Stress Articles

Stress is one of the common reasons that people these days feel pressure in day to day activities. In some instances, a small amount of stress may be normal, healthy, and even useful. On the other hand, excessive amounts can lead to both physical and mental disorders that can cause things like depression, anxiety, and other issues.

Below is a variety of informative information that will help with understanding, treating, and dealing with stress on a daily basis.

9 Visualization Techniques For Stress Reduction

Visualization techniques have been used in psychotherapy for a wide range of therapies, including cognitive behavior therapy and memory regression. In recent years, research has...

The 7 Steps Of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing And How They Support Trauma Recovery

Following a critical and life-changing event, individuals often struggle to regain a sense of normalcy and safety. And professional help is sometimes necessary to help people...

How To Better Your Life With An Online Stress Test

Stress. You may feel it right now as you’re reading this. Everyone’s stressed about something, whether it’s a job, school, family, money, or stressed about being stressed. Too...

What Is Duck Syndrome & Are You Suffering From It?

The term “duck syndrome” originates from the idea of a duck looking calm and mild-mannered while gliding on the surface of the water, yet is paddling frantically below the...

Are You Suffering From Emotional Exhaustion?

We often think that emotional exhaustion is something that creeps up on us without much warning. However, our body gives us early warning signs that burnout is about to happen...

What Types Of Stressors Are There And How Can I Deal With Them?

Stress is a part of everyday life; but if most of us had our way, it wouldn’t even exist. We hear the word stress often. People say, ‘I’m under so much stress!’ or ‘I’m...

Acute Stress Disorder – Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

How do you define stress? Isn’t stress just an everyday part of modern living? Yes, that is true. Often, after you go through a particularly stressful situation or event, it...

Causes And Treatment Of Psychosomatic Pain

Derived from psyche (mind) and soma (body), psychosomatic refers to real physical symptoms that are caused by the mind. Unlike hypochondria, in which a patient has a chronic...

Stress Relief: Techniques And Tips To Get Calm Faster

Stress relief is a difficult thing to learn when you’re in the midst of a stressful situation. With the right tips and techniques, you can calm down faster than you might...

Chronic Stress: How It Affects You And How To Get Relief

When you have chronic stress disorder, the stress response becomes your constant companion. In time, it changes the way you think. Eventually, it affects your body, causing poor...

What Are Some Common Techniques For Stress Management?

When stress begins to take its toll on us, friends, family members and coworkers like to chime in about stress management. Stress is such a part of our everyday lives that...

Does Stress Cause Constipation?

What is Stress? Stress is a physical and emotional response to external factors (job, kids, financial strain, and life-changes) and internal factors (pain, illness, anxiety, etc.). It is...

What is stress? Stress is a natural response to a perceived threat. It occurs when you’re under pressure, and you feel on edge. It can trigger adrenaline and make you feel nervous and cause physical symptoms such as shaking, sweating, or an increased heart rate. It could be that you’re overwhelmed by the number of bills you have to pay or the challenges that life throws at you. When the perceived threat or challenge lets up, the stress decreases, and everything returns to normal - that is unless your stress levels are high for an extended period. When that’s the case, emotional stress can trigger physical consequences, such as a heart attack or even sudden death. Stress is a widespread feeling to experience, and it does affect your health. It’s imperative to pay attention to when you're feeling stressed and to seek help if it becomes difficult to manage. Stress is the body’s way of coping with a perceived threat. It’s also what happens when you feel like people are demanding things of you, and you can’t seem to meet those expectations. When you feel like there’s imminent danger, your body goes into overdrive trying to protect yourself. It doesn’t matter whether or not the threat is real or imaginary. You want to protect yourself from something hurting you, and your body jumps in to help. What happens next is what’s called the “fight or flight” response. It’s recently been updated to include “freeze.” You fight the stressful cause, run away from it, or freeze in reaction to it. Your body believes it’s protecting itself. It’s staying alert and on task to protect you from what could cause damage. Stress can also help you rise to meet challenges. It’s what keeps you on your toes during a presentation at work, sharpens your concentration when you’re attempting the game-winning free throw, or drives you to study for an exam when you’d rather be watching TV. However, beyond a certain point, stress stops being helpful and starts causing significant damage to your health, mood, productivity, relationships, and your quality of life. Stress hormones Cortisol Some hormones jump into activity when you are stressed. You release cortisol when you’re stressed. It’s known as the “stress hormone.” Cortisol is a steroid hormone, and our adrenal glands produce it. Once cortisol is released into the bloodstream, that’s when we begin to feel differently. You start to get that fight or flight feeling, and the impulse to act. Your body wants to protect you from danger. The hormone cortisol helps you respond quickly. However, it also has consequences for the body. When you have excess amounts of it in your system, you will metabolize glucose faster than you usually would. If you’re always flooded with cortisol, you can gain weight as a result. Adrenaline Adrenaline is a stress hormone that makes your body more reactive. Your heart starts pumping blood faster than normal. That makes your heart rate increase, and you begin to feel uneasy. Your blood pressure goes up, and your energy supply increases. Together with cortisol, adrenaline gets your body into a state where it’s ready to fight. Pressure points Even something that’s a short-lived stressor on you can have an impact on your mind and body. For example, before taking a test, you might get nauseated or have a stomach ache. Things that are short term can cause an acute stress reaction, so it’s vital that you learn to manage your stress levels. Strategies for minimizing stress It’s important to be in tune with how you’re feeling throughout the day. Monitor your thoughts and feelings. If you notice that something's bothering you, address it. Talk to a friend or go to therapy: these are things that you can do to manage your stress levels. Try to have reasonable expectations for yourself. Don’t put yourself to a standard where you can’t perform, and if you need help with something, ask. Think about your priorities. Sort out the things that you need to complete immediately and set aside the items that can wait a little longer. Relationships can be an extreme source of stress, especially if you feel like someone wants or needs something from you and you’re expected to perform. When stress doesn’t stop (chronic stress) When stress begins to impair your ability to function over a long period, it can be dangerous. The longer that you’re experiencing extreme stress - whether it’s in your mind or body - the worse it is for you. You might have trouble concentrating, feel tired for no reason, and it might contribute to the development of chronic health problems. In some cases, stress can make pre-existing issues worse. Say that you have a preexisting problem with headaches or migraines: stress might make them worse or more frequent. Stress can cause you to engage in self-destructive behaviors, like substance abuse, disordered eating patterns, and so on. You can become sick due to stress, and it can make it more difficult to recover. Long term stressful situations can impact an individual tremendously, and that’s why it’s essential to find techniques that’ll help you cope under stressful circumstances. Signs of stress When you’re experiencing chronic stress, it can take a toll on your mind and body. You might experience anxiety or depression. You can also experience physical symptoms in the body because of high stress levels. It can cause physical and emotional problems. There are times when you may not realize how stressed out you are. However, some physical cues let you know that stress has overwhelmed your physical being, and you need to find a way to relax. How do you know if you're stressed? Here are some symptoms you’ll experience in your body that let you know that stress is affecting you and you need help. Physical symptoms Stomach issues that lead to diarrhea or constipation Memory problems Sexual issues including loss of interest in sex Aches and pains Stiff neck Weight loss Weight gain Headaches or migraines Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol) TMJ or tightness in the jaw Lack of energy Trouble focusing Fatigue Insomnia Oversleeping Upset stomach In addition to the physical signs of stress, there are also emotional symptoms that can let you know that you’re feeling stressed out. Some of the emotional symptoms of stress include the following: Feeling easily frustrated Being moody Being overwhelmed Feeling like you’re losing control Difficulty relaxing Inability to quiet your thoughts Low self-esteem Thoughts of worthlessness Cognitive symptoms of stress include the following: Pervasive worrying Racing thoughts Memory problems or disorganization Trouble focusing Impaired judgment Being pessimistic What you can do to reduce your stress levels It might sound impossible right now, but you can reduce your stress levels and preserve your long term health. To do this, find ways that you can regularly reduce your stress, such as exercising, regular massages, and self-care. Develop a plan where you have a routine so that you’ll feel like things are in your control after all, and when situations arise that are out of control, you can talk to your support system and engage in healthy activities that reduce stress, whatever that means for you. Make a commitment to yourself that you’ll participate in relaxing exercises. For you, maybe that means meditation, yoga, walking, or deep breathing techniques. Doing something that involves both your physical body and conscious mind can reduce your overall stress level and can even boost your immune system. Here are some things that you can integrate into your life to help you minimize the impact of stress: Maintain a regular sleep schedule Getting enough sleep is essential to dealing with stress levels. When you get a good night of sleep, you feel refreshed in the morning, your mind is on point, and you can perform better at school or work. Learn relaxation techniques Relaxation techniques can help you manage stress. Breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga are some of the relaxation techniques that you can try. Make time in your schedule to have fun Make sure that you set aside some time for fun. See a friend regularly, go to a movie or an art museum, take a walk in the woods, or even color. Making time for things that you enjoy will boost your ability to feel better. Build a strong support system Even though you might love to spend time alone, it’s important to have people to talk to so that you can talk about what you’re going through and relieve yourself of some stress. Stress isn’t all bad We usually associate stress as being a bad thing, but not all stress has to be negative. There are times when stress can motivate us to achieve success. It can act as a performance enhancer. For example, some people work better under pressure. That’s the idea of stress being a positive thing. If you need to take an important exam, stress might push you to achieve great results. Because stress pushes your body to act, because of perceived or real danger, it can help save lives. You’re quick to react to a dangerous situation, and your reflexes are on point. Your body is ready to respond in a variety of situations. Your pulse is faster than usual, your heart rate is up, and your brain takes in more oxygen. You’re trying to survive, and you can also support others in the process. Your stressed out state can be the difference between someone living or dying. Chronic stress If stress goes untreated, health problems can arise. Your health can be comprised when stress isn’t recognized or treated by a medical professional including a mental health provider. When stress becomes chronic, it can harm your physical and psychological health. If your body is always in a state of fight or flight, then your body gets tired. Your immune system can become compromised. Your digestive health, sleep, as well as your reproductive systems are impacted by chronic stress. Your body isn’t working like it usually does. Depending on how you respond to stress, it can cause issues in different parts of your body. You might have chronic stomach issues. Maybe you’ll suffer from migraines or become consistently irritable. You might notice that you’re struggling with depression because you can’t seem to control your stress levels. Some people get panic attacks when they’re stressed due to the increased cortisol levels in their system. Stress can impact different people in a variety of ways. Routine stress Routine stress is sneaky. You might not notice it, and then all at once your body is in pain, or you find yourself having anxious racing thoughts. The source of everyday stress is unrelenting. These are stressors that you deal with daily. Routine stress is different than coping with chronic stress. Routine stress can lead to serious health problems if you don’t address the issues it causes. You can develop high blood pressure, for example, that could go on to cause heart disease. Routine stress can lead people to deal with mental health problems such as panic attacks or constant anxiety or depression. That’s why finding ways to cope with stress is extremely important. What can you do about stress? Pay attention to your body's response to stress. If you notice that you’re having trouble sleeping, you’re drinking more or using substances, you find yourself easily angered, or if you feel depressed, it’s time to get help. Talk to your general doctor about your symptoms. Address your health concerns with your provider and if need be, get a referral to a therapist. Exercise Participate in 30 minutes per day of activity. That could be walking, yoga, running or swimming. Do a relaxing activity. Maybe that’s meditation, yoga, or reading. Whatever makes you feel calm. Set Goals and Priorities. Think about what you want to achieve, write your goals down, and start meeting them! Lean on your support system. You don’t have to do this alone. A support system can help you cope with stress. Your friends and loved ones care and want to help. Stress impacts our lives Stress is a natural part of life. Our lives are challenging and undeniably stressful. There are times when stress can seem too much or overwhelming. And there are other moments where it can serve as a motivator. Maybe you’re intent on achieving a goal at work. You want to impress your boss, and the stress you’re under pushes you to perform and do well. However, there are times when stress isn’t helpful and can have a severe effect on your wellbeing. It can negatively impact your health, relationships, career and family life. When we’re experiencing stressful feelings, we can take them out on our loved ones. However, we don’t have to engage in that behavior if we learn to manage our stress appropriately. How stress affects your health Our bodies are biologically wired to fight against stress. When we feel stressed out, the body wants to take action. You don’t have to do anything for it to happen; the nervous system takes over when stress comes on. During a stressful experience, your body reacts. It wants to defend you, so it jumps into action to do so. Your nervous system is ready to fight, releasing stress hormones like cortisol. Your mind and body go into the “fight or flight” stage, and you’re on guard. Your heart rate rises, and you may start to sweat from the hormonal release and your body being pushed to defend you against a potential threat. The body’s biological response to stress is to fight it. It wants to protect you. That’s why hormones are propelled into action and telling your body that something dangerous is happening. Your body and mind typically recover from short-term episodes of stress. However, if you’re exposed to long-term instances of stress, you’ll start to see a decline in your health. Long-term stress or chronic stress Some stressful situations are temporary. Maybe you’re moving to a new house, or you just started a job. These are short-term stressors. Some things cause persistent long-term stress. When stress occurs over time, it can severely impact a person’s wellbeing. Chronic stress can lead to severe health issues such as heart disease, heart attack, ulcers, fertility issues or stomach problems. When your body is continuously releasing stress hormones, it’s put into overdrive. It doesn't have a chance to shut down and heal, which is bound to impact you over time negatively. When you’re consistently stressed out your body’s immune system is compromised, and you’re more prone to illness. That’s why it’s essential to get treatment for chronic stress. When you seek help for stressors in your life, you’re taking care of your body and mind. Stress and the mind-body connection When you experience stress, it’s affecting both your mind and body. Maybe you’re always worrying about something bad happening to you or your family. Perhaps you’re obsessing about getting fired from your job. These are stressful thoughts to cope with on a regular basis. When your mind is preoccupied with worries, your body may suffer as well. You might find that your muscles are in pain and your back and neck may begin to hurt, or you could have numbness or tingling in your body. Stress can affect each in different ways. Regardless of how it impacts you, it’s crucial to seek help for stress so you can learn to manage it. The consequences of ignoring stress are more severe than confronting it. Your health matters and there are ways to get help including counseling. Counseling helps with stress levels One of the best ways to manage stress is seeking the help of a licensed mental health professional. Seeing a therapist or counselor can help people cope with stress. In therapy, a person who is dealing with chronic stress can learn coping strategies, relaxation techniques, and how to minimize the severe effects of stress on the body and mind. An individual dealing with stress can talk out how chronic stress is impacting their family life and relationships. A counselor is trained to teach people ways to cope with stressors and show them how best to deal with the challenges life brings. Things don’t need to stay this way forever, and stress doesn’t have to break you. Seeking professional help might seem daunting at first, but it will provide you with relief and skills that you’ll use for the rest of your life. Stress doesn’t need to have you Stress doesn’t have to hold you hostage. You can take control back and help yourself so that you can cope with stress and live a better life. Look into ways to manage stress that make sense for you. Whether that means going to a meditation class, leaning on your support system or regular exercise, there are ways to manage your stress levels and protect you from feeling burnt out. One of those self-care methods is therapy. You can see a therapist in your local area or work with an online counselor. Online counseling We hope that the information we've compiled related to stress will help you understand the causes of it, and how to cope with these feelings. Whether you’re managing a short-term stressful situation or you’re dealing with chronic stress, there’s hope. If you're interested in speaking with a licensed professional about stressful situations and emotions that you're dealing with, check out the BetterHelp database of professional online counselors who are ready to help you manage your stress.
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