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.
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.
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.
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Do Men And Women Experience Stress Differently
Contrary to popular belief that women are more stressed-out and anxious than men, doctors say that there is no clear evidence that there is a gender difference when it comes to stress. I do think that women may be more likely to seek out help, says Dr. Gupta.
Yet the APA survey suggests that women are more likely to report feeling stressed than are men. Women say they have experienced a slight increase in their stress levels in the past year: On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being little or no stress and 10 being a great deal of stress, women went from 5.0 in 2016 to 5.1 in 2017 in contrast, mens stress dipped, from 4.6 in 2016 to 4.4 in 2017. The survey also found that men and women get stressed out by different things. Women are likelier to say they feel stress about hate crimes, wars and conflicts, and terrorism than men do.
Whatever symptoms of stress youre feeling or what may be causing them, its important to find stress relief to prevent both short- and long-term health problems related to stress. Find out how to do that here.
You Feel Exhausted All The Time
Feeling stressed really takes a toll on your mind and body. If your body perceives that its in danger, its going to have to work twice as hard to stay alert and keep you safe. It can also be really hard to get quality sleep when youve got so much on your mind!
What to do about it: Mindfulness and meditation can help you get into that deeper relaxed state. Try listening to a guided meditation before you fall asleep.
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Symptoms Of Stress During Pregnancy
Pregnant or not, a body under stress experiences physical and chemical changes. Some of the most common symptoms of stress during pregnancy include the following:
- An increase in cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels, whether youre aware of it or not
- An increase in heart rate or heart palpitations
- A feeling of worry, frustration, anger or sadness
- Loss of interest in being around other people
- Excessive need to be around other people, or feeling scared to be alone
How Do I Know If I’m Too Stressed
The key to stress management is finding the right balance between productive stress and stress that makes you feel overwhelmed and unproductive.
You can look out for physical signs of stress as well. Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released by your body and cause your heart to beat faster and your breathing to quicken. Your stomach may feel uneasy, your muscles may tense up and your skin can become sensitive.
All of these are signs that your body is preparing for a fight or flight situation. These feelings should pass soon after the stressful situation is over. If they dont pass, it may be a sign that you are too stressed.
The point where stress is no longer productive is different for everyone, but you can look out for the following clues:
- feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope
- feeling on edge or unable to stop worrying
- changes in sleep patterns, feeling exhausted
Sometimes internal stress can be brought on by anxiety, depression or self-criticism. Talking negatively about yourself and feeling as though you are never living up to your own or others expectations can be very stressful and can strain your mental and physical health.
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Build A Support Network
While relationships can sometimes be a source of prolonged stress, having supportive people in your life to lean on also acts as an important buffer against acute and chronic stress. Research has found that social support is critical for both physical and mental health.
Not only does support help people become more resilient, but it also helps protect people from developing mental disorders related to stress and trauma. For example, one study found that social support helped reduce the effects of stress on symptoms of depression.
Finding support doesn’t mean you need to have an enormous network. The American Psychological Association suggests that having a handful of friends and family members can provide the emotional support you need to better manage your stress.
You Feel Tired All The Time
Feeling exhausted after a busy day is one thing. But feeling tired all the damn time, and for no reason at all? Well, that’s something else entirely. This form of unexplained sleepiness may be a sign of adrenal fatigue, which occurs when your adrenal glands become overtaxed with cortisol, Dr. Stephen Wander tells me. The constant stress can cause you to feel worn out, even when you really shouldn’t be that tired.
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Physical Signs Of Stress
While stress may start with the mind, there are countless ways it appears in the body as well, such as sweaty palms or difficulty sleeping.
Stress impacts multiple systems in the body, primarily targeting the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular and immune systems. When a stressful event occurs and creates a reaction, it sends a wave of changes through these systems, preparing the fight or flight response. The body then releases stress hormones and creates a new pattern of energy distribution, sending more energy to skeletal muscles and the brain. The body also activates cells in the immune system, while functions like digestion, growth and sexual hormones are put on hold to reserve energy. This is why a person might feel a change in appetite and a lower sexual drive when experiencing excessive stress. Chronic stress can result in consistent high blood pressure and vascular hypertrophy. Both conditions put stress on the heart and can damage the arteries and create plaque buildup.
Other common physical symptoms of stress, according to The American Institute of Stress, include:
However, not all signs of stress are bad. In some cases, stress helps the body prepare for danger. In others, such as in an emergency, during an important event, or while taking a test, stress helps motivate the body and mind, allowing a person to remain alert.
If you feel overwhelmed by physical symptoms of stress, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to discuss treatment.
Ibuprofen Is Your Favorite Afternoon Snack
When you worry a lot, muscles on the scalp and back of your head tense up, which may trigger stress-related headaches, says Kathleen Hall, Ph.D., founder and CEO of The Mindful Living Network and The Stress Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. Stress also has a way of making you clench the muscles in your neck, shoulders, and back, leading to soreness. Too bad you cant expense a massage.
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What Are Some Strategies For Stress Relief
You cant avoid stress, but you can stop it from becoming overwhelming by practicing some daily strategies:
- Exercise when you feel symptoms of stress coming on. Even a short walk can boost your mood.
- At the end of each day, take a moment to think about what youve accomplished not what you didnt get done.
- Set goals for your day, week and month. Narrowing your view will help you feel more in control of the moment and long-term tasks.
- Consider talking to a therapist or your healthcare provider about your worries.
Can Stress During Pregnancy Hurt My Baby
Regular, everyday stress during pregnancy, such as stressing to make a work deadline or finish the babys nursery, wont hurt your baby.
But extreme , chronic and long-term stress can, in some cases, increase the risk of:
- Developmental delays in the baby
Babies born too soon or too small can face more complications than full-term, normal-weight newborns.
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You Having Trouble Sleeping Well
If you find yourself waking up and worrying or ruminating over things, it could be a sign of anxiety or depression, says Dr. Colgan. After a long day, sleep should come easy and getting into bed should finally be a time when you can shut your brain off. If you feel tired but have a difficult time falling asleep, its possible you have stress-related fatigue.
What to do: Talk to your doctor if this is regular occurrence. Discuss whether your chronic stress may have led to depression, says Dr. Colgan. When youre not sleeping well, everyday annoyances might make you feel even more overwhelmed and frustrated because youre more vulnerable. A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness, says Tuit. She suggests addressing your sleep issues by asking yourself if youre getting six or more hours of sleep each night. If not, determine whats interfering with that. Cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages and increasing exercise can also improve sleep patterns, she says.
Do Women React To Stress Differently Than Men Do
Yes, studies show that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of stress. Women who are stressed are more likely than men who are stressed to experience depression and anxiety.21 Experts do not fully know the reason for the differences, but it may be related to how mens and womens bodies process stress hormones. Long-term stress especially is more likely to cause problems with moods and anxiety in women.22
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Stress Symptom: Bleeding Gums
According to a Brazilian analysis of 14 past studies, stressed-out people have a higher risk of periodontal disease. Chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may impair the immune system and allow bacteria to invade the gums, say researchers. If you’re working long hours and eating dinner at your desk, keep a toothbrush on hand. And “protect your mouth by exercising and sleeping more, which will help lower stress,” says Preston Miller, DDS, past president of the American Academy of Periodontology.
You Look A Little Worn Out
I think we can all agree everyone looks better when they’re relaxed. So, of course, the opposite is true, too. If you’ve been hella stressed, it can start to show up on your face in the form of haggardness and wrinkles. This is due to increased inflammation and free radical production, Schreiber tells me, which “exacerbate the aging process.”
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How Can I Prevent Stress
Its not always possible to prevent stress altogether life can be stressful. If you remember that some stress can be positive and motivating, you can aim to find the right balance between productive stress, and an unhelpful level of stress.
Making sure you have time to relax each day will also help prevent a build-up of tension in your body and your mind.
Daily exercise can have many benefits for your overall health and wellbeing, including reducing stress. Something as simple as going for a walk or taking part in a team sport can also improve your mental health, and help prevent feeling stressed.
Spend time learning what triggers your stress and try to understand why this is. Structured problem solving is another form of psychological therapy that can then help prevent your stress from escalating, as you identify ways to solve the problems that trigger your stress.
While preventing stress altogether may not be a realistic goal, you can go a long way towards managing your stress, by recognising what causes your stress and practicing a range of stress-reducing techniques that work for you, and seeking help before you feel overwhelmed.
Signs And Symptoms Of Stress Overload
The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You dont notice how much its affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. Thats why its important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.
- Other mental or emotional health problems
- Chest pain, rapid heart rate
- Loss of sex drive
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawing from others
- Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits
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Youre Having Trouble Concentrating
When youre too overwhelmed to focus on whats in front of you, it could be a sign youre overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to shrinking of the hippocampus, the brains memory center, says Tuit. Studies have shown that long-term stress stimulates growth of the proteins that might cause Alzheimers disease.
What to do: If you find that youre experiencing this during the workday, taking a few long inhales and exhales can help. Deep, even breathing not only affects whether or not our thoughts control us or we control them. It also affects the bodily sensations that are experienced when faced with a high-stress situation, says Tuit. This type of breathing can help control the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension, she says.
Improving Your Ability To Handle Stress
Get moving. Upping your activity level is one tactic you can employ right now to help relieve stress and start to feel better. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially if you exercise mindfully .
Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress when youre feeling agitated or insecure. Even just a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe your nervous system. So, spend time with people who improve your mood and dont let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life. If you dont have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.
Engage your senses. Another fast way to relieve stress is by engaging one or more of your sensessight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement. The key is to find the sensory input that works for you. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.
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