The Impact Of Psychosocial Stress On Your Life And How To Cope With It
Stress is a psychological response to something that occurs when thoughts, emotions, and feelings become too overwhelming. Psychosocial stress, the stress least unheard of, is something that affects us the most.
Psychosocial stress occurs when you’re threatened by a specific social situation. For instance, when you feel threatened about your social status, social standing, social acceptance, self-worth among your peers, then it can be considered psychosocial stress. When you experience this, you feel like you’re losing control of your social life.
These stressors can cause a stress response in your body. Many times, psychosocial stressors can make you feel unsupported and socially isolated. This response can make it even more challenging to cope with psychosocial stress.
Psychosocial Stress: How It Affects?
When psychosocial stress is triggered, it creates a stress response where our body releases stress hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and even dopamine. When these hormones are activated, it brings other changes in our body, effectively triggering the fight or flight response.
The changes our body goes through during the stress response can be temporarily beneficial but they can leave lasting effects in the long run. Cortisol, for instance, can increase our energy especially when it comes to fighting or fleeing, however, prolonged release of cortisol can affect the immune system.
Adrenaline, while also helpful in increasing energy levels, can cause psychological and physical harm when you’re not able to control the stress response.
It is crucial to managing stress, psychosocial stress included because any kind of prolonged stress can leave negative and long-lasting effects on our mental, emotional, and physical health.
How To Spot Psychosocial Stress?
Situations, where psychosocial stress can be triggered, can include:
- Social judging or being judged by others
- Social rejection or being isolated from the company of others
- Achievement-oriented stress (caused by being judged by others over one’s performance)
Whatever the cause, psychosocial stress can still cause physical and psychological symptoms that can affect your daily functioning. Symptoms of psychosocial stress can include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Nausea and stomach problems
- Substance abuse
These symptoms can either be temporary or chronic.
Common Examples Of Psychosocial Stress
Psychosocial stress commonly occurs during childhood. But, there are still stressors that may trigger psychosocial stress even in adulthood. Some of the common examples of psychosocial stressors can include:
- Parental divorce or separation
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Being bullied
- Social relationships (friends, peers, coworkers, etc)
- Work evaluation
- Public speaking
- Uprooting to a new place
How To Cope With Psychosocial Stress?
Our social interactions are a part of our life, it can’t be avoided. Psychosocial stress, even though unheard of, can still cause you severe distress. To help you cope with it, here are some strategies:
1. Reframe The Situation
Perspectives matter. A lot. You may not be able to control what happens in your life but you can control your reaction to them. When you face a psychosocial stressor, reframe the situation and put a positive outlook on it. Every coin has two sides and so does every stressful situation. Reframing your stressors can help cope with psychosocial stress better.
2. Physically Relax Yourself
It all depends on how you react. If you can’t reframe the situation, try to keep your body relaxed and mind calm. The more your body and mind respond to the stress response, the more your symptoms will worsen. To avoid escalating your symptoms, try to physically calm yourself down.
3. Reach Out To Your Supportive Relationships
Even if you’re afraid of being judged, you don’t have to let others’ opinions ruin your days. Psychosocial stress can make you socially withdrawn and this can worsen your stress symptoms. To avoid this, reach out to your support system. Having their support can help cope with the stress better.
4. Improve Conflict Resolution Skills
Another thing that can trigger psychosocial stress can be fear of conflict. To avoid the fear of conflict turning into psychosocial stress, you can learn and improve your conflict resolution skills. Try to change your language and reduce negative statements.
5. Try Stress Management Techniques
Stress, no matter the kind, can be quite uncomfortable so to cope with it, try the stress management techniques that work best with you. Learning to manage stress can help you react less to psychological stressors. Try different strategies to find the one that works best for you!
There’s always a social situation that causes stress. If you or someone you care about are struggling with psychosocial stress, you can help by reaching out to a professional counselor. With therapy, you can effectively seek help and learn different ways to cope with psychosocial stress and more.
You Don’t Have To Deal With Stress Alone!
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Share with us in the comments below how you dealt with psychosocial stress.
Take care and stay safe!