Stress : what are we talking about ?
Please find attached below the French version
According to experts, stress is a psychological and physiological reaction resulting from the perception of an expectation from the environment and this expectation requires an effort of adaptation.
Stress is therefore a state of imbalance in the human body that is perceived as threatening to the individual. A physiological, psychological, social or spiritual need is not satisfied, creating tension and frustration (definition taken from the Guide d'autosoins pour la gestion du stress by Gérard Lebel, ide. Clinician). Thus, mental health can be strongly impacted by our stress.
We can also emphasize on the distinction between absolute and relative stress:
- Absolute stress is universal: it is the one that makes us run away from an imminent danger like facing a bear with threatening fangs.
- Relative stress is subjective: it is the one that we can feel when we are late for an appointment, when we have many important tasks at work ... The response to the stressor varies depending on each individual.
How to recognize it?
To better understand stress and our reactions to it, we invite you to visit the CSHS website (Centre for Studies on Human Stress: https://humanstress.ca/). Here is a brief overview:
Stress is composed of the same components for everyone. For a situation to be called "stressful," one or more of the following elements must characterize the situation:
- Low control over the situation
- Unpredictability of the situation
- Novelty, something never experienced before is occurring
- Ego threatened and challenged
These components can be added up : the more elements mentioned above characterize a situation, the more stressful the situation becomes.
You now know the components of stress to better recognize it, the next step is to find ways to adapt to it.
Some ways to adapt to stress
It does matter to develop healthy lifestyle habits especially through:
A bad diet can contribute to increase the effects of stress while a healthy one can play its effects down.
Top 10 stress-inducing foods
(from passeport santé : 10 aliments qui favorisent le stress (passeportsante.net))
Top 10 stress-reducing foods
(from passeport santé : Top 10 aliments anti-stress (passeportsante.net))
It is also recommended to stay well hydrated throughout the day.
Sleep is essential for the body to recover physically and intellectually.
Here are some tips for sleeping well:
- Have a sleep routine: going to bed and getting up at approximately the same time every day. Preparing your body for rest with a ritual before bedtime (bath, stretching, herbal tea, relaxation, meditation).
- Have a favourable physical activity: practicing a physical activity boosts the quality of sleep.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime.
- Eat at least 2 hours before going to bed, because digestion causes a rise in body temperature, which is harmful to sleep.
- “Catch the train at the right time": getting to bed only when sleep is at your door. Sleepiness usually comes in waves of 60 to 90 minutes.
- Move if you need to: getting up if you don't feel sleepy after 20 minutes, doing a relaxing but not stimulating activity (reading, soft music, breathing).
Here is a sleep preparation capsule from Passeport Santé (in French) if you want to try: https://medias.passeportsante.net/balado/balado_det_profonde_bass_EQ.mp3.
Taking care of yourself
Finally, it is important to listen to your needs and take care of yourself:
- Getting some rest
- Having fun with pleasant activities
- Letting off steam
In short, stress management is all about getting to know yourself better. Take the time to meet yourself!
To find out more, please :
- Visit the following website: https://humanstress.ca/stress/trick-your-stress/steps-to-instant-stress-management/
- Make an appointment with the Health Point by Feel Good, your listening and guidance unit on health and well-being: https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/RennesSB@esc-rennes.com/bookings/
If you have any questions, you can contact the Feel Good team: firstname.lastname@example.org