The stress impact: What it is and how to deal

The stress impact: What it is and how to deal

Stripes Korea

Editor’s note: At Stripes Korea, we love to share your stories and share this space with our community members. Here is an article written by Jennifer Brown, a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. If you have a story or photos to share, let us know at korea@stripes.com

 

Stressful situations and lifestyles can carry a significant amount of weight on even the strongest and most agile individual. While working in the medical field, I have come across many who deal with stress both in and out of work daily. Stress can have a serious impact on our health minds and bodies, so here are a few different techniques to deal with stress wherever you may be feeling it.

Tense muscle groups

High stress levels often correlate with tense muscles, particularly in the neck and shoulders. Whether a new, one-time incident of stress, or stress that has accumulated over a series of weeks, I have noticed the effect on my muscles includes gradual tightness and stiffness. For me, when my body gets tight and stiff, I end up compensating with awkward and uncomfortable positions. If you suffer from tense muscles, for quick relief, massages, yoga, or stretching may help to reduce muscle strain. This is especially helpful if you are sitting at a computer or desk for hours. If these at-home or topical techniques do not improve your condition, it might be a good idea to seek professional support.

Losing motivation and perspective

There are times when in a stressful situation, I will lose my focus and not be able to see other perspectives but my own. This closed-mindedness can lead to lost opportunities for self-improvement or even for circumventing the stress to begin with. Conflicts often require stepping back and seeing things clearly with a non-biased perspective. To do this, taking a break from the stressful environment might be the best option. A walk for a breath of fresh air could be enough to give your body and mind a reboot to go back in and deal with the issue at hand. Likewise, having someone to speak to or even addressing the problem with your leadership can be just the step necessary to help make the change in the stressful environment. However, if these things are not possible, perhaps go back to the basics and look for just one thing out of your day that you find enjoyable; even if it is just arriving back home.

Mood swings

Changes in mood and behavior may be another indication of a stress response. In my experience, mood changes may go hand-in-hand with losing motivation and perspective. Being unhappy with a circumstance has resulted in not only in me losing motivation, but also the confidence to find the positives in my situation. One technique I found that has helped me with this is keeping a journal of my mood and the events during that time. I actually learned this technique in one of my psychology classes. I found that when I wrote down the events and circumstances that surrounded my positivity, it helped me see what things I wanted out of life. This was especially helpful for me to see what environmental, and emotional and psychological factors were at play during stressful events.

With all this in mind, remember that finding a way to de-stress is possible! In fact, de-stressing is essential to your success in any work or home environment. While the effects of stress are numerous and demanding, there are many ways to rise up in spite of them. It is good for your health to know your body, what triggers you, and what works best for you on how to handle it.

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Jennifer Brown is a hospital corpsman at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa. Originally from Florida, she joined the Navy in 2018, and has been on island for over a year. During her free time Brown enjoys spending time with animals, running, rock climbing, and hiking. She is an alumni of the University of Central Florida, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Her professional interests include social work, animal welfare, and children.

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