprehensively, using all the ways recommended by specialists to deal with stress. Some of them may seem trivial and unrelated to the states of tension we feel, but contrary to appearances, they affect the functioning of the whole organism, including the nervous system and psyche.

First of all, healthy life

It consists primarily of a proper, balanced diet, containing all the necessary nutrients, abundant in vitamins (primarily B group) and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium, and finally unsaturated fatty acids.

Good sleep and well-balanced proportions between work and rest are extremely important for mental condition. Physical activity, preferably systematic, plays a huge role, as it allows to relieve emotions and improve mood, not to mention other health benefits.

Secondly, mind control

We must not torment ourselves with constant thinking about the problem that is the source of stress. We must learn self-observation, which involves looking at ourselves as if from the position of an external spectator. Understanding ourselves, noticing our own emotions and behaviour, will allow us to control them, and consequently to change them gradually. This is in turn a good step to achieve balance and distance from the difficulties that we encounter.

Thirdly, time management

Nervous tension accompanies us at every step, what is more, it is largely due to time pressure. We live faster and more intensively, we have a lot of things to do, we work more and more and less time for ourselves, family and friends. This state of affairs is not only not conducive to maintaining spiritual balance, but actually provokes extreme emotions. We must learn to manage our time, dividing it equally between work and relaxation, professional and personal matters.

Fourth, exercise

In situations requiring urgent intervention, when tension becomes unbearable, let’s use long known and proven exercises. There are many of them, and they are so uncomplicated that they can be done not only at home, but also at work.

How to deal with stress – simple relaxation techniques

 a woman walks through a field of sunflowers

Shaking off tension

Stand with your arms lowered along your torso. Inhale through your nose, lifting your shoulders and arms at the same time. Hold the air for a short while and shake your shoulders vigorously while exhaling.

Relaxing the body

Lie down or sit comfortably with your hands behind your head. Bend your elbows, straighten your legs, including your fingertips, and flex your muscles. Take in air, then tighten your belly and hold your breath for a few seconds. Slowly let the air out while relaxing all the muscles and getting into the relaxation. Now stretch as far as you can while repeating to yourself, “I am calm, relaxed, and energized.


This can be done while standing, sitting or lying down. Stretch the various muscle parts as if you were stretching. Yawn at the same time.

Release muscle tension

Place your feet hip-width apart, lift your arms up and wave your hands as if you were moving a branch in the wind until the muscle tension is relieved.

For systematic use

When we perform an everyday action, such as eating breakfast, we focus exclusively on this and the resulting sensations. Nothing else comes to mind.

At every opportunity we smile or, better yet, laugh. Laughter not only improves mood by reducing cortisol levels, but it also exercises the diaphragm muscles and benefits physical health.

Dietary supplements for stress

Consider using preparations based on natural substances, containing mainly the so-called plant adaptogens. They restore balance and stability to all organs and systems by eliminating stress in its broadest sense. Thanks to such properties, supplements, such as multi-ingredient pills for stress Restilenhelp to increase resistance to stressful situations and to minimize the effects of nervous tension.

Learn more about the stress-reducing and inner peace-restoring Restilen


Category: Health

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