What If I Feel Overwhelmed By Stress
Practicing better stress management is a good idea for everyone, but its easy to neglect this form of self-care until it reaches a point where youre overwhelmed. If the negative effects of your stress level are seriously impacting your life, and youre not sure where to start in addressing the problem, there are a few things that you can try that may help.
One strategy is to drop one of your existing activities, leaving you with more time and more flexibility in balancing your other obligations. As weve covered previously in our blog post Managing Extracurriculars: A Guide to Strategic Quitting, its better for you be involved in fewer activities in higher-quality ways than to spread yourself too thin and burden yourself with an excessive amount of stress.
Talking to people you trust can also help. Your friends are likely going through similar issues, and will be able to relate. Your parents, who know you well, may have advice thats particularly targeted to your needs. Your guidance counselor is trained to assist high school students with issues like these and can help you access resources at your school and in your community.
Can Stress Be Positive
Research has shown that stress can sometimes be positive. It can make you more alert and help you perform better in certain situations.2 However, stress has only been found to be beneficial if it is short-lived.
Excessive or prolonged stress can contribute to illness such as heart disease3 and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.4
How To Deal With Stress
You’re not born knowing how to deal with stress. Instead, you slowly learn over time what does and doesn’t work for youmostly.
While stress is a normal part of life, it’s still tough to live through. And sometimes you get thrown curveballs you haven’t deal with before. While some research has shown that short bursts of stress can be good for you, a new study out of Ohio State University and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that dealing with persistent, long-term stress can actually change your genes, leading to an increase in inflammation that can bring on a variety of health issues.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to learn how to cope with stress the right way. Also, it’s nearly impossible to fully banish stress from your life. “Over the course of a lifetime, everyone will be confronted with various types of stress,” Monifa Seawell, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in Atlanta, tells Health. “Because of this, it’s important to develop healthy ways to manage stress.”
These are the best, expert-backed ways to de-stress right now.
Read Also: Can You Die From Anxiety And Stress
Tip : Identify The Sources Of Stress In Your Life
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isnt as straightforward as it sounds. While its easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving, or going through a divorce, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated. Its all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels.
Sure, you may know that youre constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe its your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
- Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you cant remember the last time you took a breather?
- Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality ?
- Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your journal or use a stress tracker on your phone. Keeping a daily log will enable you to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
Socioeconomic Status And Identity
Social psychological analyses of identity have traditionally not paid much attention to social class or SES as a component of identity. Instead, the focus has been on categories such as race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality and age. Easterbrook, Kuppens, and Manstead analysed data from two large, representative samples of British adults and showed that respondents placed high subjective importance on their identities that are indicative of SES. Indeed, they attached at least as much importance to their SES identities as they did to identities more commonly studied by self and identity researchers. Easterbrook and colleagues also showed that objective indicators of a person’s SES were robust and powerful predictors of the importance they placed on different types of identities within their selfconcepts: Those with higher SES attached more importance to identities that are indicative of their SES position, but less importance on identities that are rooted in basic demographics or related to their sociocultural orientation .
Thus, despite SES receiving relatively scant attention from self and identity researchers, there is converging quantitative and qualitative evidence that SES plays an important role in structuring the selfconcept.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Dandruff From Stress
Signs And Symptoms Of Too Much Stress
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain caused by adverse circumstances.
At one point or another, most people deal with feelings of stress. In fact, one study found that 33% of adults reported experiencing high levels of perceived stress (
The condition is associated with a long list of physical and mental symptoms.
This article will look at 11 common signs and symptoms of stress.
Treatment For High Stress
There are some cases where you can treat high stress at home without medical intervention, but this typically only works for temporary bouts of high stress. Techniques to help you cope with short-term anxiety and high stress include:
Stress management by limiting potential triggers
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga
Getting regular exercise, which reduces inflammation and helps you to release stress from the day
Eating a balanced diet full of antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage associated with high stress
A lack of sleep is also proven to increase the production of stress hormones, so getting restful sleep so your body can recharge is essential.
Limiting caffeine and alcohol, which can exacerbate symptoms of stress and anxiety
Making time for hobbies, and allowing time to enjoy and relax
Having a support network to talk about stressful events
For chronic high stress, more intense treatment is needed, such as counseling and medications. Counseling can help with psychological causes of high stress and anxiety by helping the person to identify what is triggering the stress. In doing so, they can change the patterns of behavior and thoughts that cause stress.
Medications like antidepressants and benzodiazepines can also help to reduce stress at a chemical level in the brain. By changing the neurotransmitter levels in the brain, symptoms of high stress can be reduced.
You May Like: How To Eliminate Stress Eating
Questions To Ask Yourself
Whos in my support network? Everyone should have people in their life who are positive influences, support providers, and role models for healthy living. They can be friends, family members, mentors, spiritual leaders, colleagues, and mental health professionals.
What activities do I enjoy? Your work might be enjoyable, but everyone needs hobbies that arent about competition or personal accomplishment. What helps ease your worries and makes you more mindful about your body? These activities might include reading, dancing, gardening, board games, crafts, etc.
What are my sleep habits? If youre getting roughly 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, youll be able to think more clearly, boost your immune system, and concentrate better on work and relationships. A simple step such as turning off screens an hour before bed can make a huge difference in your sleep quality.
Am I saying no to unnecessary tasks? Ideally you should be able to pass on tasks that demand too much of you, arent your responsibility, or dont fall in line with your personal values and objectives. If youre not sure where to start, take a look at your schedule and to-do list, and see what can be delegated or removed completely.
Am I organized? Start to declutter your life. When you can manage tasks with an accurate schedule and prioritized to-do list, you reduce the unnecessary anxiety that can accompany a cluttered and confusing agenda.
Highly Effective Tips For Relieving Stress
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to stress relief, however. What works for one person might not work for another.
And what works for you at home might not be an option when you’re at work or in the community .
So it’s important to have a variety of stress relief tools at your disposal. Then, you’ll be able to pick a strategy that works best for your current circumstances.
Also Check: What Is The Best Way To Manage Stress
Coronavirus Update For Students
Whether you’re a current undergraduate or an A-level student hoping to go to university in the foreseeable future, if you’re worried about the current COVID-19 situation, advice on coronavirus and your wellbeing has been provided by the mental health charity Mind.
Student stress can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- struggling with your mental health
- loneliness, homesickness or relationship difficulties
- finding it hard to save money or deal with debt
- harmful use of, or withdrawal from, alcohol or drugs.
There are a number of common reactions to stressful circumstances such as these, including:
- Behavioural – these could involve avoiding or escaping from the situation and turning to alcohol or drugs, a change in appetite or an inability to concentrate.
- Physical – you may experience an increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, headaches, butterflies and over-breathing.
- Psychological – stress can lead to fear, panic and the feeling that something bad is going to happen.
‘Stress is a normal, and in some cases, helpful part of everyday life,’ explains Kate Aitchison, team manager of the counselling and mental health team at Newcastle University. ‘The adrenaline that comes as part of our stress response can be motivating and actually help us to perform better. The difficulty comes when stress tips over to distress. When stress is having a negative impact on day-to-day life, when it stops you achieving, relaxing or communicating – thats when some support may help.’
How To Solve Problems
Once you have identified the problems that are leading to stress in your life, this structured problem-solving exercise can help you to find solutions.
This technique has been adapted from Beyond Blue.
You May Like: What Are Some Things You Can Do To Relieve Stress
Health Realization/innate Health Model
The health realization/innate health model of stress is also founded on the idea that stress does not necessarily follow the presence of a potential stressor. Instead of focusing on the individual’s appraisal of so-called stressors in relation to his or her own coping skills , the health realization model focuses on the nature of thought, stating that it is ultimately a person’s thought processes that determine the response to potentially stressful external circumstances. In this model, stress results from appraising oneself and one’s circumstances through a mental filter of insecurity and negativity, whereas a feeling of well-being results from approaching the world with a “quiet mind”.
This model proposes that helping stressed individuals understand the nature of thoughtespecially providing them with the ability to recognize when they are in the grip of insecure thinking, disengage from it, and access natural positive feelingswill reduce their stress.
Make Gratitude A Regular Practice
Several studies have revealed the positive effects of expressing gratitude. While studying brain activity, National Institutes of Health researchers found subjects who showed more gratitude had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that has a huge influence on our stress levels. Plus, gratefulness also activated the regions associated with dopamine, one of those feel-good neurotransmitters. To reap these stress-reducing benefits, write down your feelings of gratitude daily in a journal, or by sending little notes to friends or family letting them know how much you appreciate them.
You May Like: Can Stress Cause Hair Loss
Stress Prognosis And Outlook
The stress prognosis is based on factors like the source, intensity and duration of stress. It may also be affected by an individuals available coping skills and social support systems. When stress is high and available coping skills are low, the effects of stress are more likely, which can shorten someones lifespan.
Helping Children And Youth Cope With Stress
Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic eventlike a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
Learn To Manage Your Time Better
Sometimes, stress stems from a lack of order in ones life. If youre juggling too much, its inevitable to be stressed. Find a better way to manage your time, and youll notice a reduction in your stress levels. Some of the things you can do to create a better work-life balance include:
- Creating a priority list: Work on your projects based on their level of priority.
- Avoid over-committing yourself: Do not schedule too many things back to back in an attempt to handle multiple things in one day.
- Delegate: You dont have to do everything by yourself. Delegate duties at work and home to reduce your load.
- Break projects into smaller bits: This way, youre handling manageable tasks every day instead of trying to do everything all at once.
Effects Of Uncontrolled Stress
Work-related stress doesnt just disappear when you head home for the day. When stress persists, it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
A stressful work environment can contribute to problems such as headache, stomachache, sleep disturbances, short temper, and difficulty concentrating. Chronic stress can result in anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. It can also contribute to health conditions such as depression, obesity, and heart disease. Compounding the problem, people who experience excessive stress often deal with it in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, eating unhealthy foods, smoking cigarettes, or abusing drugs and alcohol.
Read Also: How To Block Stress Hormones
Be More Realistic About Your Capabilities
It is helpful to remember that most people underestimate how long it will take to do something, and overestimate how much they can do. This means that they end up taking on too much, and then failing to deliver.
Develop the simple habit of doubling your time estimates for any task.
You are then far more likely to under-promise and over-deliver. This will make everyoneincluding youmuch happier than the other way round .
Drinking Alcohol In Excess
Many people find that an ice-cold beer or glass of red wine is an excellent way to wind down after a long, stressful day at the office.
In fact, you might even be surprised to learn that most medical professionals would agree with you when it comes to consuming red wine, because it has been shown to have an abundance of heart benefits.
With that being said, you need to know that no matter what you are drinking it can truly be a slippery slope. In the end, alcohol might just end up causing you more stress than relief or benefits.
Alcohol is a depressant, so it virtually slows down the brain and the central nervous system, which can help relieve stress.
However, more and more consumption of this beverage can lead to anxiety, depression, money troubles and fights with friends and family members. This will not only increase your stress, but it will really make your stress harder to deal with.
This is especially true if you are the type of person that cant limit themselves to one or two drinks a day.
Your best and most effective way to dealing with stress other than turning to alcohol is to find an exercise routine that will help clear your mind. Sometimes even a hot bath or a trip to the spa can relieve all that pent up stress.
Don’t Miss: What Medication Can Help With Stress
Stress Prevention And Resilience
Although many techniques have traditionally been developed to deal with the consequences of stress, considerable research has also been conducted on the prevention of stress, a subject closely related to psychological resilience-building. A number of self-help approaches to stress-prevention and resilience-building have been developed, drawing mainly on the theory and practice of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
In today’s modern world, many people are able to find the right way of relieving stress for themselves. Whether seeking help, or on their own, oftentimes the solution is simpler than believed. Taking time to go on a walk, practicing breathing, drawing, and other forms of recreational and leisure activities are seen to be helpful. Other practices are also available, and depending on the individual, will prove to be beneficial for example, acupuncture.