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?
How Much Stress Is Too Much
Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, its important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is too much differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with lifes punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.
Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:
Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, lifes pressures dont seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, its easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your lifethat youre at the mercy of your environment and circumstancesstress is more likely to knock you off course.
Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If youre generally hopeful and optimistic, youll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
Convert Negativity To Positivity
There are two sides constantly battling inside of us one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?
What if I mess up this speech? What if Im not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?
Its no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think youre incompetent, then it will eventually become true.
Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: Ill ace this speech and I can do it!
Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative what ifs.
Heres a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:
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You Try To Manage Your Stress Instead Of Your Stressors
The biggest myth we all believe about chronic stress is that you need to get better at stress management.
But stress management is actually a terrible solution to the problem of chronics stress because youre already stressed! Its like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound.
Of course, some form of Band-Aid to stop the bleeding is important if you happen to get shot. But Band-Aids should not be the primary strategy we talk about for dealing with gunshot woundswe should work like hell to avoid getting shot in the first place!
See, when we make stress management our first-line strategy, we distract ourselves from really looking at the true cause of our stress, the stressor itself.
A stressor is the thing that causes a stress response.
If youre always stressed, the real solution is to fix the original cause of the stress not the feeling of stress itself.
For example, if youre constantly stressed at work, you could try and work on doing more deep breathing exercises throughout your day. And maybe your stress level will decrease a little. But no amount of deep breathing exercises will change the fact that youre still terrible at saying no to taking on too much work.
Feeling stressed at work is the messenger trying to tell you that something about how you work is deeply wrong. Over-reliance on stress management techniques is effectively shooting the messenger.
The far more important part of the equation is the stressors that are causing the stress in the first place.
Why Youre Always So Stressed And How To Destress
So, now youve clearly been feeling stressed for no reason for too long. Thats no doubt why youve turned to the internet to see why, and what you can do about it.
I wouldnt be surprised if youve become somewhat fearful of that feeling thats likely to creep up on you out of the blue. You dont understand, and it may have already got in the way of you running your every-day-life.
Id like you to read this article in conjunction with my article on anxiety for no reason because both articles contain not-to-be-missed information if you want to beat stress.
In this article on always feeling stressed for no reason, youll discover:
- 5 important questions to get a basic insight
- 8 factors that can make you more, or less, likely to suffer from stress
- 12 unusual reasons causing stress
- 16 signs and symptoms of stress
- A quick explanation of the effect of stress on your body/mind
- 8 ways to de-stress
- 3 effective steps for beating stress for no reason
So, lets start by ruling out the following
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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
Signs And Symptoms Of Stress
Heres what might happen when youre feeling stressed all the time:
Just in case you havent already informed yourself about what stress really is, heres a quick rundown of what happens in your body.
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Who Is Affected By Stress
All of us can probably recognise some of the feelings described above. Some people seem to be more affected by stress than others. For some people, getting out of the door on time each morning can be a very stressful experience, whereas others may be less affected with a great deal of pressure.
Some people are more likely to experience stressful situations than others. For example:
- people with a lot of debt or financial insecurity are more likely to be stressed about money
- people from minority ethnic groups or who are LGBTIQ+ are more likely to be stressed about prejudice or discrimination
- people with disabilities or long-term health conditions are more likely to be stressed about their health or about stigma associated with their condition.
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Build In Time To Stop & Relax
I often hear my clients say Come on, how on earth will I be able to make time for myself when I have so much to do? and I always reply, if you dont look after yourself you wont have the reserves to take care of all the other people in your life you take care of. When our reserves are low were cranky, overly sensitive and generally not as happy as we want to be. So please take some time each day, even if it only 10 minutes, to relax.
- Have a warm bath as this will help your body reach a temperature thats ideal for rest.
- Writing to do lists for the next day can organize your thoughts and clear your mind of any worrying thoughts that pop in to your head
- Relaxation exercises, such as light yoga stretches, help to relax the muscles. Dont exercise vigorously though, as it will have the opposite effect.
- Relaxation CDs can help as they use a hypnotic voice to guide you through muscle relaxation and soothing music and sound effects to relax your brain.
- Watching TV or any computer or phone screen keeps the brain engaged and active so it is harder to fall asleep. It is better to read a book or listen to the radio as that relaxes the mind by distracting it from the present worries.
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Your Everyday Inconveniences Are Triggering Deeper Feelings
There are many things throughout the day that can lead to brief feelings of stress or anxiety. These add up over time, and more importantly, they trigger more deep-seated fears we may have subconsciously. Before long, you may find yourself stressed out about something that seems like it should be no big deal.
For example, your long commute or a traffic jam can be minorly stressful. However, it can also trigger your fear of being late or being irresponsible.
Perhaps someone was rude to you while you were grabbing your morning coffee. While this is annoying and unnecessary, it really shouldnt be cause for stress. This encounter may bring up unresolved fears of being inadequate or being bullied, in which case, could become a trigger for high stress.
It could just be that these everyday mundane inconveniences dont quite fit into your unrealistic expectations, which we previously discussed. If you find yourself being stressed out over these daily occurrences, you should take some time to reflect on what the actual stressor is in these scenarios.
How Does Stress Affect Our Bodies
Stress can have a negative effect on our health because our bodies react to stressful situations physically as well as mentally.
Physical symptoms can include headaches, muscle pain, sleep problems, dizziness, feeling tired all the time or eating too much or too little.
When we feel stressed, our bodies release the stress hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol plays an important role in the body as it stimulates the liver to increase blood sugar production. This gives your body a burst of energy when you feel stressed to help you cope with the situation at hand.
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When we feel stressed for a long period of time, were stuck in a permanent state of fight-or-flight and this can lead to feelings of anxiety. Youre left feeling on edge all the time.
You may also notice that your behaviour changes you feel overwhelmed, irritable, anxious and lacking in self-esteem. Your thoughts race and you find it hard to concentrate or make decisions.
Read more about the symptoms of stress on the NHS website.
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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.
What Makes Us Stressed
Many things that can lead to stress: bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job or unexpected money problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.
Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.
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What To Do When Youre Stressed Out Control Your Thoughts
Since your thoughts are often the things that stress you out, you must proactively control them. The first thing you want to do is monitor your thoughts.
Youll notice that its the same negative and worrying thoughts that keep reappearing.
It could be worries at work or anger towards someone who wronged you or something someone said that is unfair, etc.
Whatever it is, these thoughts are stressing you out.
The cure is to write them down.
Start by writing in caps: WHY DO I GET STRESSED OUT SO EASILY?
Now analyze your thoughts, write them down, and replace them with pleasant thoughts.
If its something someone said to you, write down a positive thought about yourself.
Anytime you notice the negative thought rising, immediately think of the positive one you replaced it with.
By doing this repeatedly, youll develop the habit of only focusing on the positive.
Do not allow negative people and thoughts to rent free space in your mind. Focus on the positive.
Getting Help For Depression
If you think you might be depressed, take a depression screening. Print out the results or e-mail them to yourself and then show them to a counselor or doctor.
To get help, start with your student health center or counseling service on campus. Most community colleges provide limited free mental health services and can refer you to local providers for longer-term treatment. You can also talk to your family doctor. Your local Mental Health America affiliate can refer or in some cases provide services as well. To find the nearest MHA affiliate, call 800-969-6642 or go to Find An Affiliate.
Remember, depression and other mental health conditions are nothing to be ashamed of. Depression is not a sign of weakness, and seeking help is a sign of strength. Telling someone you are struggling is the first step toward feeling better. You will need the help of a mental health professional to beat depression. Talk therapy, antidepressant medication or a combination can be very effective.
In crisis? If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.
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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.
One Catch With The *so Tired* Thing You Can’t Actually Sleep
Another legit reason that stress is making you wake up feeling like death: You spent a good chunk of the previous night tossing/turning/wishing your brain would just TURN OFF ALREADY. “I call it ‘wired and tired,'” explains Lucie Hemmen, Ph.D, a psychologist in Santa Cruz, CA. “Practice bumps back homework, which bumps back bedtime and by the time you’re ready to go to sleep, you’ve pushed yourself past the point of exhaustion.” Real talk: That wired feeling may be a sign that sneaky stress hormones are pumping through your body at unhealthy levels, just to help you survive your ridic day. And when you’re experiencing that crap-night-of-sleep cycle on repeat? It’s maybe time to give your schedule some breathing room.
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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.