There is a lot you can criticize the modern world on, but in the first world’s case, life has gotten better. We are living longer, healthier lives. We have access to all the food and information we can have. Even if you are less fortunate, you’re still living a much less stressful life compared to now.
However, the stress levels seem to be rising. Why is that? Well, to figure this out, let’s look at what stress is.
What is Stress?
You know what stress is to a degree. When money is tight, you are stressed. When you need to clean the house in a few hours, you are stressed. Stress is the body’s natural reaction to threats and pressure. When you feel stress, your body releases hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that help you feel that fight or flight sensation.
Some levels of stress are good and are vital to life. Stress was a survival tool we evolved with after all. When our caveman ancestors were low on food, they were stressed and this gave them an incentive to hunt for food, gather berries, and eventually find a way to create a sustainable living. Stress is a motivator, but it can be too much for some to handle.
The problem is too much stress. Our bodies weren’t able to handle all this stress, and because of it, we go into a breakdown when we are overstressed. Either we let it out to give our brain a reset, or we just lose all motivation. It can keep us up at night, and the lack of sleep ironically worsens our performance.
But why? Clearly we aren’t as stressed as our ancestors.
Well, one reason for that is that our natural instincts don’t know what is truly stressful, and something that is vaguely a threat can trigger stress. You got into a fight on social media? Stress. You have a paper to be due or else your grades suffer? Stress. Our problems nowadays, for most people, are not as bad, but our body treats it equally.
So there lies the problem. Not to mention, we are stressed with many more things. Work, school, always being connected and seeing others have fun. Everything can be a source of stress.
How to Combat Stress
There are many ways you can combat stress. Here are a few ways to do so.
- Obviously, the first step is to go after what is causing that stress. Of course, sometimes you can’t. Like if you’re stressed about a doctor’s appointment, you can’t speed up time. You could reschedule, but that is just going to delay the inevitable.
- Exercise can help. Exercise helps us release all the energy caused by stress, allowing us to rest better. Plus, the mind releases feel-good chemicals that can help us keep happy and reduce our stress.
- Getting a good night’s rest can help combat stress. If you’re wound up because of all the stress, drink some tea, calm down with a nice bath, and stay off your phone. Take a few deep breaths and let the air calm you down.
- Take some time to yourself. If you have kids perhaps you can let them stay with Grandma while you have a weekend to repair yourself and look here for other important items to make parenting a little easier.
- Seek a therapist if you’re still having trouble. We know you live a busy life, and luckily, there are a lot of online therapy choices available. Sites like Regain can help you with your problems and allow you to live a life that has much less stress.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca