What is Stress?
Stress is a natural response to the demands of everyday life that we all experience. While some stress is beneficial, too much can have an adverse effect on mental and physical health. Left unchecked, stress can be a risk factor for many health problems such as heart disease, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and psychological disorders. The key to alleviating stress is to recognize its symptoms. This can be difficult since most of us are so accustomed to feeling stress that we don’t realize the severity of it until it’s too late. Everyone at some point has struggled with managing stress – if you are finding it difficult to handle, it may be time to get support.
Is Stress all Bad?
Not all stress is negative – in fact, it is a necessary part of our lives. Feelings of stress for short periods of time can be beneficial. Stress can be a motivator to accomplish tasks and keep us focused. In times of extreme danger, stress primes our bodies to react in the “fight” or “flight” reaction to keep us from harm and is necessary to ensure our survival. Short-lived periods of stress are our bodies’ way to help us through difficult situations. However, exposure to overwhelming and habitual stress can become harmful. Chronic stress can lead to detrimental effects on our physical, emotional and mental health.
What are Signs of Stress?
Recognizing symptoms and signs of stress are the first step to help manage it. Stress can manifest as physical symptoms and effect your thoughts, feelings and behavior. Chronic psychological stress has been shown to lead to anxiety, depression, and is attributed to serious physical and mental health conditions. Signs of not coping with stress can include: excessive anxiety, irritability, fatigue, inability to concentrate, changes in sleep or eating patterns and feeling physically unwell (muscle tension or pain, stomach upset and frequent sickness). Many people do not seek help to help with managing stress, instead accepting it as an inescapable part of today’s fast-paced world.
How can Counselling Help?
Therapy can help clients find coping strategies to better manage stress. Stress doesn’t have to adversely affect you if you learn tools to manage it. A therapist can work with you to find the most suitable interventions to manage stress that best meets your needs. Learning to handle stress can lead to increased moods, a positive mindset, and a better sense of health and well-being that impact many facets of life.
Can, Y. S., Iles-Smith, H., Chalabianloo, N., Ekiz, D., Fernández-Álvarez, J., Repetto, C., Riva, G., & Ersoy, C. (2020). How to Relax in Stressful Situations: A Smart Stress Reduction System. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 8(2), 100. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare8020100
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