Coping with Stress: How to Reduce and Avoid Stress

Stress is part of life and is basically not a bad thing. When stress gets out of hand, however, it is equally stressful for the body and mind. You can protect yourself against stress reactions with the right measures and reduce existing stress in a healthy way. Stress reduction not only makes your everyday life easier, but also ensures a better general well-being. If you want to know which symptoms indicate stress and how you can effectively reduce it, be sure to read on!

In this article you will learn:

  • What is stress and how it arises
  • How to tell the difference between positive and negative stress
  • What are the stress factors
  • What symptoms occur during stress
  • How to avoid stress
  • How you can reduce stress

What is stress and how does it arise?

Stress is an alarm reaction of the body that manifests itself both physically and mentally. Stress increases the activity of the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system. The endocrine system describes a number of organs and glands that make hormones and thus control and regulate various body functions. The hormones are released directly into the bloodstream as messenger substances. The endocrine system includes, for example, the thyroid, the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

Stress is therefore a physical reaction that can be caused by various environmental stimuli or the organism itself. In stressful situations, the body increasingly releases so-called catecholamines , which include the hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine . Although these are basically useful because they strengthen our ability to react in real dangerous situations, for example, they can have a burdensome effect in the long term if they are formed in stressful situations, but not needed in the way that our ancestors used to do often found themselves in so-called “flight or fight” situations .

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What is the difference between positive stress and negative stress?

In technical terms, positive stress is called eustress . Although this is quite stressful for your organism, it is perceived as positive by you. For example, it will help you cope with difficult tasks and solve problems. The physical reaction is the same as with “negative stress”, but the triggering stressors are positive events such as an upcoming wedding, the preparations and anticipation for the vacation or a new job.

Doctors, on the other hand, call negative stress distress . It is perceived as stressful, uncomfortable or even threatening and overwhelming. This is triggered by negative stressors such as excessive demands or bullying at work, financial difficulties or relationship crises . If this type of stress lasts longer, it can cause the affected person to have both mental and physical symptoms of illness.

Negative stress can be triggered, among other things, by relationship crises or financial difficulties.

Which hormones are released by stress?

The catecholamines noradrenaline and adrenaline are released during stress . Colloquially, these are also known as stress hormones. Increased production of norepinephrine can trigger sweats, headaches, and an increased heart rate. Overproduction of adrenaline can also increase blood pressure .

The hormones in their combination cause the following reactions in the body:

  • Quickening of the breath
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased blood sugar production in the liver by converting the storage molecule glycogen
  • Increased flushing of red blood cells from the spleen, which are responsible for the transport of oxygen to the muscles
  • Better blood flow to the muscles
  • Increase in muscle tone. The result can be tension, rocking of the feet, grinding of teeth and tremors
  • Faster clotting of the blood. In this way the body protects itself from blood loss
  • Production of messenger substances in the cells that take care of the immune system
  • Digestion and sexual functions are restricted in order to save energy

What can cause stress?

The following stressors can trigger distress:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Separation or divorce
  • Termination of employment
  • Change of residence
  • Loans
  • Exams or other exams
  • Bullying
  • Disputes within the family
  • Sexual Problem
  • Continuous exposure to noise
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What are the symptoms of stress?

Stress can manifest itself in people in a number of ways . The most common symptoms include:

  • Tension
  • a headache
  • Neck and back pain
  • stomach pain
  • heartburn
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • Flatulence
  • sleep disorders
  • eating disorder
  • Persistent nervousness
  • Nocturnal grinding of teeth
  • forgetfulness
  • stutter
  • Depression
Exercise is an excellent valve for relieving pent-up pressure.

If the stress persists over a long period of time, it can also lead to the following diseases :

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Allergies
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Burnout, Depression

Tips to avoid stress in everyday life

Stress is actually a meaningful reaction of your body in order to act appropriately and to release energy . If the stress gets out of hand, however, you should avoid excessive stress and at the same time find out for yourself how you can process or reduce stress . The following tips can help you with this.

Coping with Stress: How to Prevent Too Much Stress?

Stress can be useful to us in moderation. However, if you notice that the stress you feel has negative consequences on your body, you should definitely step back a little .

It is often helpful to keep some kind of diary in order to identify your own stress factors. This can help you avoid certain stressful situations or solve underlying problems . We often feel stressed without knowing exactly what is causing the stress and the associated symptoms. A diary starts exactly at this point and can therefore help to make your stressful everyday life a little easier.

Unfortunately, stress can rarely be completely prevented, but in order to feel less stressed, you should regularly incorporate exercise and relaxation techniques such as yoga , autogenic training or meditation  into your everyday life.

How can existing stress be effectively reduced?

With the following tips you can not only effectively reduce existing stress. When applied regularly, these tips will also ensure that you feel less stressed overall and that you suffer less from the typical stress symptoms.


When you’re stressed out, exercise is a good outlet to relieve some of the pent-up pressure. The hormones produced by your body when you are under stress can really serve their purpose, for example if you really work out while running or doing weight training. Regular exercise , especially endurance training , can mean that your body shows fewer symptoms of stress in general. But even gentle exercise such as yoga or a long walk in the fresh air can help you reduce stress.

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Some people relax best when they let their body come to rest rather than exhaust it. Progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobsen , in which the muscles are individually tensed and relaxed again, are particularly suitable for reducing stress . The advantage of this method is that you can use it anywhere and take the right countermeasures immediately in stressful situations.

Mental relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or meditation can also help you to reduce unpleasant stress. They are especially recommended if you find it easy to collect yourself and you have a strong imagination. The techniques can also be learned in courses, for example.


Many people have a stressful professional life and seek mental balance in their leisure activities. Depending on what kind of person you are, you can take some of your stress off with walks or climbing, for example. But relaxing massages, relaxing baths, a visit to the sauna, swimming, painting a picture, doing something with friends or just doing nothing can provide a good balance to your stressful everyday life .

Gentle movements like gymnastics are also helpful in reducing stress.

To deal with stress

Even if stress was a positive reaction among our ancestors, which put the body on alert and thus ensured its survival, today it is largely perceived as unpleasant and can put a heavy strain on our well-being in the long term .

However, stress is not always a negative. Positive perception of stress can lead to us being more alert, functioning better and working more effectively . In contrast to distress, the so-called eustress can even feel very satisfying to you.

With sport and relaxation techniques you can prevent and reduce the negative perceived stress. However, if the stress gets out of hand and puts a permanent strain on your body and mind, you shouldn’t be afraid to see a doctor . Too much stress can lead to serious mental and physical illness.

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