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.
If Left Unmanaged Stress Can Lead To Depression
Posted January 8, 2016
Feeling stressed out? Youre not alone. Seventy-two percent of adults surveyed by the American Psychological Association reported feeling stressed out at least some of the time during the past month.
Regardless of what youre stressing about, stress can quickly turn into a problem when it builds and starts to cause wear and tear on your bodyand your overall mental state. In fact, if left unmanaged stress can actually lead to depression.
Chronic stress leads to physical changes in your brain and body, changes in the way youre thinking, and ultimately to changes in the way youre behaving.
Stressed out people are more likely to engage in unhelpful and unhealthy behaviors like overeating, smoking, drinking, and dropping out of important activities like exercising and socializing. And all of this can increase the likelihood that your stress turns into depression.
So how can you tell if youre just stressed out or are suffering from depression? Essentially the answer lies in the severity and the duration of your symptoms.
Feeling stressed out is usually associated with feeling overwhelmed or under pressure. As you know, I believe the term stressed out is a generalization we use to really just say that were having a hard time coping with distressing emotions such as fear or sadness.
Feeling sad and hopeless
Lack of energy, enthusiasm and motivation
Withdrawing from other people
Eating more or less than usual
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.
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Quick Ways To Reduce Stress
Taking care of your long-term mental and physical health is an important part of stress management. However, there isnt always time to take a nap, hike a fourteener, or read a novel. Thus, here are 25 ways to reduce stress in five minutes or less. From eating chocolate to meditating, there is a quick stress-relieving tactic for everyone.
1. BreatheSlow, deep breaths can help lower blood pressure and heart rate. Try pranayama breathing, a yogic method that involves breathing through one nostril at a time to relieve anxiety. The technique is supposed to work the same way as acupuncture, balancing the mind and body.
2. Listen to Music No matter what the song, sometimes belting out the lyrics to a favorite tune makes everything seem all right. If youre in a public place, just listening to music can be a quick fix for a bad mood. Classical music can be especially relaxing right before bedtime.
3. Take a Quick Walk When youre feeling overwhelmed or having trouble concentrating, go for a quick stroll around the block. Youll get the benefits of alone time, physical activity, and a few minutes to gather your thoughts.
4. Find the Sun If its a sunny day, head outside for an easy way to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can even cheer up otherwise healthy people.
8. Rub Your Feet Over a Golf Ball You can get an impromptu, relaxing foot massage by rubbing your feet back and forth over a golf ball.
12. Be Alone
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Do Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Years of research have found PMR helps reduce anxiety and calm breathing. Lie down and relax, and then tighten, hold and then release each muscle in your body, one at a time, starting with your toes and moving up to the crown of your head. Do this slowly and methodically, and dont forget the muscles of your face. It may be more relaxing to listen to someone else walk you through the exercise. Visit this link to find audio, video, and scripts that you can record and then playback to yourself.
Ways To Minimize The Impact Of Stress On The Body
Whether youre dealing with chronic stress or experience it occasionally on a situational basis , its possible to reset and find a more stable sense of peace and happiness in your daily life.
Treat your body well: It may sound obvious, but its worthy of repeating: Anything that helps the brain and body to have more sustainable energy is going to keep stress reactions minimized, because we can adapt more effectively, explains Hanna. Sleeping at least seven hours at night, eating healthy foods every three to four hours to stabilize blood sugar, and moving at least every 90 minutes during the day to facilitate optimal circulation can reduce the wear and tear of daily stress.
Identify and anticipate your stressors: This may require some introspection, but the effort will be worthwhile. It’s important to be aware of what things create more stress for you, says Hartstein. Is work a place that is stressful? Do you take too much responsibility for things and then not take care of yourself? Knowing what things trigger your stress is really important. If you can do some coping ahead some planning for those stressful moments you can minimize the stress and help yourself through the moments without becoming too overwhelmed.
Even just three to five minutes of slow, rhythmic breathing can start to train the nervous system to be more adaptive.
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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.
Stretch Like A Monkey
The monkey stretch is particularly good for banishing stress associated with anxiety or nervousness. So if youre feeling awful because youre afraid to go for an interview, speak in front of an audience or face a phobia, this exercise is well worth your time.
Just start by extending your arms in front of you, then bring them down. Next, bring your extended arms to your sides, then down. Finally, bring those arms up past your hands and then swoop your whole body down so your head is between your knees. Hold that pose for a second, then straighten up and notice the difference in physical tension levels.
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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.
Why Do My Teeth Hurt When Im Stressed
You may clench your jaw and grind your teeth when you are under stress. You may experience tooth pain or TMJ as a result. It is possible that your dentist will need to reposition your lower jaw if he or she determines that you have TMJ Syndrome. If youre feeling stressed, try eating soft foods and taking warm compresses.
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You Need A Drink After Work
Occasionally getting together with your office pals and relaxing over cocktails is great for blowing off steam. But if happy hour is a critical part of your workday, says Hobfoll, and you feel you need a drink or cant wait ’til the end of the week, it can be a sign youre far too stressed at work.
Here’s What You Can Do To Avoid Christmas Stress
In movies, Christmas is a fairy tale full of happy people and unexpected loves. The reality for many: arguing when decorating the Christmas tree, stress over dinner and last minute gifts. How do you avoid Christmas stress?
In movies, Christmas is a fairy tale full of happy people and unexpected loves.
The reality for many: arguing when decorating the Christmas tree, stress over dinner and last minute gifts.
How do you avoid Christmas stress?
This article is from the Volkskrant.
Every day a selection of the best articles from newspapers and magazines appears on NU.nl.
You can read more about that here.
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Be Honest With Everyone For The Whole Day
A lot of times, the mental stress and strain we feel is from having to present this happy front to social media and our friends and family.
We feel like we need to have it all together and be strong for the people around us, but you would be surprised at how many people are also struggling.
Im not saying to tell the cashier your whole life store, but when they ask, how are you?, you really can respond with feeling a bit stressed, actually!.
It may start productive and comforting conversations, or youll just feel better for being honest and not having to have the extra stress of pretending not to be stressed.
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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Control News And Media Intake
Its normal to want to be in the know with the latest news across the world. But with many news outlets focusing largely on fear and anxiety-inducing statistics, it may be better to limit your news and media exposure, especially close to bedtime.
If youre feeling particularly sensitive or stressed during this time, try setting a limit to social media and news exposure. Maybe check it once or twice a day in the morning and in the afternoon.
As tempting as it may be to watch around-the-clock coverage, there is often much misinformation and shock headlines that only serve to worsen your ability to get a good night’s sleep.
In other words, try to become more mindful of the information you are intaking throughout the day. If its affecting your mental health negatively, it may be time to try another approach!
Check In With Yourself Mentally
8. Change your narrative
If you find yourself listening to a never-ending stream of thoughts about all the things that have to get done each day , try flipping the script.
In yoga, we practice something called pratipaksha-bhavana the art of cultivating the opposite, says Bell. When youre plagued with negative thoughts such as I have to meet with this person or I have to do this with the kids try cultivating the opposite. Think about the positives and how you get to meet with this person and how you get to do these things with the kids.
9. Prioritize your values
Being a parent means juggling a number of things at any given moment. Are you going to be able to do each and every one of them at 100% all the time? Of course not. When youre feeling overwhelmed, check in with your mental priority list. (For example, is it essential that you organize your pantry when your child needs help with her homework or just wants your undivided attention? Probably not. In moments like these, when youre trying to get a million things done, start with the most important and go from there.
10. Practice mindfulness
There are a number of ways to practice mindfulness, including focusing on your breath at any given moment throughout the day, or meditating in a more structured and traditional way, either on your own or with guided help from an app like Headspace.
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Smoking Drinking And Drug Use And Stress
You might find that you smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs to reduce stress. However, this often makes problems worse.28
Research shows that smoking may increase feelings of anxiety.29 Nicotine creates an immediate, temporary, sense of relaxation, which can then lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Similarly, you may use alcohol as a means to manage and cope with difficult feelings, and to temporarily reduce feelings of anxiety. However, alcohol may make existing mental health problems worse. It can make you feel more anxious and depressed in the long run.30 It is important to know the recommended limits31 and drink responsibly.
Prescription drugs, such as tranquillisers and sleeping tablets, which may have been prescribed for very good reasons, can also cause mental and physical health problems if used for long periods of time.32 Street drugs, such as cannabis or ecstasy, are usually taken for recreational purposes. For some people, problems start as their bodies get used to repeated use of the drug. This leads to the need for increased doses to maintain the same effect.33
Helpful Organisations For Money Worries
It is important if you are worried about your finances and debts that you do not try to deal with them alone. There is a lot of help and support available to you through organisations such as Step Change and Citizens Advice.
You should also talk to your GP or a trusted health professional if you are worried about how debt is affecting your mental and physical health.
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Put Down The Social Media
Social media is a stress-filled haven.
Whether youre scrolling Instagram and seeing other peoples seemingly perfect lives that youre comparing yours to or youre on Facebook reading about peoples tragedies and GoFundMe pages, its enough to make you take on other peoples stresses as well.
If youre so stressed that youre having trouble operating in your normal life, quit social media.
Log yourself out of your accounts, tell people that you usually communicate with that you can be reached on your phone if they really need to get in touch, and then go dark.
Start discovering your life away from social media and the constant and everpresent drone of the internet, and youll notice your stress levels drop noticeably.
Drown Your Troubles In A Bottle
Alcohol is rarely a good answer to your woes. You cant run away from your problems by forgetting them through a booze-induced blackout. The stress will still be there in the morning, along with nausea, a headache, and the sinking feeling that you did something youre glad you dont remember. This goes for drugs and over-eating too. Just say no.
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These Fun And Effective Ideas Will Help When Anxiety Is Getting The Best Of You
I dont know about you, but even in normal, not particularly chaotic times, I know when Im stressedmy shoulders tense up and fuse with my ears, my digestion gets wonky, and according to my boyfriend and kids, I become especially delightful to be around. Stress looks different for different people, but its usually some version of your brain and body crankily pushing back against all youre trying to manage.
The question is, what can we do to relieve stress, especially if were stuck inside? Because not to stress you out further, but both chronic and acute stress can have negative impacts on our health, and can lead us to engage in less-than-wise escapist habits.
When we think about the body on stress, its really fuel for the fight-or-flight response, says Debra Kissen, Ph.D., the co-chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of Americas education committee and co-author of Rewire Your Anxious Brain For Teens. This is helpful when we have to get in gear to, say, lift a car off a small child or flee an ax-wielding horror movie villain. Its just that when our brain continues to feel that were in danger when were not, that stress starts to create all kinds of physical and emotional problems. Add anxietydread and worry about what may happen nextand that doesnt help our stress levels.
Thats why we asked the experts for their best stress-relieving activities that you can have at the ready, even if you cant get outside.