Stress is any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest.
- While elimination of stress is unrealistic, management of stress is an attainable and realistic goal that can be achieved by a number of strategies.
- People with strong social support networks report less stress and fewer negative symptoms of stress than those who lack social support.
- Stress-management techniques include relaxation techniques, time-management skills, counseling or group therapy, exercise, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.
- There are hundreds of different relaxation techniques to help manage stress, including yoga, guided imagery, biofeedback, tai chi, qigong, and progressive muscle relaxation.
What is stress?
Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in causing disease. Physical and chemical factors that can cause stress include trauma, infections, toxins, illnesses, and injuries of any sort. Emotional causes of stress and tension are numerous and varied. While many people associate the term stress with psychological stress, scientists and physicians use this term to denote any force that impairs the stability and balance of bodily functions.
If stress disrupts body balance and function, then is all stress bad? Not necessarily. A mild degree of stress and tension can sometimes be beneficial. For example, feeling mildly stressed when carrying out a project or assignment often compels us to do a good job, focus better, and work energetically.
Likewise, exercising can produce a temporary stress on some body functions, but its health benefits are indisputable. It is only when stress is overwhelming, or poorly managed, that its negative effects appear.
An important goal for those under stress is the management of life stresses. Elimination of stress is unrealistic, since stress is a part of normal life. It's impossible to completely eliminate stress, and it would not be advisable to do so. Instead, we can learn relaxation techniques and other methods to manage stress so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.