How to cope with stress

Abraham McLaughlin
How to cope with stress

You are in the middle of a traffic jam and you do not have time to get to that important appointment, but you will also be late for lunch and all the afternoon work will be delayed. Things are piling up for him, he lacks time and he hardly rests. He runs from one place to another, overflowing with activity, but his body begins to complain. He feels overwhelmed, nervous, overworked, on the way to exhaustion and to top it off he has a nasty eczema on his face. It is clear, suffers the evil of our days, suffers from stress.

Although much is said about it, we seldom put into practice some methods that can help us better cope with this distressing state that makes our life not as relaxed as it could be. The worries of tomorrow, the rhythm of life or a bad diet, directly or indirectly influence our well-being, thereby reducing our quality of life. It is true that we are increasingly informed as well as aware of its existence, however if there is something we should know is that we can combat it many times with habits that although they may seem routine will bring us benefits.

We already know that our quality of life depends on many factors, but above all it depends on our attitude towards the circumstances that life presents us..


  • What is stress
  • How we react to stress
    • 1. Verbal descriptions of accompanying emotional disturbances
    • 2. Modifications of cognitive activity
    • 3. Specific motor behaviors ranging from tremor to muscle stiffness
    • 4. Physiological modifications
  • 21 tips to combat stress

What is stress

Canon was the first to use the term stress, in relation to homeostasis, which refers to the balance of an organism, in such a way that, when decompensated by an external agent, it immediately tends to recover its previous situation. Selye describes the general adaptation syndrome, which consists of a set of coordinated physiological reactions with which the body responds to any agent coming from outside (stressor). This response has three phases, the alarm phase in which the body's defenses are mobilized (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal hormonal axis is activated); the adaptation phase, in which the body engages and the hormones released (corticosteroids) return to normal.

If adaptation does not take place and the stressor continues to act, the exhaustion phase is entered, which, in the long run, can lead to death. The psychological perspective speaks of life stress as a specifically human response to different types of harmful agents and threats that come from the subject's social environment..

Stress is a complex process that ranges from stressful stimuli to the body's response through intermediate psychological and biological processes. It is the feeling of threat that triggers the psychobiological response and that has to be previously known by the subject.

How we react to stress

Starting from the feeling of threat, there are a series of reactions or responses to stress that are manifested in four aspects:

1. Verbal descriptions of accompanying emotional disturbances

The stressed person usually explains his state of mind as "I'm nervous", "sad", "irritated", "I feel bad", "I can't take it anymore".

2. Modifications of cognitive activity

Stress can improve cognitive performance by raising attention and awareness. But more often than not, in the face of this prolonged situation, all kinds of intellectual activity, reasoning, judgment, social relationships, etc..

3. Specific motor behaviors ranging from tremor to muscle stiffness

Expressions of the face or change of job or place of residence.

4. Physiological modifications

The entire neuroendocrine structure undergoes alterations, especially the hypothalamic-adrenal pituitary axis and the vegetative system. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland and the pituitary gland stimulates the adrenals, which release corticosteroids into the blood and exert their effect throughout the body (they alter insulin production, facilitate gastroduodenal ulcers, cause calcium loss from the bones, lead to menstrual irregularities and induce hypertension The vegetative nervous system responds with sympathetic stimulation and release of catecholamines, such as adrenaline, which alter blood pressure, sex hormones and thyroid among other things.

It is clear that when faced with stress, the organism en bloc reacts both in the biological or corporal aspect as well as in the psychological. As a consequence, it acts as a trigger for diseases especially the immune, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and psychosomatic systems. Hypertension, gastroduodenal ulcer, intestinal rhythm disorders (constipation and diarrhea), heart attack, decreased defenses and susceptibility to infections, pre-menstrual tension, all kinds of psychosomatic disorders and even cancer are closely related with stress. Sustained stress causes physical exhaustion and psychological fatigue. The expenditure of energy weakens the forces of the organism, and one feels tired; but the psychological weakening is the origin of situations of total exhaustion even though nothing has been done, because the fatigue is psychic.

Not all people respond the same to stress, each reaction depending on the individual personality, the defense mechanisms that are put in place, the coping style of each person and the socio-environmental circumstances that occur at all times. For example, a single woman does not experience a pregnancy in the same way as a married woman who has been waiting three years for a child or one who already has another two. There are people more likely to suffer from stress, such as those who change residence or job, those who have few financial resources, or do not have an affective and emotional balance.

21 tips to combat stress

Practically all people, each one in their midst, are subjected to stress, some defend themselves adequately and others collapse. To face it, a whole plan must be structured that is supported by the following measures:

1. Accept reality. Do not stress, or wear yourself out wanting things to be different from what they already are. No thought can change what has already happened.

2. Focus on your affairs. According to Byron Katie, there are 3 types of affairs. Mine, yours and God's and he tells us “Mentally taking care of your affairs prevents me from being present in mine. I separate myself and wonder why my life doesn't work out. " When you feel stressed or lonely, ask yourself, whose affairs are you in? And return to your own.

3. Reinterpret what you live. “If you grieve for some external cause, it is not her that bothers you, but your judgment of her. And erase this judgment, it is up to you. " Marco Aurelio. So look for the good in everything you live. If you have to choose between a negative or a positive interpretation, why choose a negative one??.

4. Let go of expectations. Do the best you can and release the results as they are not in your control. When you do not have attachment to the result of the situations you live or the actions you perform then you are free.

5. Live in the present. “It is me, not events, that have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which one it will be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow has not yet come. I have only one day, today, and I will be happy in it ”. Groucho marx

6. If you think you have a lot to do. Remember that you can only really do one at a time, so focus on the task in front of you and forget about the list. Mentally repeating everything you have to do will not help you advance further and will make you feel overwhelmed..

7. Enjoy your own company. Because it is the only company you will always count on.

8. Stop seeking approval from others. Since that leads you to live according to the expectations of others, transforming yourself like a chameleon and accepting things you do not want, and this does not feel good..

9. Stop wanting to control life and the future because they are not under your control. As John Lenon said "Life is what happens while we are too busy making plans".

10. Trust in life and that what happens is always the best for you. "Everything happens to me instead of to me." Byron katie

11. Accept your emotions, lose your fear, feel them. It is simply energy that runs through your body. When you feel an emotion, observe it. Where do you feel it? In the stomach, in the throat, in the chest? Is it cold, hot? Is it like a knot, like a contraction? When you pay attention to it and stop fighting against them, you will see how that bodily sensation dissipates and you feel better..

12. Do something nice for someone else today without anyone noticing. Try it and see that makes you feel good.

13. Stop judging and criticizing others. "If you judge people, you don't have time to love them" Mother Teresa of Calcutta. And loving her will make you feel better ...

14. Excuse me, do it for you ... "To forgive is to free a prisoner and discover that the prisoner was you" Lewis B. Smedes.

15. Accept death as part of life. Death is one of our great fears and we live in fear, wanting to control it and avoid it at all costs and this concern prevents us from enjoying the life we ​​have now. "Receive death with joy, as one of the things that nature wants." Marcus Aurelius.

16. Be yourself. Do not compare yourself with others. Not to overestimate yourself because it separates you from people or to underestimate yourself because you will make yourself feel bad. No person has more value than another.

17. Give yourself the things and attention that you expect other people to give you. This way, you will make sure you receive them!.

18. Stop looking for security on the outside as it is a sure source of stress. The external changes constantly and is beyond our control. Seek your peace within yourself since you cannot control what happens around you but you can control how you feel about it. "True happiness is always independent of external conditions." Epithet.

19. Let go of resentments. We believe that others deserve our upset and anger, but how does being upset or resentful make you feel? Who are you really punishing with this? To you! As Larry Crane says "It's like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die".

20. Love unconditionally, even if you are not paid. Because the only love you can feel is the one that is inside you, not the one that others feel ... So stop focusing on being loved and focus on simply loving.

21. Appreciate and be grateful for what you have now instead of looking at what you "think" you are missing. "A wise man is one who does not lament over the things he does not have, but rejoices over the things that he does" Epithet.

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