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How to recognize and reduce stress

Stress affects every organ throughout the body, causing many people to experience hair loss, headaches, irritability, and alcohol abuse.

For some people, stress is a sign of weakness and failure. They tend to immediately deny it when asked “Are you stressed?”, instead of acknowledging this is just the body’s natural response to difficult situations.

In fact, everyone has a different way of expressing stress. To diagnose stress, doctors often survey patients about sleep quality, coffee habits in the morning, alcohol consumption at night. Some of the respondents were asked if they grind their teeth while sleeping, eat more than usual, or have difficulty concentrating. These can be early signs of stress.

According to experts, not all types of stress are bad. Some stressors warn of the challenge ahead, helping each person to prepare well mentally to cope. Short-term stresses promote a defensive response to an immediate, sudden situation. However, there are also types of stress that are judged to be toxic, which form when things get out of control.

After two years of raging Covid-19, many people were “corroded” both physically and mentally. Dr. Quratulain Zaidi, a psychologist in Hong Kong, calls this kind of stress a “silent pandemic” after Covid-19.

“A lot of people are stressed because everything is so uncertain, the world and the landscape around them change. They are stressed about an uncertain future, a lingering sense of loss,” says Dr. Zaidi.

This creates a high level of anxiety, the brain (with a survival instinct) constantly monitoring its surroundings, making judgments about safety and danger.

“It is difficult to say that we are oversensitive to the threats around us or are underestimating our own abilities, because the body has a defensive instinct. In an unusual situation, stress arises. , the body is forced to choose between ‘fight or flight’, all to get us back to a safe situation,” explains Zaidi.

He believes that the thing to do now is not to suffer, but to pay attention to the warning signs from the body, before they manifest into more serious symptoms.

Stress makes many people more sensitive and irritable.  Photo: Shutterstock

Stress makes many people more sensitive and irritable. Image: Shutterstock

In terms of biochemistry and biology, Mr. Zaidi said stress is cumulative and affects every organ. International research estimates 90% of illnesses are stress-related.

Dr. Benita Perch, naturopath, says stress causes inflammation in the body. Physically, early warning signs are headaches, hair loss, teeth grinding, heart palpitations, some digestive problems.

“A lot of my patients are subjective about it, but that doesn’t mean they’re not stressed. They work long hours, look after children, don’t eat well,” she explains.

Spending too much time parenting and not taking care of themselves, many parents fall into chronic stress. However, accumulated stress often builds up very slowly, making it difficult for people to notice and try to maintain the old rhythm of life. Dr. Perch said each person needs to be mindful of their own extreme reactions to any situation.

“Someone is naturally easy irritable, angry or worried about the little things. They become too organized, not to the point of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), but want everything to be in place. They are more critical of people, too sensitive and easily offended. All are symptoms of stress,” says Dr. Perch.

Quality of sleep It is also a factor in determining the health index. Symptoms of difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and not being able to go back to sleep indicate general stress.

Perch also found that during the pandemic, many of her patients had symptoms guzzle. They eat more with the desire to feel more satisfied, increase alcohol consumption. This easily increases the risk of breast cancer.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, experts recommend rethinking your lifestyle. Social networks and online culture 24/7 make many people lose their work-life balance.

“You can turn off your phone, don’t reply to emails. During this pandemic, we have forgotten how to distinguish between the really important things in life. Let’s create healthy boundaries with friends, social media and social networks. the smart vehicles you’re using,” said Dr. Zaidi.

Reducing the frequency of information consumption improves mental health. Doing one thing at a time, really focusing on that task reduces stress.

Dr. Perch also encourages each person to practice mindfulness, meditating for 10 to 20 minutes a day. Exercise is an effective stress reliever, but intense exercise can increase levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body.

Thuc Linh (Follow SCMP)

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