In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress can be caused by several external factors (from the environment, psychological or social situations) that affect the normal life and activities of an individual. But the amount of stress experienced by a person depends on his ability to handle the stress inducing factors, which is determined by his overall physical as well as emotional well-being, the amount of rest and sleep he gets, etc. So the level of stress created in an individual due to the same external stress factors varies from person to person. Stress can initiate the ‘fight or flight’ response, a complex reaction of neurological and endocrinal system that prepares our bodies to protect ourselves in a challenging situation, by either fighting it or moving away as quickly as we can. Although stress is very much a part of our daily lives, persistent or prolonged stress can be very harmful for our physical and mental health and so stress management is necessary as early as possible.
Stress management refers to the wide spectrum of techniques and psycho therapies aimed at controlling a person’s levels of stress, usually for the purpose of improving everyday functioning.
1) Many practical stress management techniques are available, some for use by health professionals and others, for self-help, which may help an individual reduce their levels of stress, provide positive feelings of control over one’s life and promote general well-being.
2) Some techniques are accepted as effective treatment for use in psychotherapy
3) Relaxation training helps to manage stress
4) Planning and decision making provides help to manage stress.
5) Deep breathing, meditation, physical exercise, massage, aromatherapy and ‘yoga nidra’ also help managing or cope up to stress.
6) Sharing one’s problems and worries with a trusted person whose judgement is respected, can ease stress to some extent.
7) Setting some time aside from daily routine for pursuing one’s hobbies and interests can also help in reducing stress.
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