Are You Stressed Out?

We are living in stressful times. It is difficult not to be concerned about the issues happening in society right now and how that impacts our lives. We also must cope with personal stressors. Stress is how your body responds to challenges or certain situations in your life. If we do not learn how to manage stress it can negatively impact our health. How do we know if we have reached our stress limit? How do we manage stress in a positive manner?

Acute stress is short-term stress. You are nervous about a presentation or family event. Acute stress goes away. Usually, it is something you should not be concerned about. Chronic stress is long-term stress and can cause damage to your physical or mental health. There are some physical and mental signs that show you are experiencing chronic stress. The physical signs include hair loss, stomach trouble (ulcers, stomach cramping, diarrhea), skin problems (acne and psoriasis), insomnia, headaches, and back pain. The mental signs include difficulty remembering things, panic attacks, irritability, anxiety, lack of motivation, and increased cravings. Stress that is not dealt with can lead to overeating, drinking too much alcohol, smoking, compulsive behaviors, or doing drugs. Some scientists believe that stress can lead to depression, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

If you want to manage your stress you need to figure out your triggers. This can be difficult because most people who are experiencing chronic stress have had it for a long time and may have trouble remembering where it started.  If you can determine your triggers, you can eliminate or reduce them from your life. It will take an honest assessment to keep you from blaming your personal stress on something or someone that is not a stressor.

There are activities you can incorporate to help you cope with stress. These activities include exercising, meditating, praying, taking walks outside, eating a healthy diet of fatty fish, nuts, and vegetables, socializing with good friends, and having a hobby that takes your attention. It is a matter of finding what works for you. Praying, journaling, exercising, or drinking a hot cup of tea does wonders for me. Yet, it might not work for someone else.

Do not let stress stop you from having a healthy life. If you feel like you cannot get control of it, do not be ashamed to speak with a medical professional that can help you create a plan to cope.

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