Stress is real, especially in today’s world.

Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is to blame for that irritating headache, your frequent insomnia, or your decreased productivity at work. But stress may actually be the cause. Studies show that stress symptoms can affect your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

How are your body, mind, and behavior affected by stress?

  • Stress felt in your body might manifest in a headache, muscle tension/pain, chest pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, change in sex drive, or nausea.
  • Stress affects your mind and emotional self, through anxiety, lack of motivation, depression, feelings of overwhelm, irritability, and anger.
  • Your body keeps the score of stress and can be seen through angry outbursts, impulsivity issues, negative behaviors such as over/under-eating, and being socially withdrawn.

The most common types of anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Complex and Post-traumatic stress disorder or co (CPTSD or PTSD)

Social anxiety disorder. There is some evidence to suggest that anxiety and feelings of stress can become habit-forming. Dr. Jud Brewer teaches his method of ‘hacking the brain’s reward system to change what he calls the habit loop. The habit loop, according to Dr. Jud provides a sense of control which is your brain’s way of dealing with anxious uncertainty.

If you are experiencing feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, here are a few activities you might try to manage those feelings:

  • Physical activities
  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation
  • Remain curious about the stress or anxiety trigger

When you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it is important to remain present and abandon any unproductive coping strategies. Remaining present eliminates allows you to release the worry and control over what might happen in the future. Using distraction to manage stress, may seem productive initially but over time can add to your feelings of anxiety. It is widely decreasing stress in your life is good for your health but how do you really put that into practice.

If the goal is to remain present and practice mindfulness to reduce stress, here are a few tips for a mindfulness practice:

  • Breathing practice is an effective way to remain in the present. You can only think one thing at a time and by focusing on your breathing, you can’t worry about the future.
  • Being kind to yourself is a terrific way to alleviate the pressure that you might feel trying to reduce the stress in your life. By giving yourself. permission to be in the moment, accept the feelings of overwhelm and know that the stress you feel doesn’t have to be a future worry, it won’t last.
  • Asking for help when you need it can make you feel supported at the moment.

Do your feelings of anxiety and panic are out of control and interfere with your daily activities? Some ways your stress might be interfering with your daily activities:  

  • You worry so much that it is interfering with your work, relationships, or other parts of your life
  • Your fear, worry, or anxiety is personally upsetting and difficult to control
  • You feel depressed 
  • You use substances as a way to distract yourself from those stressful feelings
  • Your anxiety is directly related to physical ailments and health problems
  • You struggle with suicidal ideations

If you are struggling and feel that your stress has reached unmanageable levels, contact Compassionate Psychiatric Services. There are alternative treatments available to you through CPS that have worked to reduce and even illuminate those overwhelming feelings of stress. 

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