What Causes High Stress Levels
Anything that puts high demands or pressure on you can result in high stress levels, especially if you struggle to manage feelings of stress. Some common stressors that can lead to high levels of stress include high-pressure jobs, financial difficulties, taking on too much, conflicts at work or home, and failure to take time to relax.
Youre Perpetually Sick And Just Cant Seem To Get Over It
If it seems like every week youve got a cough, sore throat or a fever, you might want to blame your workload and not just your sneezing coworker. When we are under extreme pressure, our bodies secrete a stress hormone called cortisol that can help us short-term, says Richard Colgan, MD, professor of family and community medicine at University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of Advice to the Healer. But if youre stressed out constantly, these hormones arent as helpful and can become depleted over time. Colgan says cortisol and other hormones are components of the immune system that help the body cope with stress. But when these hormones are withdrawn, we become more susceptible to sickness.
And the side effects dont end there. Stress can also slow wound healing, contribute to the reactivation of latent viruses and increase vulnerability to viral infections, says Keri Tuit, clinical psychologist at Yale University.
What to do: Listen to your body when you feel tired or drained. Make time for rest and extra sleep. Whether you recently spent time traveling or finalizing a huge work project, allow your body the time it needs to recover.
A tired body is not well prepared to cope with stressful situations and ward off illness.
Understanding Why We Get Stressed
Stress is an evolutionary response that occurs when the body feels threatened. It starts in the brain- the hypothalamus and amygdala send specific hormone signals that cue the adrenal glands to release appropriate hormones.
One of the crucial hormones, adrenaline, refers to the fight-or-flight response you experience when feeling stressed, anxious, or afraid. This hormone increases your heartbeat, facilitates perspiration, and essentially makes you feel on edge.
If youve ever been very close to having a car accident, you probably recognize that feeling of immediate adrenaline. You may have been driving and not really thinking about anything- then, suddenly, your heart is racing, youre breathing quickly, and youre driving very carefully.
In many ways, stress is an essential safety component. After all, if you didnt feel any fear, you wouldnt survive. You wouldnt know to avoid touching hot stoves or running into traffic!
Stress can also be a positive motivator. For example, if you didnt feel stressed about meeting a work deadline, you probably would not feel as inclined to finish your project. Or, if you dont feel stressed about paying your bills, you might not have much incentive to save your money.
In ideal situations, stress is temporary and situational to a particular trigger. However, when we experience chronic levels of stress, physical and emotional problems may occur.
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Stress And Anxiety At Home
Tackle Stress Head On
People can be resistant to acknowledging when theyre suffering. They may seem withdrawn or are avoiding engaging with others. If you do suspect someone you know isnt coping with stress, have the courage to start a conversation. You dont have to be a stress counsellor, just a good listener and allowing them to talk things through could help them find a solution to their problems. Questions like How have you been feeling? and Are you OK, Ive noticed you dont seem yourself? are more effective than simply telling them that youd like them to tell you whats wrong.
Depending on your relationship with them, you could also encourage them to get involved in activities that may help them cope better. For example, taking regular exercise often helps people see their concerns more clearly as well as deal with them more calmly. So why not suggest going for a walk in the fresh air?
CABA provides lifelong support to past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff and their close family members. Learn more about how to strengthen your mental wellbeing and support others on our dedicated hub.
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.
You May Like: Can Stress Make You Lose Your Hair
How Can We Avoid Stress
Experiencing stress from time to time is normal, but it is important to prevent stress build up that leads to high levels of stress and possibly burnout. Some simple ways to avoid stress include finding effective ways to balance all your responsibilities, getting enough sleep, not taking on too much, eating a healthy diet, and taking part in physical activity.
How To Know If Stress Is Negatively Impacting Your Life
Stress is something that we all face daily. However, according to the American Institute of Stress, 33% of people feel extreme stress, 77% of people feel stress that has some impact on their physical health, and 73% of people have their mental health impacted.
Over 48% of people have sleep problems as a result of stress.
When youre stressed, signals are sent to different parts of the body to alert them, which can lead to physical manifestations ranging from headaches to nausea.
One of the best things you can do is understand how your body reacts to stress. With all the different emotions your brain can cycle through and all the feelings your body can feel, it can be tough to know when youre dealing with stress.
Here are some symptoms you may have if youre experiencing stress:
- Aches and pains
- Scattered, racing thoughts
- Constant worrying
Of course, everybody reacts to stress differently, so you likely would only experience some of these symptoms. If youre experiencing these symptoms, its possible that theyre a direct result of stress in your life.
There are a couple of ways to help temper stress by understanding your stress triggers and stress causes. Stress is caused by a trigger that tells your brain to send signals out to various parts of the body. Everyones triggers are differentwhat might stress you out may be no big deal for somebody else.
Some of the most common causes of stress include:
- Emotional struggles
- Caring for a sick or elderly family member
You May Like: Can You Get Cancer From Stress
Find The Help You Need
If youre diagnosed with stress, dont fretthere is hope for people dealing with both acute and chronic stress. There are many things you can do to avoid stressful situations and manage the stress youre already dealing with.
The first step is figuring out what your triggers are so you can avoid them. Even if you cant avoid your triggers, understanding them so you can proactively deal with stress is important.
If you are having trouble managing stress and its mental and physical effects, you may need help from a health care professional. You dont need to struggle on your own. Call your primary care physician or a local mental health facility, like McLean, to find the care you need.
You’ve Been Told You Monopolize Conversations
If you’ve ever been told that you often take the lead in conversations, that might not be a compliment. While talking about your issues may relieve your stress, you could unintentionally be forcing others to keep their concerns bottled up.
“When a person is going through a hard time, they can sometimes overly process the stressor with loved ones,” Long says. “In other words, you don’t hold space for others to talk about what’s going on in their lives. To counteract this, focus on asking questions, listening more, and interrupting less.”
Also Check: How To Calm Down Anxiety And Stress
Stress Can Disrupt Our Lives
Encountering and overcoming stressful situations is a daily occurrence for almost all of us. Whenever we experience stress, our body gets pumped up with adrenaline as our fight or flight impulse automatically kicks in. However, our mind and body can remain in a heightened state of alert long after we have overcome the stressful situation.
Although this could have increased the chances of survival for our ancestors, for us stress can be more damaging than helpful. Apart from posing various health risks, stress can even affect our mood and behavior leading to problems in our career, relationships, and personal life. By taking this stress quiz, you can find out your level of stress and start taking control of your life.
Also read: 5 Tips For Lowering Your Stress Level
What Is Emotional Stress
Emotional stress is not a clearly labelled phenomenon. Its a wide range of problems and can range all the way from having a few down days to a more chronic condition. Note, that if youre having a few down days you shouldnt immediately pull on the bell or go see your doctor.
Though we might strive to be happy all the time, thats not actually how were built. We cant always be happy and were going to have down periods and moments where we struggle. It doesnt matter if youre working as a translator, are an Arab Sheik or work on a farm, thats just how it is.
At the same time, if youre feeling youve been on edge for a long time now without really feeling youve been able to get your head above water, then it might be time to take action.
Read Also: How To Eliminate Stress Hormones
Importance Of Recognizing Stress Symptoms
Its important to learn how to recognize when your stress levels are actually getting out of control. Stress is deceptive. It has its way of creeping up on you so you get used to it and you start to feel a certain sense of familiarity with it. If you are not mindful of your body, you may just be surprised to see that it has already taken its toll on you and has already caused a great deal of harm.
For instance, people who are constantly exposed to high levels of stress may think that they have grown accustomed to the pressure and high surge of adrenaline, but the truth is, there is no such thing as getting used to stress. When you thrive on stress, its just difficult for you to discern the symptoms of stress but this does not mean that your body is not responding to stress. Eventually, something within you will malfunction.
It is important to recognize stress before it actually develops into a serious health problem. And while stress affects different people in many different ways, there are certain factors and symptoms that are common among the general population.
Or The Conversation Stops Entirely When You Arrive
It may not be just an energy change that makes it clear that you stress people out. If you walk into the room and the conversation stops, chances are that everyone was discussing you or, at least, saying something that they didn’t want you to know about. Instead of taking this personally, use it as a chance to grow and become a more productiveâand less stress-inducingâpart of the group.
Don’t Miss: How To Relax Myself From Stress
They Never Bring Their Significant Other Around You
If you cause undue stress in someone’s life, then they are probably not going to ask their significant other to also spend time with you. Not only will they want to prevent their partner from experiencing the same stress they deal with, but they also might not want them to see how they getâirritable, sweaty, reserved, etc.âwhen they’re around you.
Can You Pass A Stress Test And Still Have Blockage
When arteries are blocked by 70% or more, stress tests can be used to detect them. Angina is a condition characterized by severe narrowing of the chest. The results of a stress test, however, do not rule out the possibility of a heart attack in the future. In addition, plaque ruptures, clots, and blocks arteries, so it is important to keep it out of the body.
Read Also: Can Stress Cause Asthma Symptoms
Relieving Stress Is The Same For Everybody
Exercising might be a great way for some people to combat stress, but it may lead to someone else feeling even more stressed about going to the gym. Addressing and treating stress is far from the same for everybody, so you need to figure out a treatment option that works for you.
If youre uncertain about how to start pushing back on your stress, talking to your health care provider can help initiate your stress reduction journey.
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 May Like: How To Relieve Stress And Anger Naturally
Anxiety I Thought I Was Just Stressed
Stress and anxiety are related, but not synonymous states. Both are normal, adaptive responses to lifes challenges work, relationships, mortality, to name just a few and share many symptoms, including worry, stomach aches, restlessness, muscle tension, racing thoughts, headaches, sleepless nights, or all of the above.
For these reasons and more, we often use the words anxiety and stress interchangeably. Yet despite their similarities, there are important differences between the two. Determining whats going on for you is the first step towards finding relief.
Family Meditation And Education Can Reduce Stress
Now that we have covered all of the negative effects of stress as well as a way to measure the amount of stress we are personally experiencing, it is time to discuss some of the ways to reduce stress.
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to reduce stress, whether one wants to reduce stress in a group or by themselves, or whether one wants to reduce stress through therapy or otherwise.
One way to reduce stress is to surround yourself with family, as prioritizing ones family and having strong family ties can buffer the negative effects of high levels of stress .
Among therapy-based ways to reduce stress, a meta-analysis determined that cognitive-behavioral interventions were the most effective way to reduce stress . There are other non-therapy ways to reduce stress that are also directed, however, like mindfulness-based stress reduction .
In fact, a study found that low-dose mindfulness-based stress reduction led to stress reduction on par with regular MBSR . This shows that even small attempts at reducing stress can be effective so that stress-reducing programs do not have to be restricted to people who have time to dedicate to long programs.
You May Like: What To Do If Your Job Is Too Stressful
What Are The 5 Causes Of Stress
When Should I Talk To A Doctor About Stress
Talk to your doctor about stress if you are feeling overwhelmed, are reliant on drugs or alcohol to cope with the feelings of stress, have thoughts of hurting yourself, or are experiencing other related conditions, like anxiety or depression. Your doctor can provide advice for better managing your stress, prescribe medication, or refer you to a mental health professional for further diagnosis and treatment.
The National Institute of Mental Health . 5 Things You Should Know About Stress. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/. Accessed July 15, 2021.
Child Mind Disorder. Acute Stress Disorder Basics. Accessed 4/11/2021.
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, National Center for PTSD. Acute Stress Disorder. Accessed 4/11/2021.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Relief From Family Stress