We deal with stress every day. Stressful situations occur regardless of where we are. When we are at work, home, in the car, or other places, stress happens. Controlling conditions to get rid of stress can be impossible. Therefore, learning healthy ways to cope with stress is essential to living better lives.
When our body undergoes stressful situations, our organs, emotions, and bodies respond to how we feel. Stress can not be eliminated from our lives, even if we wish it would disappear. Recognizing the symptoms of stress and how it affects us is necessary.
According to Workplace Stress, “Stress has become one of the most serious health issues of the 20th century and a worldwide epidemic.” You are not alone in feeling stressed. You suffer from an illness that affects millions. Now that you know you are a part of a global issue, let’s narrow down the focus and discuss the symptoms, harms, and ways to handle stress.
What Is Stress?
There are two types of stress: good stress and bad stress, which can positively or negatively impact our lives. How do we know which stress is which? Medline Plus defines stress as “a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline.”
There are two different types of stress:
- Acute stress is the type of stress you feel when you have a heated discussion, slam on the brakes, or try something out of your comfort zone. Your body responds to this type of stress by releasing adrenaline. Everyone encounters acute stress.
- Chronic stress is the type of long-term stress, such as grieving after the death of a loved one, relationship issues such as an unhappy marriage, money problems, or workplace issues. Chronic stress can last for weeks, months, and even years. This type of stress can become a part of someone’s life, making the stress associated with long-term circumstances unnoticeable. However, even if we don’t notice it, our body does.
Symptoms of Stress
Stress presents itself in various ways. Sometimes we may have multiple symptoms, and sometimes there can be only one symptom. Your body differs from other people’s bodies in how it responds to stress. Here is a chart that can help you identify signs of stress.
Effects of Stress
On your body
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep problems
On your mood
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
On your behavior
- Overeating or undereating
- Angry outbursts
- Drug or alcohol misuse
- Tobacco use
- Social withdrawal
- Exercising less often
How Stress Harms Our Bodies
Long-term stress will harm our bodies. The National Institute for Mental Health states:
Coping with the impact of chronic stress can be challenging. Because the source of long-term stress is more constant than acute stress, the body never receives a clear signal to return to normal functioning. With chronic stress, those same life-saving reactions in the body can disturb the immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive systems. Some people may experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger, or irritability.
Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Since we can’t always control our situations—for example, work, traffic, other people—we need simple strategies to improve how we handle stress.
Stress management is a way to handle stress. How you choose to handle stress will be different from your partner, family members, or friends. As long as the ways you manage stress are valid, that’s all that matters. Eight ways to cope with stress are:
- Yoga or any form of exercise that brings you a sense of peace
- Art – drawing, painting, sculpting, or any other form of art will help you relax and focus on something else. Creativity is good for the soul.
- Read – whether it’s a book, magazine, or journal taking time to focus on what interests you is essential.
- Take a walk outside
- Take a bath
- Work on a home project or garden
Another way to help with stress is to make sure you get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet. Find what feels right to you. Relaxing and taking your mind off of the stressful situation is the goal. Relax, have fun, or try something new.
When to Seek Help
If you feel chest pains, shortness of breath, jaw or back pain, pain going up to your left shoulder, dizziness, or nausea, these can be signs of a heart attack. Call 911 for help.
Seeking help isn’t a sign of defeat. If you are still feeling stress after incorporating techniques to handle the stress, you should talk with your doctor or make an appointment with a therapist. Your doctor may want to run tests to see if there are any other potential issues. Seeking help from a therapist is a way to identify sources of stress and learn new coping mechanisms. In some cases, seeking treatment at a center will allow you to talk with a therapist and have other causes examined by a doctor.
Stress is an aspect of life. Recognizing the difference between acute stress and long-term stress is essential. Long-term or chronic stress is the type of stress that will harm our bodies. We can’t control every situation, but we can learn how to manage our response. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress is essential. Creating a stress management plan will help us control our stress. When we realize we can’t manage stress with stress management skills, we should seek help. Making an appointment with a doctor or therapist will provide answers. At Achieve Concierge, we provide complete care. We can see your symptoms of stress by scheduling you with a doctor, a psychiatrist, or a therapist. We can also visit your home or workplace to help you identify stressors and teach you healthy coping techniques. For more information, call Achieve Concierge at (619) 393-5871.