Discrimination Rises As Source Of Stress Particularly For People Of Color
When talking about stress in 2020, we cannot ignore the topics of discrimination and racism. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others have caused fear, anger and an increased awareness of the systemic racism that plagues our nation, and led to massive protests across the country. The majority of adults , regardless of race, report police violence toward minorities is a significant source of stress in their life. This is significantly higher than the 36% of adults who said the same in 2016 when this question was first asked.
On a personal level, one-third of adults cite discrimination as a significant source of stress in their life, a significant increase from 25% in 2019. Among people of color7, more than 2 in 5 report discrimination is a significant source of stress in their life, compared with 38% of people of color who said the same in 2019. Looking at races individually, Black Americans are the most likely to report discrimination as a stressor .
Youre In A Bad Relationship
Those who are in a relationship can become very unhappy if the relationship starts to sour. If youre constantly thinking, Why am I so unhappy in my relationship? then you can count on your life being pretty bleak until you sort it out.
When youre married or in a committed partnership, your world revolves around your partner and the health of your relationship. When things go south, your life feels like a mess.
You may constantly feel tense and angry or wounded and unloved. You may worry that the relationship is going to fall apart or that your partner will leave you or that you need to leave him or her.
Feeling Scared All The Time Heres What To Do
- Anxiety is the activation of the fight or flight system a system designed to help you in dangerous situations.
- It is not uncommon to feel fear as a result of the activation of this system.
- Trauma and other life experiences can also contribute to a sense of feeling scared.
- Sometimes confronting that scared feeling head on is the best way to remove it at the time.
- Eliminating anxiety overall will decrease the frequency and severity of unexplained scared feelings.
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Stressed Or Depressed Know The Difference
If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, you are not alone it’s practically a fact of life on college campuses. A poll conducted by mtvU and the Associated Press in the spring of 2009 reported that 85% of students say they experience stress on a daily basis.
Stress is good if it motivates you but it’s bad if it wears you down. Many factors can contribute to the stress you experience, and this stress can cause changes in your body that affect your overall physical, mental, and emotional health.
Depression is more serious and long-lasting than stress, and requires a different kind of help. In a 2010 survey by the American College Health Association, 28% of college students reported feeling so depressed at some point they had trouble functioning, and 8% sought treatment for depression.
The good news is that depression is a highly treatable condition. However, it’s not something you can snap out of by yourself, so it’s important to get help. How do you tell the difference between stress and depression? Both can affect you in similar ways, but there are key differences. Symptoms of depression can be much more intense. They last at least two weeks. Depression causes powerful mood changes, such as painful sadness and despair. You may feel exhausted and unable to act.
Here are common signs of stress and depression. Which fits you best?
Youre Having Trouble Concentrating
When youre too overwhelmed to focus on whats in front of you, it could be a sign youre overworked. Research has connected long-term exposure to excess amounts of cortisol to shrinking of the hippocampus, the brains memory center, says Tuit. Studies have shown that long-term stress stimulates growth of the proteins that might cause Alzheimers disease.
What to do: If you find that youre experiencing this during the workday, taking a few long inhales and exhales can help. Deep, even breathing not only affects whether or not our thoughts control us or we control them. It also affects the bodily sensations that are experienced when faced with a high-stress situation, says Tuit. This type of breathing can help control the heart rate and blood flow, as well as muscle tension, she says.
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Parents Report Significant Stress Related To Their Childrens School Future
Parents are bearing an enormous burden during the pandemic. Daily lives and routines seem to change in an instant. Many schools remain closed. Child care was discontinued abruptly and in some areas remains largely unavailable. Work situations changed rapidly: Jobs were lost, essential workers continued employment with the health and safety of their family in the balance, and for many, work was shifted into the home. This all occurred at a time when social contact was largely lost due to the recommended physical distancing guidelines.
Given the wide-reaching disruption for this part of the population, it may not be surprising to see that parents5, on average, report a higher level of stress during the past month than those who are not parents . This significant gap persists when asked specifically about their stress level related to the coronavirus pandemic .
Reflecting the strain on family and the disruption of education during the pandemic, 7 in 10 parents say family responsibilities are a significant source of stress in their life. And when it comes to their childrens school, the majority say the coronavirus pandemic made the 2019-20 school year extremely stressful for them.
You Have A Constant Headache That Just Wont Go Away
If you experience throbbing or feel pressure anywhere on the head or temple area, theres a good chance its a tension or stress headache, says Dr. Colgan. Oftentimes people point to particular troubles in their life that might be causing this pain, but lifestyle might be to blame instead. Keep in mind, if your head pain feels like a migraine headache, the worst headache of your life, or a headache that wakens you from sleep, those are signs of a dangerous health problem. You should visit a doctor immediately, advises Dr. Colgan.
What to do: When stress is the cause of your headache, the easiest thing to say is, have less stress in your life. But that advice itself is stressful, says Dr. Colgan. Knowing what your headaches coming from is helpful therapy. People oftentimes feel worse worrying and trying to figure out what the cause could be. So knowing its not some serious health problem may make a person feel better. Sometimes the most effective way a doctor can treat a patient is to teach them about their symptoms, says Dr. Colgan.
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What Causes Stress In Our Lives
We live in an interesting, but also fast-paced world. There are lots of sources of stress, including:
- Homework and projects at school
- Family tension as you try to be more independent from your parents
- Pressure from friends to do risky things
- Tension with your boyfriend or girlfriend
- Difficult people in your life
- Upsetting news about disasters, war, or personal tragedy
- Media messages that lower your self-esteem
- Not getting enough sleep
- Chronic illness
Multiple Sources Of Stress And Associated Symptoms Overwhelming Americans
Despite several months of acclimating to a new reality and societal upheaval spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are struggling to cope with the disruptions it has caused. . And, 2 in 3 adults say they have experienced increased stress over the course of the pandemic.
When considering the physical and emotional toll of increased stress, nearly half of adults report their behavior has been negatively affected. Most commonly, they report increased tension in their bodies , snapping or getting angry very quickly , unexpected mood swings , or screaming or yelling at a loved one .
These symptoms may stem from stress caused by the pandemic, which is compounded by societal stressors that have been pervasive in previous years. Compared with 2019, the majority of adults still say health care , mass shootings or climate change/global warming is a significant source of stress. Around half say the same about the rise in suicide rates , immigration , widespread sexual harassment/assault reports in the news or the opioid/heroin epidemic . Only reports of mass shootings as a significant source of stress have declined significantly since 2019 .
Nearly 2 in 3 adults say the current amount of uncertainty in our nation causes them stress. Further, 3 in 5 say the number of issues America faces currently is overwhelming to them. This finding speaks to the hardships many Americans may be confronting at this moment. Issues they are stressed about are not going away, they are piling up.
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Getting Used To Feeling Stressed
Stress is not something I welcome and Ive always managed it in small doses throughout my life butWhen it comes to my dog, everything goes out the window!!
The last year of Poppys life was really stressful as we found out he had doggy dementia and kidney disease I will write another post about how we what we did to manage all that for those of you who may be in a similar situation!
We had no idea when the end would come, all that mattered was to make sure Poppy wasnt in pain in physically and psychologically.
Towards the end though, dementia felt contagious as Pete and I would take turns at night to look after Poppy, just so one of us could at least get a little sleep.I would read posts in Facebook groups and everyone would say you will know when the time is right The truth is, no matter how often I asked myself that, I just didnt know when the time would be right. There would be moments Id think oh no, is this it??? and then it would be no you silly, everything is fine!.So Up and down I went on the emotional roller coaster, for months and months, constantly on the lookout for a sign.
This is the End My only friend, the End
And even though I pushed myself to write about the bad time, from now on I choose to only remember the good stuff.And before long, there will be another fluff ball to love and hug and kiss because, a life is not complete without a dog in it
You Have A Victim Mentality
You may have had some traumatic or difficult situations in your past situations that merited feeling unhappy and depressed.
But your trauma around those events has infected your life for years or even decades. Youve become so attached to being a victim that youve forgotten how to take control of your life and create the conditions for the happiness you long for.
It may take some work with a therapist to overcome this roadblock, but you can heal and step into your own power to make your life what you want it to be.
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How To Stop The Fear
Of course, knowing why youre feeling something isn’t necessarily helpful. Chances are you’re hoping to figure out how to get rid of that feeling of fear so that you can live with less anxiety.
We spoke about exercise earlier: physical activity is step one in managing feelings of fear. There are countless scientific studies that link regular exercise to reductions in anxiety and research shows that this has a calming effect on the brain and body.
It should also be noted that even though anxiety has a strong physical component, as mentioned above, there is considerable evidence suggesting that you can learn cognitive coping skills which are effective for reducing anxiety and fear. The mind and body are closely connected and by training your brain to respond in a particular way, you can get real relief from your anxiety.
What can you do to train your brain to limit your fear and anxiety? Here are some ideas:
These basic strategies, combined with a healthier and more relaxing lifestyle, can be used by anyone seeking to take control by reducing their fear and anxiety.
Anxiety is a misfire of the system designed to save you when faced with danger. That same misfire can cause you to feel fear, even though nothing scary is present. Distractions and exercise can reduce the fear, but you may need to integrate other anxiety reduction approaches to keep it away.
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How Long Is Too Long To Feel Sad
Sadness is a normal human emotion. We all feel sad from time to time, especially when unfortunate events happen or things change.
So if youre still sad, but able to get up, get dressed and go to work every day how do you know when it crosses the line and you should seek help?
Ehrman says that if youre noticing that your situational depression seems to be lasting for several weeks with no real breakthroughs, it might be time to talk to someone who can help you cope better.
Talking about your problems or feelings with someone who isnt personally involved can ease your recovery and help you identify triggers. A professional therapist understands that it might be hard for you to talk about what youre going through, but they wont judge you or rush you.
Often times a therapist can help you determine if what youre experiencing is just a funk, or if its something much more serious. And just because the world is going through a global pandemic doesnt mean you should suffer in silence. People go to therapy for reasons big and small.
Depression is a lot like looking at life through a keyhole, explains Ehrman. If all you can see is your problem or your struggle you lose sight of perspective and everything else thats going on around you. People with really strong depression have lost the capacity to imagine a future. If you start to feel that way and like your sadness has started to affect everything, its a red flag to get help.
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Sex Sounds Less Appealing
Prolonged stress can decrease your libido, making sex sound like a chore more than a fun activity. “Stress can trigger things to go haywire with your hormones,” says Crawford. “Some effects could be a delayed period or a change in your sex drive.” But the opposite is possible as well. “Some people may have zero interest in intimacy, and others might find that the urge to engage in soothing and physically energetic sexual activity makes an unexpected appearance,” she says.
How To Know If Youre Stressed Out Or Suffering From Anxiety
We live in a society that applauds stress. You have too much to do? You don’t have a moment to breathe? Good, you’ve made it. Add in the violent current events that seem to be in our newsfeeds every single day, and it’s no wonder we’re all constantly worrying about one thing or another.
Both stress and anxiety are normal feelings everyone experiences, , a licensed psychologist and expert in the treatment of anxiety disorders, tells SELF. Feeling either one so intensely that it impacts your quality of life? That’s another storyand a sign that you might have an anxiety disorder, which deserves the attention of a mental health professional. But the difference between everyday stress and anxiety that comes with the ups and downs of life is actually way more subtle than you might think.
Here are the main differences between stress and anxiety, and how to know when its time to ask for help.
“Think of stress more as a physiological manifestation of what you perceive as an overwhelming threat.” So, you’ve got a huge deadline and have no idea how you’re going to meet it, even if you work around the clock. You’re feeling the pressure, your cortisol levels surge, and your body reacts in various waysmaybe you get a knot in your stomach, your heart rate raises, you get super sweaty, or you might even feel the urge to cry.
Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to both manage stress and calm an anxious brain on a daily basis. Here’s what Pike recommends:
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How Employers Can Support Workers
- Provide flexibility to employees, whether its what they work on, when they work or how they work . Every single person has been impacted by the pandemic providing flexibility at work will allow people to do their jobs while still being able to handle new stressors and responsibilities in their lives, such as a childs education.
- Provide support. This can be emotional support through one-on-one check-ins or by reducing someones workload to just essential tasks. This also applies to co-workers, who can support each other by checking in and approaching each other with empathy.
- Provide clear communication to employees and supervisors about expectations, support resources and new policies that respond directly to impacts created by the pandemic. This reduces uncertainty at work, which is a major contributor to employee stress.
- Supervisors should not expect work to continue at the same level as before. Creating this expectation can lead to employee burn-out. Instead, help employees prioritize what work is critical and what can wait.
Leslie Hammer, PhD, Oregon Healthy Workforce Center