What Can Prolonged Stress Lead To
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.3 This means it is important to manage your stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to your body and mind.
Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
Get A Hug From A Loved One
Physical touch can do a lot to relieve your stress. Hugging a loved one can be especially beneficial.
When you hug someone, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.
Oxytocin also causes a reduction in blood pressure. It reduces the stress hormone norepinephrine and can produce a sense of relaxation.
So don’t be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It’s good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
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Keep A Thought Diary And Challenge Any Negative Thinking
Writing down what youre worrying about can help you to clear your head and reduce stress and anxiety. You could keep a journal or have a notes file in your phone, and write down your thoughts whenever youre feeling anxious. Its almost like youre transferring them out of your head and into your journal.
Doing this can also help you to see what youre thinking about more clearly and to challenge negative thinking. If youre having trouble challenging your thinking, you could try asking someone you trust or a therapist to help you out.
Further Health And Wellbeing Support
Within the university
- Counselling and Psychological Services – CAPS provides free, confidential professional counselling to currently enrolled students and staff. During business hours , you can contact CAPS .
- For mental health support and advice outside of business hours , you can contact the University’s Mental Health Crisis Support Service .
- SecondBite – the University is partnering with SecondBite, a local not-for-profit organisation, to deliver healthy and free meals to students.
Other phone or online counselling support services outside the university
- Lifeline – provides crisis counselling and suicide prevention services. Phone: 13 11 14 . Lifeline online chat.
- Suicide Call Back Service – provides online and phone counselling if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Phone: 1300 659 467. Suicide Call Back Service online chat.
General counselling and mental health support
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How Can I Identify The Signs Of Stress
Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your life, health and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it as soon as possible, and while stress affects everyone differently, there are common signs and symptoms you can look out for:15
- feelings of constant worry or anxiety
- feelings of being overwhelmed
7. Dont be too hard on yourself
- Try to keep things in perspective.
- Remember that having a bad day is a universal human experience
- When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said
- If you stumble or feel you have failed, dont beat yourself up
- Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive
- Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself
Now, we would like to move on to a more detailed look at the causes and effects of stress. In this section we will focus on the effects prolonged stress has on your body, behaviour and emotions, and look at key causes such as relationships, money, work, alcohol and drug use.
Emotional First Aid Kit
An emotional first aid kit can provide an immediate, although temporary, positive effect on the way we think and feel. Having an emotional first aid kit readily available can help people who are struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, low self esteem, or other mental and emotional issues.
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Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
So How Do You Identify Stress
There are several symptoms of stress. These include but are not limited to:
- Trouble sleeping or feeling tired
Image by John Hain from Pixabay
It might seem like stress is taking over your life but there are some things that you can do to try and reduce stress and cope better with your anxiety .
Here are the 10 tips to help you better manage your stress and anxiety:
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Avoid Drugs Alcohol And Stimulants
Stimulants are chemicals that excite your nervous system, making it work faster and harder. Using stimulants can worsen your anxiety symptoms, so cutting these out can help you to manage your anxiety. Some of the most common stimulants are:
- caffeine, which is found in coffee and tea
- nicotine, which is found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, chews and vape pens
- drugs such as cocaine.
Its ideal to avoid alcohol and drugs in general when youre experiencing anxiety. If youre using substances to feel better or to relax, you might become dependent on them and they could make you feel worse in the long run.
Strategies To Help You Cope
To help cope with the stress and anxiety of parenting, it is important to remember that just about every parent thinks about these types of things and even worries about them from time to time, no matter how smart their kids are, how much money they have, or how bright their futures may seem.
And worrying about our kids and their future isn’t even a new thing. The book Anxious Parents: A History of Modern Childrearing describes polls in the 1930s in which parents ranked their long lists of worries and describes the 20th century as a “century of anxiety about the child and about parents’ own adequacy.”
Unfortunately, we haven’t broken out of that cycle of parenting anxiety in the 21st century. You can get help and try to be a less anxious, stressed parent by starting to:
Most importantly, remember that there is no magic formula for parenting success. Your child could be the most popular, the smartest in the school, or a star athlete but that doesn’t mean that they will grow up to be happier, get in less trouble, or be more successful than any other kid.
The best we can likely do is to raise our kids so that they feel loved, are happy and healthy, and develop as much self-confidence as they can so they can then build on their strengths and interests.
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Help Others With Their Anxiety
Here are a few things you can do to help someone who is overwhelmed or anxious:
1)Listen to them. Just listen to everything they have to say because this may help relieve some of that stress/anxiety.
2) After listening, do not try and compare how stressful your life is to theirs. This is creating a competition and you do not want that. Just listen and be respectful.
3) Reassure them that the situation will pass. I like to say something like you have survived 100% of the hardships in your life. You will get through this. Often times, saying this will even calm yourself down quite a bit. Its a win-win.
4) Introduce them to meditation. This one is pretty self explanatory. Check out my guide on how to get started
5) Offer to go on a walk with them and show them how exercise is an amazing way to reduce these feelings. When nothing else works, I go for a very long walk. The more rigorous the exercise, the better you will feel afterwards.
6) If they are really struggling, support them to seek professional help. Seeking help is one of the bravest things anyone can do and it is worth it. Online-Therapy and Talkspace are always great choices. Betterhelp is another service that is well worth it as well.
7) Help them identify triggers or identify what is causing so much stress. Let them talk through it because they may realize that its not as bad as their mind is making it out to be.
Tips To Manage Stress
We all have stress at work, at home and on the road. Sometimes we can feel especially stressed because of a bad interaction with someone, too much work or everyday hassles like getting stuck in traffic.
Chronic stress can keep you from feeling and performing your best mentally, physically and emotionally. But no ones life is completely stress-free. Its important to know how to manage the stress in your life. These three simple techniques will help you deal with stress.
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Is It Stress Or Anxiety
Life can be stressfulyou may feel stressed about performance at school, traumatic events , or a life change. Everyone feels stress from time to time.
What is stress? Stress is the physical or mental response to an external cause, such as having a lot of homework or having an illness. A stressor may be a one-time or short-term occurrence, or it can happen repeatedly over a long time.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is your body’s reaction to stress and can occur even if there is no current threat.
If that anxiety doesnt go away and begins to interfere with your life, it could affect your health. You could experience problems with sleeping, or with your immune, digestive, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems. You also may be at higher risk for developing a mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression. Read more about anxiety disorders.
So, how do you know when to seek help?
Managing Stress In Daily Life
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.
There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.
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When To See Your Gp About Your Stress Levels
If you’ve tried self-help techniques and they aren’t working, you should go to see your GP. They may suggest other coping techniques for you to try or recommend some form of counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
If your stress is causing serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, you may need to take medication or further tests.
Perceived Stress Scale *
How stressful do you perceive events in your life to be? This scale helps to answer this. For example, people with higher scores on the PSS might be more vulnerable to symptoms of depression from stressful life events.
* You may take the test as many times as you like. The data is used to score your results and CAMH will not be able to link the results back to you in any way. CAMH stores results from all tests and may use the anonymous aggregate data from results to look at general trends in use of the test, general trends in overall results over time, average scores, and other similar patterns.
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Do Something With Your Hands
Do you ever get that never-ending loop of negative thoughts and what-ifs playing in your head? That’s because stress likes to mess with your mind. A surefire and fun way to get out of your head is to engage in activities that put the focus on your hands or body , Kathleen Hall, a health educator and the founder and CEO of the Stress Institute, an Atlanta-based facility that offers programs on stress management and work-life balance, tells Health. As your hands and fingers begin to fall into those familiar rhythmic moves, it sends a signal to your brain that immediately relaxes you and makes you feel grounded. So immerse yourself in a creative, engaging activity and get ready to press the mute button.
How To Cope With Test Anxiety
This article was co-authored by Ted Dorsey, MA. Ted Dorsey is a Test Prep Tutor, author, and founder of Tutor Ted, an SAT and ACT tutoring service based in Southern California. Ted earned a perfect score on the SAT and PSAT in high school. Since then, he has earned perfect scores on the ACT , SAT Subject Test in Literature , and SAT Subject Test in Math Level 2 . He has a BA in English from Princeton University and a MA in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 23,588 times.
Its natural to feel some anxiety before a big exam, and it can actually help provide motivation and focus. However, if youre feeling excessive test anxiety, you may find it difficult to prepare properly and do your best on test day. Following a consistent, focused, and healthy test prep schedule can really cut back on your anxiety before the exam. You can also use simple strategies to help you cope with anxiety on test day.
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Try Supplements Or Change Your Diet
Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.
- kava kava
- dark chocolate
However, it can take up to three months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If youre taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor.
Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
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Pay Attention To Your Eating
Like alcohol or drugs, food often becomes a crutch when coping with difficult times. Soothing your pain with high-calorie, high-sugar, or high-fat comfort foods feels good at first, but it can quickly spiral out of control when your mind and body begin to associate negative emotions with eating. At the first sign of stress, anger, or sadness you’ll instinctively reach for food rather than dealing with the feelings at hand. Overeating can also make you feel bloated and sluggishand that’s not going to do your mental health any favors, Smith says. Instead, he says, focusing the bulk of your diet on “reasonable portions of healthy food” can help you stay clear-headed so you can better tackle the stressors ahead. And, Smith adds, if you happen to have some junk food in the mix, it’s OKjust as long as it’s not your go-to when you feel frazzled.