There’s no denying that stress levels are higher than normal these days. In fact, a recent study found day-to-day stress and a sense of lower overall well-being were much higher in the 2010s compared to the 1990s among 45-65 year old Americans. Not to mention, the combination of negative news, pandemic worries, work transitions and new home routines are leaving many of us feeling even more anxious and overwhelmed than before.
With all of this extra stress comes a need to manage these emotions in a productive way. Managing stress on a day-to-day basis can seem difficult and time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. And developing the proper outlets for stress is key to leading a calmer, more satisfying life—especially during these uncertain times.
TaskHuman’s network of dedicated wellness professionals are here to help you recognize when stress hits, how to process it effectively and the best ways to move past these anxious feelings.
First off, let’s dive into what stress actually is, and where it comes from.
Stress can often be described as a heightened sensation of physical or emotional tension, and serves as your body’s reaction to a demanding or challenging task. In moderation, stress can be useful for avoiding danger, meeting deadlines, or even achieving fitness goals.
The American Psychological Association recognizes three different kinds of stress, all of which require differing levels of treatment. Acute stress is the most commonly diagnosed, often caused by dwelling on the mounting pressures of recent or upcoming events.
Episodic acute stress is prevalent in people with too many commitments and poor organizational skills, or individuals who obsessively worry on a consistent basis, often leading to high blood pressure or heart disease.
Chronic stress is the most harmful type of stress and occurs when people no longer search for solutions. Without proper care, individuals suffering from chronic stress are likely to “break,” potentially leading to serious health concerns.
In the following video, Coach Anita Steele details the biological origins of stress.
Stress can originate from both positive and negative situations.
Eustress — or, positive stress — can be experienced when someone is positively motivated, focused on a specific task, feeling confident, or excited about the outcome of their activity. Positive stress is normally a fleeting sensation since exciting or stressful events can cause chemical responses in the body. Essentially, eustress is the feeling you get when faced with a fun challenge.
Negative stress — known commonly as distress — often leaves you feeling physically, mentally, or emotionally overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy toward meeting your goals. If left untreated, distress can often lead to anxiety, depression, and a decrease is physical performance and emotional satisfaction.
Differentiating between good and bad stress can be difficult at first, since all stress manifests itself either physically or emotionally.
Below, Coach Laura Gardner discusses the benefits of stress and the process our bodies undergo to breakdown stress and its byproducts.
Everyone experiences stress differently. Sometimes, the best way to deal with stress is to change your perspective on it.
Developing clear comprehension of how stressful activities impact your physical and mental well-being is crucial. It’s also encouraged to understand how your mental and physical wellness can affect your stress levels.
Even moderate levels of stress can trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response, which unleashes certain hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream. Fight-or-flight responses can be activated in situations like waiting in traffic or working a stressful job. When the perceived threat dissipates, our body utilizes the relaxation response to return to normal functioning.
However, in cases of chronic stress, the relaxation response doesn’t occur often enough, and being in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight can cause irreparable damage to the body.
Watch as Coach Laurie Angress explains the various perceptions of stress and the effect it can have on your body.
Maintaining an optimistic perspective in the midst of stressful activities can feel nearly impossible. But is it? Observing your stressors without judgement, without an automatic, unconscious reaction, by just observing how you feel, is considered the first step in stripping stress of its power.
Self-help, physical activity, talk therapy and stress-reducing activities are all proactive approaches for managing day-to-day stress levels.
Coach Jamie Carroll shares her go-to methods for dealing with stress.
Now that you’ve familizared yourself with the various types of stress, you’re equipped with the right tools to fight back.
With TaskHuman, tons of professional wellness providers are available for 1-on-1 live video calls to help keep your life stress-free, at the time and place that works best for you.