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In our modern day world, stress can be a variety of things that create wear and tear on our body and minds. There are really two kinds of stress, acute stress and chronic stress.
Acute stress is stress that results from a discrete short term stress. This can be something challenging that you want to get over. Something like an exam, a job interview, or a first date. Acute stress can be exciting and can lead to a sense of achievement when it is over if completed successfully.
Long term, or chronic stress is something that continues for longer periods of time. Chronic stress can result from a stressful job such as being a nurse, social worker or teacher. It can be caused by doing the diffiuclt work of caring for someone you love with an illness or a disability, or being in an unhappy workplace. It can result from being in an unhappy relationship, or the victim of emotional or physical abuse.
Or, it can result from a combination of these things.
When you have chronic modern day stress, your body, which has been wired to perceive stress as physical danger, and , to survive in the face of it, will react.
The way that our bodies will react to stress in modern day is discordant with the reality of modern day stress. It perceives imminent physical threat and sets off a chain of chemical and physical reactions that tax our body while preparing us for a life or death battle. Due to this response,modern day chronic stress, and sometimes acute stress if overly perceived as threatening, can seriously impair both our mental and our physical health.
When your body perceives danger, and kicks into fight or flight, your brain perceives the emotions of fear and anger. Fear, is often translated into anxiety. People who have chronic stress are often diagnosed with anxiety disorders. This is why stress management is so crucial to the reduction of anxiety.
Additionally, long term chronic stress can result in fleeing and withdrawing behavior. This shutting down response can result in in feelings of powerless that can so often lead to depression.
Anxiety and Depression are inextricably linked to chronic stress, and so a stress management plan must include an overhaul of how you are managing stress.
Thankfully, you can have a plan to do that.
I define stress as resulting from feelings, thoughts, and physiological
symptoms that create overwhelm and unhappiness.
The better our coping skills are , the better we can deal with stress. Most of my work in therapy focuses on creating new coping skills and better problem solving.
These pages will discuss the facts about
stress, what causes stress and how to deal with stress. The main page is
linked to other pages that you can click on for information. Specifically they will highlight how you can work on stress do decrease your anxiety, as I have done with my clients for years.
Stress in the workplace may consist of having too much work, not having the skills to do the work you are required to do, or having difficulty with colleagues. Much of the way corporations function these days adds to stress, which you can learn about here. Workplace stress is often most easily remedied by developing new coping skills to deal with the issues that are causing us stress. Please click here for more information on dealing with workplace stress
What are new coping skills? If, for example, the stress is coming from our relationship with your boss, learning how to best communicate and negotiate with your boss may be a skill to cultivate. If the stress comes from not having the knowledge you need to perform your job, then often the best way to handle that is to proactively get some education on skills, with or without the support of your employer.
If the stress is coming from a coworker , it may be important to figure out how to change how you are reacting or interacting with that person. At times employers will be flexible and accommodating, but we alone are responsible for taking care of ourselves. If you are a stressed employee, click here.
Stress from relationships is one of the most common forms of stress I see in my practice.
If you are having difficulty with your partner, it may be due to communication, being unhappy with who they are, or being unhappy with yourself. If you are unhappy with who your partner is, and changing them is a focus of your stress, it is important to either accept them or leave them. If you are unhappy with who you are, it may be necessary to get therapy to explore what you can do to feel better and live a happier life. If communication is the primary issue couples therapy may be a good option.
Parent’s relationship to their children is often a significant source of stress as well. Everyone questions their parenting and will often fear problems in their families or childhoods are responsible for their own struggles as a parent.
Family of origin stress is something we all know about! I think most families are dysfunctional! Begin a parent is hard and most people make mistakes. It is important as adults for us to be able to acknowledge how our upbringing and families may have affected us. Recognizing when we are triggered into painful and stressful emotions by our parents and siblings is an important step to reduce stress and having healthy adult relationships! Therapy can help with this, journaling can help with this, and dialog with our families may help with this.Often we don’t deal with our feelings at all and pretend they aren’t there. Feeling them fully is the first step in buffering yourself from family stress. Once you feel and understand your emotions, you can begin to be free from them.
Your own family may be a source of stress. If children are having difficulty or going through stress, or your partner is going through stress the whole family can be disrupted. In the event that you find your family is a source of stress for you, it may be important to seek family or individual therapy to help sort through what can be done.
Often money is a source of stress for many. Learn more about money and happiness here. Honestly looking at your finances, coming up with a realistic plan to manage them, is often the solution to money stress. People I work with in my practice who are having stress from money problems typically overspend, and ignore the reality of the financial situation. There are people who have been responsible with money, but then have tragedy strike or are simply struggling to keep up.
In these circumstances, all you can do is solve your problem in the best most feasible way and move on. Worrying and turning things over in your mind is self created stress. Regardless of the situation we are in there are ways for us to feel less stress.
This is another category of stress I see which is caused by people who just don’t feel good about themselves. It may be dissatisfaction with their jobs, their body, or other life choices. As with all stress it’s important to address what is underlying this, face it, feel it, and remedy it. If you have self defeating patterns, it’s worth exploring and getting help in therapy to move forward. Fear of failure often causes stress, as does perfectionism, which you can learn about here.
The Toll on Health “If your teeth are clenched and your fists are clenched, your lifespan is probably clenched. “~Terri Guillemets
Health and weight are also issues that cause stress in the clients I see. It is difficult to meet the standard society has dictated about our physical appearance and it’s difficult to say healthy when our stress level is high. Stress can also cause weight gain. Click here for more info about that.
These are the main forms of stress I see in my practice. Regardless of the form of stress , the plan for managing it is often the same. Face the problems honestly ,come up with a plan to deal with it that is the most feasible and stop worrying. It may take dedication and commitment to manage your stress, but it can be done.