Stress in Singapore
Many people in Singapore deal with circumstances that can be stressful and trigger intense emotional responses. Stress is how your body reacts to something hard, demanding or unfamiliar. Stress can be caused by anything from small annoyances to big changes like getting divorced , losing a job, dealing with clients or making big financial decisions. Even happy occasions like getting married can lead to stress as it results in new and unfamiliar circumstances, and new responsibilities. A survey carried out by Cigna in 2019 revealed that 92% working Singaporeans feel stressed. This is substantially higher than the global average of 84%.
What Happens When We Feel Stressed?
When we feel stressed, our body releases two types of hormones — adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is commonly called the “fight-or-flight” hormone. Its release can cause increase in our heart rate, breathing and blood sugar levels. Blood flow is also diverted to our muscles from the digestive system. On the other hand, when we feel threatened, cortisol is released. Energy is redirected from other parts of our body to the brain to deal with the threat. Our cortisol levels return back to normal once the threat has been dealt with. If we are under constant stress, an excessive amount of cortisol can result and this could lead to health problems.
Possible adverse impacts of prolonged stress include:
- Reduced immunity
- Worsening of asthmatic conditions
- Higher blood pressure (can result in increase in risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney problems)
- Stomach ulcers, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea
- Burnout, depression or mental breakdown
Manage Stress For Physical And Mental Health
To prevent stress from getting out of control, we can take active steps to reduce or manage the level of stress in our life.
Be Self- Aware
The first step to solving a problem is to recognise that we are facing a problem. We should be conscious about how we are feeling, and when we identify that we are under stress, it should be acknowledged and not brushed off.
Improve Our Time Management
Perpetually rushing to meet deadlines or juggle our tasks at work or at home can be stressful!. Carefully planning out our day and our week with a to-do list or can calendar can help us to be more organised. When we feel more in control, our stress level will decrease.
Take Time Out For Ourselves And Family
Another good way to reduce stress is to put aside time off for activities that we enjoy, such as walking at the park, reading a book, or even just having a relaxing afternoon tea. We can also spend more time to enjoy life with family and loved ones to life our spirits.
Remember That No Man Is An Island
No man is an island, and there will be times when we need to reach out to those around us for support. At the workplace, we can see if it is possible to speak to our reporting officer to adjust our workload or for advice on how to succeed at challenging tasks. We can also engage with colleagues for mutual support and encouragement.
Meditation For Stress Control
Meditation is an excellent approach to shutting off the troubles of daily life. We can use one of the many guided meditations (such as this) that are easy to find online to help us to relax for a few minutes each day.
Deep breathing slows down the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls how the body responds to a perceived threat. Take deep breaths that inhale on a count of five, hold for two seconds, and then exhale on a count of five. This can help us feel less stressed or anxiety.
Eat Healthy And Exercise
A healthy body may support a healthy mind, and vice versa. Exercise is a good way to reduce stress and improve the quality of life as a whole. Simple exercises that are good for relieving stress include brisk walks around the neighbourhood, nature hike, cycling, and even yoga! Furthermore, maintaining a healthy diet ensures that our body receives the necessary vitamins and minerals to keep our immunity strong.
Control Our Social Media Time
Spending too much time on social media can be stressful because of what we can see there and because we might be better off spending time with friends and family, going outside to enjoy the weather, or reading a great book.
Avoid The Use Of Nicotine And Tobacco Products
Users describe nicotine as a stress reliever. But nicotine makes our body feel more stressed because it makes us more physically alert while slowing down our blood flow and breathing.
Seek Help To Manage Stress
If you need assistance to manage your stress, the National Council of Social Service can lend a helping hand. They provide an interactive platform called Belle, Beyond the Label. This service allows users to conveniently find the mental health resources and services they need in privacy.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.