How to avoid stress in our turbulent times – psychologists’ tips

16 February 2022, 01:31 PM

In the last month, tensions in Ukraine have skyrocketed. No sooner was another wave of the coronavirus pandemic upon the country, than unsetting news came from the east – more than a 100,000 Russian troops were massing on the border.

The regular intelligence reports from Western countries could send anyone into a panic. And while Ukrainian oligarchs are leaving the country altogether, average citizens can only think about moving to Lviv or stocking up on buckwheat and sheltering in place.

This is already having effects – in Lviv the number of real estate transactions has increased by 25%. Demand for buckwheat is also growing, as measured by a query analysis in Google Trends.

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In general, there is a mood of restrained panic. Despite the fact that the country's authorities are struggling to calm the public, urging them to keep their cool in a “war of nerves,” many citizens are now keeping a bag packed just in case, and constantly keeping an eye on the news.

There's nothing wrong with being prepared. After all, the war against Russia in Ukraine didn’t start yesterday, which means it’s worth having a back-up plan. But it is also important to keep calm in stressful situations, so NV Shopping has prepared a small educational program that will help you keep your cool in the current challenging environment.

How to recognize stress?

The first step to solving a problem is to recognize it. Stress can be cumulative and affect your physical and mental health, so it's important to be able to recognize it.

The following signs may show if you’re under stress:

• experiencing anxiety, uneasiness, irritability;

• feeling tired and overwhelmed;

• have difficulty concentrating and/or memory;

• you find it hard to relax;

• suffer from insomnia;

• notice changes in eating habits: loss of appetite or an uncontrollable desire to eat;

• notice a weakening or loss of sexual desire;

• you suffer from nausea or diarrhea.

The Mental Health Foundation lists these as the most common symptoms of stress. And advises taking action for those who experience them for a long time or regularly enough that they affect their quality of life.

How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety

Jennifer Casarella, MD, a graduate of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in the United States, says you can overcome stress with the help of simple things.

1. A positive attitude and acceptance of things you cannot change;

2. Control of aggression. In discussions, you can be firm and persistent, but make sure that it does not grow into obsession;

3. Analyze your daily routine and optimize the time you spend on work and household chores. Find at least a couple of hours a week for hobbies and entertainment;

4. Avoid abuse of alcohol and tobacco, do not take drugs. These substances are toxic, which is bad in itself, and even more so for the depressed psyche;

5. Get support from loved ones. Restore lost contacts and find new ones, loneliness is your enemy when under stress;

6. Consult a qualified specialist. If you don't have a good psychologist in mind, at least read a couple of books about stress. This will allow you to better understand the problem;

7. Get involved in sports. Physical fatigue helps to ease the nervous system – besides, this way you will avoid many health problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

Can stress be useful?

According to Dr. Casarella, stress, anxiety and even depression are quite normal occurrences that arise as a reaction to negative events and can motivate us to solve problems. This is called eustress – a state that is a kind of challenge for us.

If you do not accept the challenge for any reason, eustress will develop into distress, that is, bad stress. This is a mental state in which the human psyche is suppressed for a long time. It can be dealt with, but sometimes you must consult a specialist.

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