Things You Should Know About Stress
Everyone feels stressed from time to time, but what is stress? How does it affect your overall health? And what can you do to manage your stress?
Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Any type of challengesuch as performance at work or school, a significant life change, or a traumatic eventcan be stressful.
Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stressors, so you know when to seek help.
Here are five things you should know about stress.
Signs Of Being Stressed Out
Everybodys experience of stress is different. Here are some warning signs that stress may be getting the upper hand:
- Constant anxiety
- Increased irritability or feeling constantly annoyed
- Easily angered
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Stomach aches, headaches, skin problems
- Feeling depressed or moody
If someone is feeling stressed out, they might be more likely to:
- have trouble paying attention in school
- break the rules, at school or at home
- see their grades drop and not care much
- lose interest in friends and activities
Some people try to control these stress responses by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Although this may seem like a way to feel better, in reality it can make things a lot worse.
Recovery Programs For Stress Depression Treatment Anger Management And Anxiety
Stress can cause serious health complications. It can also cause significant issues with close relationships in your life, as well as work and social engagements with friends.
Stress can be debilitating, robbing you of your energy, confidence and joy. At The Center, our licensed, caring stress management specialists understand and now what you are experiencing. We know that you are not defined by your stress, and want to regain your life of happiness.
The Center employs an approach to treating stress that is proven to be highly effective a team approach utilizing the highly successful Whole Person Care method.
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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
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.
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Who Does It Affect
Stress affects most of us. In a recent Canadian poll, about one-quarter of Canadians said that they feel quite a bit stressed or extremely stressed most days . But stress can affect some people differently than others:
Women are more likely than men to report feeling stressed. Men and women also report reacting to different kinds of stress. Women tend to react more to chronic stressors like time constraints, meeting others’ expectations, marital relationships, children, and family health. Men, on the other hand, are more affected by work-related stressors like a change in job, demotion, pay cut, and financial difficulties.
Youth are doing more today than ever before, balancing school with other activities, friends and jobs. All of these responsibilities can lead to stress. In one survey, about 14% if Canadian youth felt stressed on most days.
Older adults face stressors like major illness, changes in routine and income related to retirement, physical changes, the death of a loved ones, and a shrinking circle of friends. All of these stressors can contribute to increased levels of stress in Canadas elderly.
People with chronic illnesses like diabetes, arthritis or heart disease can experience extreme stress because they worry about their illness, their treatments, and the effect that the illness will have on themselves and those around them.
What Is Emotional Stress
Stress is a normal reaction to the pressures of everyday life. Worry, fear, anger, sadness and other emotions are also all normal emotional responses. They are all part of life. However, if the stress that underlies these emotions interferes with your ability to do the things you want or need to do, this stress has become unhealthy.
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Stress Reduction Treatment At The Center A Place Of Hope
The Center addresses any and all of your personal issues and contributors to your stress during your treatment program. We offer trauma treatment, stress reduction treatment, physical abuse treatment, sexual abuse treatment and more, as may be appropriate.
At A Place of HOPE, features of your stress reduction treatment program include:
- A safe, confidential and supportive place to deal with underlying issues
- A serene, calm and relaxing environment in a beautiful setting
- A focus on the proven whole-person approach physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing
- Staying for the length of time that is best suited to your needs
- Expressing yourself via art and music therapy
- Sharing your experiences through individual and group therapy
- Learning to forgive others and to forgive yourself
- Accepting the grace of God into your life
Your team is assigned just to you, and develops your program based on your specific needs and life experiences. Working with you in a warm, confidential and calm environment, they help you gain control of your stress issues.
Accommodations are provided in modern condominium-style housing with beautiful kitchens and living areas. The grounds are calm, private and just a short walk from the shores of the Puget Sound.
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.
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What Are Practical Ways To Reduce The Impact Of Stress
Life is often stressful, but there are things you can do to become more resilient and cope with lifes ups and downs.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can relieve tension, relax the mind and reduce anxiety.
- Time management: Developing regular routines and planning ahead can reduce the chaos that can lead to stress.
- Spend time with family or friends: Being with people you find uplifting, resolving personal conflicts, and talking about your feelings can help.
- Look after your health: Maintain a healthy diet, ensure you get enough sleep and avoid using drugs and alcohol to cope.
- Do things you enjoy.
- Change your thinking: Sometimes stress is more about our perceptions or attitudes to a situation than the situation itself. Unrealistic expectations of yourself or others can lead to stress. If you have a tendency to negative thinking, it can help to write down these thoughts, try to come up with a more realistic view and focus on the positive.
- Cognitive behaviour therapy : This involves working with a therapist to change your thinking patterns.
Path To Improved Well Being
Stress can cause health problems or make existing problems worse. Talk to your family doctor if you think your symptoms could be caused by stress. Its important to make sure they arent caused by other health problems.
Learn to recognize when youre feeling stressed. Early warning signs of stress include tension in your shoulders and neck or clenching your hands into fists. Try to avoid the event or situation that leads to your stress. If thats impossible, change how you react to stress.
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Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress
Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Its good to be informed but hearing about the traumatic event constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditateexternal icon.
- Continue with routine preventive measures as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when available.
Managing Stress In Therapy: Case Examples
Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as:
- Client referrals
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How To Manage Your Anxiety And Stress
Its totally normal to feel anxious from time to time, but there are lots of things you can do to feel a bit better. Remember: theres a difference between feeling stressed every now and then, and experiencing ongoing anxiety. If the anxiety is starting to take a toll and you’re looking for ways to deal with it, consider talking to a mental health professional. Get started and learn how to deal with stress and anxiety.
Practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves relaxing all the muscles in your body, group by group. To practice, you can start with a few deep breaths.
Then, practice tightening and relaxing each muscle group, starting with your forehead and moving down to your toes.
With practice, you’ll learn to recognize tension and tightness in your muscles and you’ll be able to relax more easily. Each time you practice, however, you should experience a feeling of relaxation sweeping through your body.
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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.
Grow Your Support Network
Cast a wide net. When it comes to your social supports, one size doesn’t fit all. You may not have someone you can confide in about everything and thats okay. Maybe you have a colleague you can talk to about problems at work, and a neighbor who lends an ear when you have difficulties with your kids. Look to different relationships for different kinds of support. But remember to look to people you can trust and count on, to avoid disappointing, negative interactions that can make you feel worse.
Be proactive. Often people expect others to reach out to them, and then feel rejected when people dont go out of their way to do so. To get the most out of your social relationships, you have to make an effort. Make time for friends and family. Reach out to lend a hand or just say hello. If youre there for others, theyll be more likely to be there for you. And in fact, when it comes to longevity, research suggests that providing social support to friends and family may be even more important than receiving it.4
Take advantage of technology. Its nice to sit down with a friend face-to-face, but it isn’t always possible. Luckily, technology makes it easier than ever before to stay connected with loved ones far away. Write an email, send a text message or make a date for a video chat. Dont rely too heavily on digital connections, however. Some research suggests that face-to-face interactions are most beneficial.
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Put Relaxation And Self
A fully packed schedule would make a lot of people feel stressed. Make sure you take time out each day for at least one thing you enjoy doing whether its spending time on a hobby, watching a Netflix episode, or chatting with a friend. It can also help if you schedule the activity into your day, so that you dont feel guilty about not doing something else. Read our guide to relaxation for more ideas.
If youre feeling overwhelmed, dont be afraid to say no to things when you need to.
Where Do I Go From Here
BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use InformationVisit www.heretohelp.bc.ca. See our section on managing stress including our Wellness Modules. The Modules are full of information, tips and worksheets to help you understand stress and take care of your mental health.
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division Visit www.cmha.bc.ca or call 1-800-555-8222 or 604-688-3234 for information and community resources on how best to manage stress, including workbooks and courses.
Resources available in many languages:*For each service below, if English is not your first language, say the name of your preferred language in English to be connected to an interpreter. More than 100 languages are available.
HealthLink BCCall 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms youre worried about, or talk to a pharmacist about medication questions.
Crisis lines arent only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information.
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Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
Stress Busters: 4 Integrative Treatments
Nearly half of women report a rise in stress levels over the past five years. And while women and men tend to cope with stress differently, we know that chronic stress contributes to a range of health problems in both sexes, including mental health disorders, heart disease and obesity.
Integrative treatments like meditation and acupuncture can help reduce stress and related problems. These techniques are gaining mainstream acceptance as research demonstrates their positive health effects.
Managing stress calls for addressing the mind as well as the body, since both the brain and body contribute to symptoms.
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What Are The Signs Of Stress
When faced with a challenging situation or stressful event our bodies release stress hormones. These create physical changes in the body, which help us cope with the immediate situation. However, if the stress is ongoing and the physical changes do not subside, we may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope.
Knowing yourself and how you respond to different situations can help you learn what works for you in terms of managing stress.
There are some signs to look out for which indicate our stress levels are negatively affecting our mental health and wellbeing:
- Feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope
- Feeling on edge or unable to stop worrying
- Changes in sleep patterns, fatigue and exhaustion
- Changes in appetite
- Physical reactions such as headaches, muscle tension, upset stomach,
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in mood, irritability, anger
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Reliance on alcohol or other substances to cope
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Here are some practical strategies for managing stress when feeling overwhelmed and finding it difficult to cope: