Many people experience stress when they face challenges in various aspects of life. But ask yourself "what is stress?", and you'll realise that there are actually many different types of stress.
Stress occurs when you perceive a condition, whether real or imagined, to be a threat to your well-being. There are different types of stress, namely acute, episodic, and chronic stress.
Acute stress is common and usually does not pose any health issues. This type of stress is typically triggered by a sudden change of plans or environment, but it generally eases once the person finds a solution to their problem.
On the other hand, frequent episodes of acute stress can lead to acute episodic stress, which can have physical and psychological effects and exacerbate existing health issues such as high blood pressure, digestive problems, panic attacks or headaches.
Chronic stress, which arises from multiple stressors, can be caused by various factors such as family issues, personal health problems, and conflicts in a relationship.
Additionally, major life events like divorce or death of a loved one can increase the risk of chronic stress. This type of stress persists over a long period and can have severe physical and psychological effects on a person.
How to manage stress effectively?
Since stress is inevitable, let's see what we can do to effectively prevent and manage our stress levels, without resorting to medication:
1. Have sufficient sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining good health as it allows the body and brain to rest.
Furthermore, during the hours of 1.00 to 3.00 AM, restful sleep enables the liver meridian to supply qi actively to the liver system, which manages stress and emotions, facilitating the elimination of toxins from the blood.
Subsequently, between 3.00 and 5.00 AM, the purified blood and qi are transported to various organ systems for optimal functioning.
Sour dates have the potential to aid individuals with insomnia by nourishing the heart and liver, promoting restful sleep. Additionally, a herbal tonic made using sour dates, vinegar, and walnut membrane can be consumed to enhance sleep quality by soothing both the mind and body.
2. Drink flower teas
Prolonged stress can increase the risk of developing mental health disorders. However, there are herbal remedies that may help alleviate stress. These include chamomile, mint leaves, and rosebuds.
Chamomile is a medicinal herb with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties used to treat various health issues. When consumed in the form of tea, it can help calm the nerves, and alleviate symptoms of stress such as insomnia.
Rosebuds and mint leaves can also be infused in hot water to make a tea that can alleviate stress. These herbal remedies are safe for consumption by children, although in lower doses.
3. Perform acupuncture or acupressure massages
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that involves the use of disposable needles inserted into specific points on the body by a licensed TCM physician.
Acupressure, on the other hand, involves applying pressure to acupuncture points to restore balance to a person's vital energy, or qi, and can be self-administered.
To alleviate stress, some of the pressure points that can be pressed include point LI-4 of the large intestine meridian (He Gu) and LR-3 of the liver meridian (Tai Chong).
He Gu is located between the first and second fingers, in a V-shape at the indentation of the second finger bone.
Tai Chong is located in the depression between the big toe and the second toe. Another simple exercise that can help relieve stress involves placing both palms on the chest and sliding them downward from the collarbone to the stomach, repeating this 15 to 20 times.
4. Try meditation and breathing exercises
Engaging in meditational breathing can be a helpful practice in reducing stress levels. It promotes mindfulness, enabling individuals to learn how to appreciate their lives.
To perform meditational breathing, find a comfortable and distraction-free location and sit, stand, or walk while repeating a sound, word, phrase, or movement.
Allow your thoughts to come and go as you focus on the repetition. Consistency is key, so practising at the same time every day can promote regularity, but you can do it anytime you feel stressed.
5. Do yoga and aerobic exercises
Engaging in aerobic exercise can have a tranquillising effect on a person within 20 to 30 minutes after a workout and can last for several hours. Tai Chi and yoga practices have also been found to be effective in reducing stress.
In fact, a study showed that just 15 minutes of chair-based yoga postures can effectively reduce acute stress.
It is important for individuals experiencing chronic stress, who are more susceptible to cardiovascular disorders, to undergo pre-workout screening procedures to determine if they have high blood pressure or other risk factors that may increase their risk of heart disease.
Encountering different kinds of stress during different life stages is a natural phenomenon.
However, the good news is that adopting effective stress management techniques can bring about numerous health advantages and enhance your overall well-being. Remember to take care of yourself, even amidst your busy schedule.