You Experience Tightness And Tension In Your Muscles
Anyone else have a really tight and stiff back? When we are stressed, we tend to become really rigid and uptight rather than flexible and fluid.
What to do about it: Give your body some TLC! I love a deep tissue massage or acupuncture. If those arent possible options for you, try some stretching, yoga, or exercises to loosen things up.
How Professional Treatment Helps Most People With Anxiety Disorders
In general, stress is a response to a difficult or alarming situation, whereas anxiety tends to be excessive and may be triggered by events that havent happened. Often, people with anxiety disorders begin to avoid situations that make them fearful, or they may develop panic attacks.
People who struggle with anxiety have a tendency to ruminate or worry excessively about things, accompanied by physical sensations like butterflies in the stomach or heart palpitations, says Dr. Dossett. Of course, these things can happen with stress, too, which is why its important to see a doctor if symptoms persist.
Safer U Survival Guide
The research we support is helping unlock the differences inherent in our DNA. For example, women and men respond to and manage stress in different ways. And, STIs can pose different risks depending on a person’s anatomy. Knowing these differences can prepare you to make healthier choices for your wellbeing. Watch our Safer U Survival Guide videos to learn even more about differences between and among women and men.
For questions, please contact Rick Harrison, Communications Officer at or 203-764-6610.
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What Makes Us Stressed
Many things that can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.
Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.
Possible Causes Of Stress
Stress affects people differently, and the things that cause stress vary from person to person.
The level of stress you are comfortable with may be higher or lower than that of other people around you. Stressful feelings typically happen when we feel we do not have the resources to manage the challenges we face.
Pressure at work, school or home, illness, or difficult or sudden life events can all lead to stress.
Some possible causes of stress are:
- our individual genes, upbringing and experiences
- difficulties in our personal lives and relationships
- big or unexpected life changes, like moving house, having a baby or starting to care for someone
- money difficulties, like debt or struggling to afford daily essentials
- health issues, either for you or someone close to you
- pregnancy and children
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How To Manage Stressors
There are several techniques to successfully manage stress. The next time youre feeling stuck and overwhelmed, try these suggestions from Little Rock, Arkansas-based psychiatrist Rhonda Mattox, M.D.:
- Calm your body. Pay attention to thoughts and breathing patterns. Many times when we are stressed, our breathing patterns shift to rapid and shallow, says Dr. Mattox. Prioritize slowing your breathing down and breathing from your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing has been proven in studies to lower your cortisol and reduce physical signs of stress. This is done by laying on your back or sitting up with one hand just below your ribcage and one on your chest. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through parted lips, and your diaphragm should rise while your chest remains still the entire time.
- Practice your boundary setting to avoid yes stress. Many times we have overcommitted, and that is the main culprit of our stress, Dr. Mattox says. People pleasing is at the root of not feeling comfortable saying no, or yes stress, she adds. Address this tendency honestly to better maintain your personal boundaries. Seeking therapy may help, since guilt and manipulation may affect your inability to say no.
- Break big tasks down into smaller to-dos, and dont be afraid to delegate. Dr. Mattox says the use of planners and journals can be particularly helpful in proactively addressing and managing stressors.
The Consequences Of Long
If we are not taught healthy ways to manage the unpleasant sensations of stress, we might respond with unhealthy self-soothing or even if we do know but we just ‘dont want to deal with it right now’ we might try to ‘escape’ rather than actually deal with the root cause.
Of course some escapism, especially talking to friends or perhaps watching something funny on TV can help restore our emotional balance but at that point it is important to deal with the cause of the stress, otherwise were simply papering over cracks rather than doing anything truly effective to help our own growth.
If we are not taught healthy ways to manage the unpleasant sensations of stress, we might respond with unhealthy self-soothing.
Further, burying negative emotions ie simply ignoring it – can lead to a number of mental health issues. If you never resolve the issue, it can result in ineffective behaviour strategies to cope, such as avoidance of the person, people, or place which causes the discomfort which in turn can lead to isolation, and that can lead to social anxiety, anxiety and depression.
Further, if you do not deal with emotions in a healthy way, you may engage in self-medication to help supress them, such as drugs, alcohol or over-eating and this can have huge physical consequences including detrimental effects on the brain and body.
To overcome and recover from stress try the following tips:
Acknowledge your feelings
Find an outlet
Ask for help
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The Importance Of Exercise For A Healthy Heart
Despite its name, a stress test isnt about stress in the usual sense of the word, though the symptoms that lead to having a stress test might be caused by anxiety. In general, we give patients a stress test when they have risk factors for or symptoms that may indicate heart disease, says Haythe.
A stress test is an imaging study that measures what happens to the heart when the person is put under physical stress, typically when theyre walking on a treadmill whose incline becomes very steep, very quickly. The test puts the heart in a situation where it has a greater demand for oxygen, and heart rate and blood pressure all increase. Thats when we can see if theres an obstruction of blood flow in the arteries that may require cardiac catheterization or another intervention, says Haythe.
Make A Schedule Of Worry
Oftentimes, when things are stressful in our lives, we feel like we need to worry about them all of the time in order to solve them.
Sometimes, that just isnt true.
Say Im worried about future results of a medical test. I can spend my whole day stressed about it, or I can say, okay, I am going to give myself 15 minutes to worry and stress about them at 10:00am, and then after that, no more.
Give yourself permission to bottle up some of that stress into specific time periods so you can spend the rest of your time knowing that you cant do anything to change it and should instead get on with your life.
Its the same thing if youre stressed about a busy schedule or upcoming performance.
Your schedule is only going to get busier if you fill it with stressing out, and the more time you spend stressed, the less time youll have to practice for your performance.
Accept that stress is a natural part of life, but tell it that it only has a few minutes and stick to it.
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Behavioural Symptoms Of Stress
There are a number of potential indicators which suggest that a persons wellbeing is suffering so it might be that someone else points these out or you see them in yourself or others. These signs include:
- Seeming very tired or complaining they arent sleeping.
- Not voicing concerns or stopped talking to management despite an open door policy.
- A change in eating habits eating or drinking more or less than usual- and if eating more – often of high calorie items.
- Susceptibility to illness .
- Not wanting to talk about something is a key behaviour. .
- Getting angry suddenly and out of proportion to what was asked/said can also indicate deeper issues.
- Fidgety or nervous habits such as nail biting.
- Increase in drug or alcohol use.
Then there are the more subtle signs which may need closer observation, for example, slumping or a slower walk, or a lapse in personal grooming.
All of these signs may be indicators of other issues, but they are also commonly related to stress, often because one of the first things to be affected is the sleep pattern which in turn may have further repercussions on concentration, interactions and ability to perform to the standards they would want. It never hurts, if you do notice any of these in others or recognise them in yourself to stop and ask are you/am I really ok?
Stress And Your Health
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. But when stress lasts for a long time, it may harm your health.
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Common Causes Of Stress
These are the top five causes of stress, according to a poll of more than 3,000 U.S. adults by the American Psychological Association :
- Money. 72% of people report being stressed about money. Financial stress can look different for everyone. A college-aged adult may not have to worry about affording children, but the costs of tuition and housing may give them anxiety. Even someone who is gainfully employed may fear losing their retirement savings or their job. Medical expenses are also a burden.
- Job pressure. The top sources of job stress are conflicts with coworkers, work overload and bosses. Its also common to worry about whether youre doing a satisfactory job, and other internal stressors can include fear of failure or perfectionism.
- Health. A health scare or a chronic or terminal illness diagnosis is a major stressor, especially if it comes with debilitating symptoms and side effects. These issues can also add strain to the other top stressors.
- Relationships. The only way around relationship conflict is to not have relationships . Conflicts like divorce, death or even arguments with friends can negatively impact well-being.
Stress Triggers Are The Same For Everybody
Everybody deals with stress differently, so its important to know that youre on a unique journey.
Not only does each person have unique stress triggers, but the symptoms and duration of stress also vary for everybody. Dont let others downplay your stress or try to tell you your feelings associated with stress arent valid.
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The Most Common Physical Symptoms Of Long
While most people have the ability to bounce back from lifes everyday stressors, if stress continues unabated , it can take a serious toll on the body and put you at risk for a number of physical symptoms and other health problems, including:
- Gastrointestinal upset, such as irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, nausea, and pain
- Headaches and jaw pain
- Skin rashes
- Weight gain
Getting Help For Depression
If you think you might be depressed, take a depression screening. Print out the results or e-mail them to yourself and then show them to a counselor or doctor.
To get help, start with your student health center or counseling service on campus. Most community colleges provide limited free mental health services and can refer you to local providers for longer-term treatment. You can also talk to your family doctor. Your local Mental Health America affiliate can refer or in some cases provide services as well. To find the nearest MHA affiliate, call 800-969-6642 or go to Find An Affiliate.
Remember, depression and other mental health conditions are nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is not a sign of weakness, and seeking help is a sign of strength. Telling someone you are struggling is the first step toward feeling better. You will need the help of a mental health professional to beat depression. Talk therapy, antidepressant medication or a combination can be very effective.
In crisis? If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.
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Take A Dog For A Walk
I say take a dog for a walk, because it can be yours or a dog you borrow from a friend, but theres nothing like the constant excitement and unconditional love of a dog that make them great pals when youre stressed.
This fulfills the advice to get out of the house and get some exercise, while also having a bit of a social connection .
Bonus points if you get some doggy cuddles later or go for a splash around in the puddles with them.
It can be one of the best things to do to relax and focus on someone elses needs rather than your own.
Stop Putting Off Exercise
Exercise can help you to feel less stressed in the short run and build your resilience toward stress in the long run. Many people know this but have a difficult time getting off the couch on a regular basis, especially when stressed, or too busy to get onto the couch in the first place.
It’s ironic that sometimes when we would most benefit from exercise, that’s the last thing we want to do. Push yourself to do it!
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Ok Im Stressed What Now
If you frequently feel stress as a result of your daily life, that means youre either susceptible to stress or regularly find yourself in stressful situations. This can be problematic, as chronic stress has had links to many health conditions that develop over time, including heart conditions. Feeling frequently stressed is a good indicator that you may want to reach out for help.
Everybody reacts to stress differently.
If stress is leading to serious physical reactions in your body, you need to learn ways to better control your stress. If you find yourself with physical symptoms as a result of stress, you may want to initiate a conversation with your primary care provider about how stress manifests in your body. Frequent stress headaches, stomach issues, and high blood pressure are all stress reactions that can make it even more difficult to be productive and cope with your stress triggers.
Its common for feelings of stress to go away when stress triggers are resolved. If you finish a big project at work or catch up on all your bills, your symptoms of stress should start to subside.
If your stress doesnt go away or gets worse even after youve worked to resolve it, you may want to consider seeking help.
Create A Spa In Your Bathroom
I dont care if your bathroom is falling apart with black sludge dripping from the ceiling .
You can still create a spa in your bathroom.
Fill up the tub, light some candles, and turn the lights off and just soak and sit.
Do a face mask, put in your favorite smell into a bath bomb, whatever you need to do.
Close the door behind you and pretend youve stepped into a spa at a fancy hotel and dont come out until youre feeling relaxed and ready to take on the world again.
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You Feel Like You Work So Hard All The Time But Hardly Make Any Progress
Theres always more laundry to do and dishes to wash and food to cook. Theres always more work to do and plans to make. When your stressed, it can feel like youre constantly chasing a finish line that keeps getting further and further away.
What to do about it: Decluttering my home and your mind has been really helpful for me to get a handle on everything fighting for my attention. Although Im not a hardcore minimalist, I really love and appreciate minimalism because it allows you to focus on what truly matters, and remove what doesnt. Check out: 12 Powerful Books on Minimalism and Simple Living.
How To Deal With Stress
So how can we cope with stress?
- We can make changes, so that our lives are not so stressful and learn how to deal with stress.
- We can also learn stress management techniques, so that we can deal with the parts of our stressful lives that simply cannot be changed at that time.
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